She was like a prism that cast her favorite color purple in the sunlight. So many facets.
Elizabeth was a daughter, a sister, a music student, a musician, an Ivy League graduate, a magazine editor, a songwriter, a singer, a wife, a sister in law, an aunt, a school counselor, a children’s music teacher, a mother, a mother, a mother, a mother, a partner, a colleague, a guide, a teacher, a goddess, a coach. A friend.
She loved beauty, nature, flowers, making music, learning, mythology, ritual, walking, exploring, making her home beautiful, nurturing her family, dreaming big. She also loved “products” (skin, hair), makeup, fashion, celebrity gossip, good hotels, travel, and the idea of fancy shoes.
She wasn’t afraid to turn over stones. She relished reading the hard books and tackling the big ideas. She was curious, engaged, surprising, hilarious, loving, and loved.
She was like a prism that cast her favorite color purple in the sunlight. So many facets. So many sides. A beauty of Elizabeth’s life is the light she cast in so many directions. So many knew and loved her, knew her differently, but loved her the same.
Elizabeth was easy to love. I think she would want to be missed. I think she would want to be remembered. But I don't think she would want to be mourned. She wouldn’t want our grief to last. As much as Lizz was not afraid of the darkness, she embraced the light. She would want us to do that too.
Let’s celebrate Elizabeth and her many facets. Let’s share stories and memories, so that we can all know the sides of Elizabeth we didn’t see.
The Hunter Family Band performance begins at 39:30:
I met Lizz when we were both editors, in 1988. We instantly connected and began a nearly 30-year friendship, sharing our deepest secrets, fears, hopes, and dreams. We were roommates when she met Tim, coming home to tell me thought he had “something.” I was Maid of Honor at their wedding. I visited her when she was in Guatemala, a new mom to Wynne. We’d had some sort of friendship falling out and hadn’t talked in a while. But as soon as Wynne arrived on the scene, I had to be there. Lizz told me she knew Wynne was hers because Wynne and I have the same birthday. One night in Antigua, we went out to dinner and sat talking until very late. We emerged into a dark night. We needed a cab. There are few car cabs in Antigua. What they have are three-wheeled golf cart things powered by noisy lawn mower engines (you pull a cord to start them). We found one on a deserted corner. We struggled with the stroller, couldn’t get it to collapse. I had the baby, she had the stroller, we were determined to get this ride. I got in back with the baby, she shoved what she could of the stroller in next to me. I looped an arm through some part of it. She got in next to the driver, on a seat designed for one, grasping another part of the stroller. We started off, noisy, bumping like mad down the cobbled street. Wynne’s head bounced regularly off my chest, “sorry, baby, sorry, sorry” I said, over and over; if I moved one arm I’d lose her, the other, I’d lose the stroller. There was a large bump. “I think we’re married now,” she said of the driver. We were laughing. Poor Wynne, we said, what had she gotten herself into with us? In the dark, Lizz reached around, found my hand. We held on as we bounced through the dark Guatemalan night. Our friendship has a life of its own that is not subject to life on earth.
Ann Patchett writes of her friend Lucy Grealy in her memoir of friendship Truth & Beauty, that “She was the person I knew best in the world, the person I was most comfortable with. Whenever I saw her, I felt like I had been living in another country, doing moderately well in another language, and then she showed up speaking English and suddenly I could speak with all the complexity and nuance that I hadn’t even realized was gone. With Lucy I was a native speaker.” That’s it entirely. Lizz is the person I know best in the world; she could read me, I could read her. We are two lighthouses side-by-side on the same rocky coast. Close together, looking out at the same world, seeing the same things, and illuminating different parts for each other. Her light still shines, forever a beacon. She’s here.