I buried my soul mate yesterday.
Last Tuesday (Jan 22), I went up to Binghamton to visit Val. She was up there to begin her PhD candidacy in English. I climbed the stairs to the back door and knocked. I looked through the screen, and she was on the floor. I don’t think that Val would want me to tell the final details of her life to strangers, so I will refrain.
Val was pronounced brain dead Thursday morning. She died that evening. She was my world. She was the most brilliant, caring, gifted, loving, person that I will ever know. Her writing is some of the best that I have ever read. I only wish that I could write like her.
Her obituary is here. Her website is here.
If you read my blog, you know how much I love her. We just celebrated our anniversary. I went to her mom’s for Christian Christmas (as opposed to my usual, Jewish Christmas. We just didn’t have enough time together.
I want to tell you all about her. I want people to know and love her the way that I love her, the way that she deserves to be loved.
This is what I told the Binghamton reporter that is writing her memorial:
She was about as warm and giving a person could be. She cared very deeply about her students and would always go the extra mile for them. Her favorite writer was Oscar Wilde, and I am sure that she could go wit for wit with him and come out the victor. On her wall there was a picture of Oscar Wilde next to a picture of Malcom X. I asked her about it once, and she said “I’d like to think that they are lovers in Heaven.”
Val loved so many things: Joss Whedon (especially Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Rancid (for the past year she has been keeping a tongue-in-cheek photo journal updating the status of Tim Armstrong’s epic beard. That was just her sense of humor), action figures (she had a massive collection of action figures, she would sometimes use them as writing prompts for students, but mostly they just hung around the house). She loved to write, she was constantly writing, but even more than that, she loved to teach. She loved the Oxford Comma, if you could love punctuation. She had a passionate affair with Semicolons.
She was a strong woman: independent but not distant, tough but not hard, witty but not cruel. She was brilliant, the most intelligent person that I have ever met. She loved Grammar. She was very excited to be taking a Grad level Grammar class at Binghamton. She felt a great sadness for people that couldn’t use “there, their, and they’re” properly.
Her writing was incredible. When we first started dating, I asked what she wrote. She said something like “I do mostly short stories, mostly humorous, but when you say you write humor people think you write bad stand-up or something. I love the type of short story that can make you laugh and feel sad within like five pages so that’s what I try for.”
If you read some of her writing (on her website), you will see that she succeeded everytime.
If you would like, I can recommend some of my favorite stories.
I don’t know what else I can say. She was the most perfect person that ever walked the face of this Earth. She was too perfect, too gifted, too gentle and loving for us. I would say that she was ahead of her time, but Time will never catch up to her.
This is what I said, but there was so much more to her. She wrote erotic fan fic as a hobby, and helped form an entire community for it. Her frank talk and writing about mental illness was inspirational and life saving for many people.
On our first date, she gave me a toy for my turtle. Who does that? Who is that thoughtful? Val was. On our second date, I spilled an entire move-sized diet coke in her lap, and she didn’t walk out on me. On the contrary, after the movie, she still made out with me.
She did all of this, but I knew that she was the One when I first walked into her apartment, and there was a giant Godzilla doll on her refrigerator.
I am concerned with her legacy. I want the whole world to know how gifted a writer she was. I want her name immortalized the way that it should be. She was everything that I could ever want, or want to be.
I love you so much, Valerie. I will love you forever.
The two of us, late December, 2012
I read of Valerie’s passing in the Evansville, Indiana, obituary page. I, too am lucky enough to have found and am married to my soulmate and realize it most every minute of every day. The other minutes are dreading when I won’t have him. He is older than I and most likely will be the first to go. I would like to be the first but probably won’t . Words can’t help your pain, but I feel just terrible and am tearing up as I write this. I am a nurse and I am guessing your beloved Valerie might have had an aneuyysm. I have lost my mother, 2 aunts, an uncle and cousin to these horrible events and they happen so suddenlyand that is part of the pain and on one so young….. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy and prayers for your heart to heal. And those prayers will continue, please know that. Most sincerely, Mary Ann