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Posted By: earthwoman Farewell to Lizzy... - 07/31/07 04:40 AM
her long and painful battle is over...for she has slipped away...into the light... of the full moon...

A couple months back Lizzy wrote a letter to all who had supported her...I asked her if I could post it here... she seemed to be feeling better...she thought she was in remission...she had a lot of hope...her will was strong...she never gave up...but she asked me to wait...she wanted to give you all good news...so I respected her wishes...sadly the cancer came back ...more powerful than ever...

I would like to post it now...for it shows just how strong and positive she was... even during her darkest hours...it also shows how much she appreciated all who touched her life... with love...all those who cared...

and those of you here in KA who prayed for her...contacted her... kept her in your thoughts...I thank you all...from the bottom of my heart...

Good bye my lovely Libra lady...I thank you for being you...for you enriched my life...you made me smile...you made me laugh...you warmed my heart...I...will be forever grateful to have known you...it was an honor...to call you my friend...I love you Lizzy...

peace & love to all
Kathy

****************************************************************************************

Liz's letter follows;

Dear family and friends,

A donations drive has been created and launched by my dear friend,Diana Stapleton, my friend through my high school days, singing and theatre days, and now the hardest days of my battle with a serious form of Cancer. She has chosen to help in every level of my care, including assistance in defraying the unexpected, inordinate and catastrophic costs incurred by the explosion of severe cancer into ones' life.Including an emergency move and re-location back to Ontario, I also am no longer able to drive, or take the metro, I have been bed-ridden and house ridden for months, while enduring major surgery, procedures, hospitalizations and a year in chemotherapy, which required the acquisition of medical equipment, supplies and involving a team of doctors, nurses , home care and volunteers to assist with my care. The experience and financial devastation has been overwhelming.
Diana and her beloved circle of friends got together to ease some of the financial burden from myself and my loved ones, by putting together this remarkable fund. It has been a truly inspired experience, and your quick and generous responses, financial and items donations, your visits,donations of food, support phone calls, packages,home-made gifts, cards, emails, Cd's and more have been stunning. Thank-you for your support from the depths of my gratitude.
All the best of my love especially goes to the tireless and endless efforts and help on every level, given by my beloved family from the beginning of the illness and onwards: my mom, Jane, my sister Cathy and her husband, Mathew, my brother Mike and his wife, Sue, and all my nieces and nephews. I also wanted to thank those friends who went to great lengths of love and compassion to help me to manage the crisis explosion of the illness and also my long-term care in this ever-lengthening battle, especially, Maggie and Kerry Hayes and their family, Christopher Steel and the Steel family, Diana Stapleton and Bill Taylor, Shawn Campbell, Brenda Rundle, and all of those friends who have been there for me in so many different and creative ways. You have filled me with joy, the strength to endure, and love; the gifts of a lifetime. You have all helped me to save my life, as I grow stronger and stronger each day. I have many trials still to face but knowing you are all out there, I am confidant that I can make it. Thank-you for my life.
Love from the depths of my assuredly beating heart and a beaming Cancer and A.S.survivor,
Elizabeth Dixon
Posted By: Kathair Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 07/31/07 05:06 AM
Kathy,
I'm sorry for your loss of a close friend and a very wonderful person. I remember your earlier post for Lizzy. Thanks for letting us know that Lizzy passed away. She will definitely be missed by many.
Posted By: oakleaf Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 07/31/07 05:47 AM
im am very sorry for the loss of this very courageous woman a fighter to the end.....you post and her letter has me crying i didnt know her well but that doesnt matter does it.....i pray and i know where she is at she is in nomore pain and suffering and she is dancing and singing....im sorry i cant say more maybe when im done crying...im sorry ......oak
Posted By: Dotyisle Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 07/31/07 01:51 PM
Thank you for posting and sharing Kathy. She was in thoughts and prayers.

Tim
Posted By: laura Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 07/31/07 02:07 PM
Dear kathy

I wasn't around during this time, but may I offer you my love and prayer for you loss and for her family also. I lost my father last january 2006 to cancer which in the end run riot through his body, they never give up with out a fight! I hope you can find peace and comfort in the coming months and smile at the wonderful memories you made together for nothing can take them from you. Be assured that she is free of pain now and at peace.

I don't know how spiritual you are because i don't know you, but I do feel my father near me nearly ever day wither its a smell or a memory or something strange out of the blue, I know that brings me amazing peace and I hope to that y ou and her family also will find a way that gives you comfort and peace.

All my love laura xx
Posted By: Inanna Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 07/31/07 05:00 PM
Kathy, thank you for letting us know about Lizzy. And for being there for her.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and with Lizzy's family and those closest to her. This is never an easy time.

Warm hugs,
Posted By: alohaben Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 07/31/07 09:07 PM
aloha kaki

such a loss...i hope you're well.
i know this friend has been a big part of your life; things pass; life changes.
you'll push on.
so much sorrow, so much pain.
all my best,
pu liki mau
aloha,
peni

Posted By: Angelmom Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 08/01/07 02:25 AM
I am so sorry about your friend and another beautiful soul taken from this life from this disgusting disease.

She is at rest now, although I am sure her family and friends are at such a loss.

Anytime we lose someone it is our own selfishness that wishes them to still be here, even though there is nothing wrong with that.

It sounds like she had a wonderful life and wonderful family and friends.

Lisa
Posted By: earthwoman Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 08/02/07 02:39 AM
Thank you Kathy...yes she will be missed...everyday...but my memories of her will always be gifts...and I will smile when I think of her

peace & love
Kathy
Posted By: earthwoman Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 08/02/07 02:55 AM
Hello Oak,

Your reply really touched me...you are so right about Lizzy dancing and singing...for she was a teacher...an actress...a singer and a song writer...she was a very talented lady... and music was a big part of her life...it brought her much joy...so yes! I do believe she dancing... forever...pain free!

Thank-you Oak for your prayers
peace & love
Kathy
Posted By: earthwoman Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 08/02/07 03:04 AM
Hi Tim,

Thank you for always being here...for me...for all... and especially for Lizzy when she was active in KA..she did speak of you fondly...she had good memories of the ones who truly touched her life in a positive way

peace & love
Kathy
Posted By: earthwoman Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 08/02/07 03:17 AM
Laura,

Your words are very kind and I thank you...I also send my condolences to you and your family...I am very sorry to hear that you lost your father...but loss probably isn't the best word...for although I am not religious...I am spiritual...and like you I never really feel people leave us completely...the gifts they give us in life...go on and on...Lizzy gave me many of those...just knowing her...so it will take all of eternity for me to open those gifts in my mind...and I will embrace every moment she enters my thoughts

peace & love
Kathy
Posted By: earthwoman Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 08/02/07 03:22 AM
Ah Kat,

Where would KA be without you you are a constant...a good and supportive friend to many...to me...and I thank you for always reaching out...

peace & love
Kathy
Posted By: earthwoman Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 08/02/07 03:45 AM
Thank you Peni ...although Lizzy didn't know you personally...I told her all about my meeting you and how special that was I told her of all the amazing KA people I had the good fortune of meeting...I wouldn't have known Lizzy had it not been for this wonderful forum...she was indeed a big part of my life...and I will always be grateful for her...yes...life changes...and we change right along with it...but oh..what a wonderful journey!

peace & love
Kaki
Posted By: earthwoman Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 08/02/07 03:56 AM

Wanting Lizzy to still be here...I totally get that...I can't tell you how many times I reach for the phone to call her...because there's something cool I need to tell her...something I know will make her laugh...but I will speak to her through my heart now...knowing she is at peace... and I know she will hear me

Thank you Lisa
peace & love
Kathy
Posted By: Angelmom Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 08/02/07 06:52 AM
Kathy,

Believe me I feel your loss!

The words you just said to me is exactly how I feel about my Mother who died 3 years ago.

I still find myself wanting to call her or tell her something....I think my biggest sadness is her love for her grandchildren. Her first Great Grandchild was born 1 year after she died, she would have adored him.

Take Care,

Lisa
Posted By: alohaben Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 08/02/07 11:21 AM
and, kaki

there is a special sort of loss for people who are caregivers...
when you lose the person you're caring for, you're left behind, alone
and with a hole in the life you've been leading.

and ya get that...i spent so much time doing things, i never said
goodbye...
and someone should say thanks...mahalo, kaki

take good care of yourself.
aloha
pu liki mau
peni
Posted By: Sue in Oz Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 08/02/07 12:02 PM
Hi Kathy,

So sad to hear about the tragic passing of your wonderful friend Lizzy.
I hope she is at peace now, and that you can find some comfort in that knowledge.

Hugs,
Sue
Posted By: earthwoman Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 08/04/07 02:03 PM
Hi Lisa,

I am only assuming that little guy Jack in your photo... is the grandchild you mentioned? If so...he is adorable! I understand why you'd want to see the look on your mothers face as he grows...although she is slowing down...I am still fortunate to have my mother ...and she, like yours...lives for her children...her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren...

But...I will always believe the people we've loved and lost in the physical world....are always with us in the spiritual sense... and they somehow see all...and they let us know...with a feeling...or a thought...it's never the same for us of course...but given my belief...I better behave myself...cause Lizzy will be 'scolding me' in her funny way...and I'll feel it...but I hope she does...because then I'll smile

peace & love
Kathy
Posted By: earthwoman Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 08/04/07 02:21 PM
Thanks again Peni,

I was not able to be a physical caregiver to Lizzy due to our distance...and that was a constant frustration for me...but I knew she had others surrounding her and helping her in that way...Diana was a Godsend...and that eased my mind knowing she was there in that way for Lizzy...but we stayed connected and close...and we were able to say our good-byes...

but ya know Peni...there have been those I've loved in the past...and not been able to say good-bye...I'm sure everyone experiences that at some point in their lives...I don't think it's the actual good-bye that is most important...it's how you treat each other in life....respect and love...no regrets...that's what counts!

peace & love
Kaki
Posted By: earthwoman Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 08/04/07 02:47 PM
Hi Sue,

Thank-you for your kind words... Lizzy fought hard and long...she never gave up despite her pain...but I am relieved that she can rest now...that she is in a peaceful place now....

she even kept a little alter of all the special gifts... tokens and cards that people sent her...it gave her strength and made her smile knowing she was thought of and loved...

After having known Lizzy and all she experienced...fighting two battles...cancer and AS...I can never complain...for we often spoke of pain ...but we always concluded that...to feel it...still means...we are still alive... living life...the good with the bad...

It's good to hear from you I apologize to you and all for my slow replies...I am not on the computer like I used to be...for many reasons...but I do my best...so please bare with me...

I hope you are doing well Sue
peace & love
Kathy
Posted By: Strutsy Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 08/04/07 04:29 PM
Dear Kathy,

Thank you for letting us know about Lizzy's passing. How very tragic that someone so vibrant and beautiful leave this world so soon.

I'm just gutted to hear about this, I must have missed it when you posted about her illness, so I'm hearing about her diagnosis and passing all at the same time. So sad.

Nice to see you though, even if it's only a temporary stop. You've been missed.

Love,
Jeanna
Posted By: ladybuggie Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 08/06/07 03:52 AM
Hello Kathy..
I am so very sorry to hear of Lizzy's passing...
My heart goes out to you and Lizzy's family... She was a very courageous woman and is free from pain. I know this will be a difficult time but your wonderful memories are what will help you smile more and hurt less with time...

Take care my friend..you all are in my thoughts and prayers...
Posted By: earthwoman Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 08/10/07 11:02 AM
Hi Jeanna,

Your very sweet as always and I thank you for your heartfelt words...for Lizzy...and for me...

She was indeed a beautiful… vibrant and spunky lady…and she never…never gave up…she was always making plans for the future…she had wonderful creative ideas…not many people here would know that she was a strong advocate for those with disabilities…I was very proud of her and in awe of the energy she used for this good….this link will give you all just a glimpse of one of her passions…

http://manoeuvre.org/resources/archives/news/2007/07/elizabeth-jane-dixon

And Jeanna… I do hope your new life…with marriage and a career in medicine… is bringing you much joy and fulfillment…I have a niece who was recently diagnosed with AS… and she is also going on to medical school

Just goes to show that although AS is a part of us… it does not…and should not ever… define us…

peace & love
Kathy
Posted By: earthwoman Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 08/10/07 11:08 AM
Thank you Angie….I so appreciate your sincere words…I know they come from your heart…and I always remember you as having a very big heart

My memories of Lizzy are so positive and wonderful that I still have to remind myself she is gone…in the physical sense… but just the other day I received the last card I had sent her…and that was a reality check for sure...”return to sender”…It’s weird…I don’t quite know what to do with it…it’s only paper...words on paper… funny how something so small and insignificant in the scheme of things…can only make one stop and think…

Thanks again and take good care Angie
peace and love
Kathy
Posted By: earthwoman Re: Farewell to Lizzy... - 08/10/07 11:22 AM
I just received this via email.... from Lizzy's dear friend Diana...I told her I would post it here in KA...as I felt it would be a way for all those who didn't know her ...to 'see' her

"This was in the Sun a few days ago written by a Moira MacDonald - what an amazing tribute, and a statement on how much a teacher can affect childrens lives. Cheers to the teachers in the group."

and the letter goes as follows....

If we're lucky we've had at least one high school teacher we've happily never forgotten.

Sometimes they are slightly subversive, seeming to toe the line but, once the classroom door is closed, engaging with their students in a joyful, unspoken conspiracy of true learning.

Liz Dixon, one of my high school English and drama teachers, was such an instructor.

We met when I was 16, entering my third year at a Scarborough alternative school. Liz was in her mid-twenties and new. Our alternative school already attracted the subversives, although the board bureaucrats and career ladder-climbers did their best to sink their neutralizing claws into such an idea.

It didn't take us long to figure out Liz was the real thing. She drove a boat-like magenta car she named "Heart of Darkness" after my then-boyfriend studied the Joseph Conrad novel with her. It was apropos too because the car often ferried her rock band members to night-time gigs, as evidenced by the Schooner beer empties we'd see when she gave us rides home from school. She had long brown hair and milky skin but her voice carried a bluesy, Janis Joplinesque rumble that erupted whenever she sang. She could sing.

When it came to literature, Liz was no snob. Anything good was fodder for her class -- King Lear, The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky, Charles Bukowski's skid-row poetry, Jethro Tull lyrics. Mostly it had to have heart. When the Grade 13s read Ken Kesey's, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, she made them each choose a character to be for a day. Liz took the part of the controlling Nurse Ratchit. As teenagers, several of us were already bordering on madness. It was nice to earn credit for it.

She brought real writers into our tiny school. There was Roger Caron, the bank robber-turned-author (later turned robber again). There were street poets. Some were her friends.

Drama with Liz was no Mickey Mouse course. By the time she was done, you not only knew the play. You'd also acted at least part of it on-stage, worked on the set, and slogged through countless weekends and weeknights of rehearsals with her sitting on a chair in the middle of the gymnasium, a fierce look on her face, pulling on a carton of egg nog and giving us relentless director's notes on blocking gaffes, how to dig deeper into the part and getting the lines right. Several of us went on to careers in theatre, writing and the arts.

Knights, fools and wenches

The Renaissance Festival was our final production. We wrote a rough, broad script, found music to sing, period costumes to borrow and worked on character roles. Then one warm evening we took it into the Rouge Valley and frolicked as knights, fools, wenches and ugly princesses for several hours, moving among various sites we'd marked out earlier.

Our audience moved with us. Mead was consumed and Liz brought along her friends from the bagpipe funk band Rare Air to accompany us. It was unforgettable.

In the year before I graduated, Liz was experiencing the first symptoms of what would be a lifelong struggle with a severe form of arthritis. It quickly fused her neck, and caused painful joint swellings. She soldiered along, took a job where she was to make sure other teachers were teaching from the correct reading list (we laughed) but eventually went on disability. Then she went to theatre school. As the disease crippled her body her spirit kept thrusting through. An experimental drug gave her relief in more recent years.

Liz died on July 28 at age 49. On top of the debilitating arthritis, she'd been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Shakespeare would surely chalk that one up as a tragedy.

She often talked as a teacher about the importance of always "looking for the magic," in every avenue of expression and experience.

That lesson won't get you a diploma but it helped me get a life.

• You can e-mail Moira MacDonald at moiramacdonald@rogers.com
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