Our dearest sister and comrade, Julie Graham, passed away about an hour ago. She was on her way back, with Kathie Gibson, from a successful talk in Arizona. Kath and Julie were on their last leg of the trip back from Australia to Massachusettss. As many of you know, the chief consequence of her treatment for her neck cancer in 2006 was that she was left with a lot of scar tissue from radiation and, in later stages of her life, she was finding it more and more difficult to breathe. On the plane ride yesterday back from Dallas, I believe, she had an attack where she was unable to breathe. She passed out, some help was forthcoming from a medical person on the plane, but she went much too long without oxygen. The plane was diverted to Nashville, and she was admitted to a hospital there. But, as I understand it, she had already suffered irreversible brain damage. She was kept alive until this afternoon on life support until it was clear she was past recovery. Her friends Sharon, Geert, Nancy, and of course Kath and her brother Alfie were there with her when she passed away. Please forgive me if I have any of these details confused or unclear.
I am sure when things are better known Kath will communicate to us what will be happening to lay Julie’s ashes to rest, and what, if any, forms of remembrance, celebration and commemoration will be planned. Kath asked that, for the time being, people not write directly to her. After talking with Kath a little while ago, she and I agreed that if people had things they wanted to know for the time being that they wait or write to me. Also, I would like to suggest that people consider writing directly to this network if they’d like to share whatever they are thinking about the life of this incredible woman and all that she meant to so many of us. Perhaps someone better able to think about these things can suggest or enact a place on the internet where such comments can also or alternatively be posted.
I cannot speak for others, but I can say for me that the loss and the grief are unbearable. Julie was a pure gift to any world I ever wanted to live in. Her impact on and meaning for my life has been incomparable. I’m not even sure I know how to say I will miss her, and I will, desperately. But, it’s true that the last year or so has been so very hard on her. I dearly hope she can finally rest in peace.