I have friends, some very close and some distant, who have been part of my blogging experience for twelve-plus years I’ve been doing it. Some of them, I see, are talking about what happened yesterday, and others are wondering.

The love of my life, my lifemate for decades the Lady Anne, passed away yesterday of a massive heart attack. We had enjoyed a very nice dinner at a local restaurant Wednesday evening, but later that night she seemed clobbered by food poisoning. Even 36 hours later, she was still struggling with it, and by this time massively dehydrated and weakened by not have eaten in that time. She was in her sitting room upstairs, and called down asking for her iPad to be brought up. I did, and sat with her a little while worried at her continued struggle with something that is usually over in a day or less.

And then the attack came — the only warning was her saying that she felt suddenly dizzy. I called 9-1-1 (why is this the only number that Siri refuses to dial?) and got things rolling. Her breaths were more than a minute apart. I began CPR while the ambulance was on the way, and they took over, working on her for more than half an hour. Nine people arrived, between ambulance crews, fire crew, and two squad cars of police. As shaken as I was, I appreciated how hard they were working — four people were directly administering aid, with another coordinating on the radio and law enforcement downstairs.

It was not enough. They got enough of a pulse to transport her, but could not keep it going. It took an hour for me to learn this, as they continued to work on her en route and in the hospital.

And now she’s gone. I am at a loss. Three days ago, we were laughing with friends over an excellent dinner. We looked forward to the future, to new projects, to new beginnings, and even to growing old together. We’d been fortunate; we had very few medical difficulties and were still tremendously enjoying life. And now she’s gone.

I don’t generally talk about our personal lives here. But there is no “our personal lives” … not anymore. She was everything to me. She was the foundation of my enjoyment of life, the stimulant for clearer thought, the encourager of better performance, and the motivation to enjoy all things as they came. But I am struggling with this.

Many of you knew her. You knew what a treasure she was, charming and witty and insightful and pragmatic all at once. And full of love, which washed over me every day. I returned it as well as I could. I know she’d want better from me than I am able to do now. I need a little time, and know that she was always so very patient with me.

Years ago, I wrote this for her — she deserves celebration:

Some think marriage can make your life worse
Than a ride in the back of a hearse
I am happy to say
That it isn’t that way
While she brings the Anne, I’ll bring the verse:


For today we again celebrate
(Which we do rather often of late)
That our time as a pair
Makes for wonderful fare
And 11 July is the date


We’ve been married for twenty-one years
And each time the occasion appears
I’m delighted and proud
And will say it out loud
Lady_AnneLady_Anne is worth all of these cheers!


She is crafty, and clever, and wise
And has “expert debugger”-class eyes
And a heart full of love
(Which fits me like a glove)
And is ever a happy surprise.


She is generous, bold, and refined
And as life-mate and partner, I find
That I’ve been really blessed
And by luck, have the best
It’s a wonderment, still, to my mind.


We have traveled to countries afar
And gone all over this one by car
We see people, and sights
Brilliant days, mellow nights
And we’re still up to follow a star


Or to follow a storm or a thought
We’ll go chase it, though we’re sometimes caught
Lightning flashes arrive?
Then we’re up for a drive
Where she is — that’s the very best spot!


We’ve faced challenges, troubles, and strife
And survived them all, still loving life
As to how this is done,
There’s a secret — just one
I’ve got this wondrous gal for a wife!


So here’s to my fair wife Lady_AnneLady_Anne
From her loving and quite happy man
How ’bout 21 more?
That will even the score
And we’ll reach the next stage of our plan.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • It has been much as you suggest. April 4 was bad enough, but August 19th turned out to be more difficult both times — as it was a day significant to our relationship that she actually took as her “new birthday” and the only one that she celebrated. Had she been able to modify her birth certificate, she’d have done so.

    She and I had back-to-back desks, and because of vision challenges my monitor is large (47″), so I could not see her at her desk even though we worked only a few feet apart. I often imagine her still there, or in the passenger seat of the car, a process made easier by the detached retina in my right eye. Or conversing from the kitchen — and I miss her wit and erudition and wonderful responses to the vagaries of life. And I sometimes wake to realize that I’d been dreaming of her, and dreaming of being able to walk again and proudly showing her — the realization makes the new day a little tougher to get started.

    But I imagine her gentle encouragement, and I cannot bring myself to disappoint her. Some of the commenters on the LiveJournal version of this knew her well:

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • I have argued in favor of evolution for a long time; many such arguments are still online and go back most of the distance to the existence of Internet forums. Prior to that, it was in modem-driven BBS systems, and prior to that in written correspondence. If you are interested, here’s one from early in the century that got copied to my journal here (and continues in the following two entries):

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • Two things will hit you especially hard – one, obviously, is the anniversary of the day you lost her, and the other, less obvious, is when you have a question you know that only she could answer, and you think, “I’ll ask her —” and then it hits you between the eyes.

  • Like your moniker, I am an old bird, but still keen on paleontology.

    So chosen to remind others that there are indeed transitional species.

  • Thank you.

    An aside: While you and I may be some distance apart politically, I have now been more than half a century waiting to grow out of my “dinosaur phase.” Like your moniker, I am an old bird, but still keen on paleontology.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • How touching, Keith – a fitting tribute. I’m sorry.

  • Citizen Tom

    She must have been quite a lady.

    John Donne said “no man is an island,” but it seems more near the truth to say we desperately do not want to be alone. The people we love — the people who love us — help us to feel much less alone, and none more so than our lifemate.

    I have another blogging friend who lost the love of his life several months ago. He too is dealing with loss by sharing his tears. He is also affirming his faith, but the grief is unavoidable.


    It is said that until we have suffered the same pain, we cannot understand that pain. I suspect that you and James are more alike than not, particularly with respect to this loss. Perhaps in his posts you will find something in his posts that helps you to endure.

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Douglas_Kubler

    My condolences on your loss.