My childhood friend, Sandie Bergen, died two days ago, the victim of a drive-by set of brain tumors that she only learned she had three weeks ago.
The neurologist had concluded that she'd only recently developed three massive and horrible tumors in the days around Christmas. Those tumors plumped up her brain and caused her to forget things and to fall down, and that is the reason for her visit to the hospital, her Green Mile visit which involved MRIs and, ultimately, a biopsy which resulted in a brain hemorrhage from which she never recovered.
Sandie, for her part, had been optimistic going in.
"We're going to fight this," she told her husband, Charlie, the love of her life, the former Vancouver volunteer Fire Chief. The kids put up a friendly wall hanging in her room. They knew it wasn't good. They prayed for the best.
But shit happens, as Sandie might have said. Shit happened, indeed with a tumor that burst taking away her from her life, her family, her friends and the many fans of her fantasy fiction series.
I knew Sandie in high school, I think I might have known her in public school. The 58-year-old brain plays tricks. I knew that I loved her as a friend; I remember her as a person who had a touchstone quality to her. Always up, always engaged, always a warm soul.
I've asked my high school friends to post their remembrances of Sandie. And I ask, too, for others to post in this space. They are all crying tonight. Wayne and Barb and Wendy and Ed, all of us who formed The Geek Squad at West Park Secondary School, all of us square pegs who belonged to the Audio-Visual Club. Sandie was there, front and centre, sporting the first pair of green contact lenses -- God, we were impressed by that -- a present from her dad, the optometrist.
She always had a book on the go, she was fascinated by video games and J.R.R. Tolkien which led her to publish a successful number of fantasy fiction titles.
Sandie had fans everywhere.
I believe that if she had lived, she'd have been a fixture at Comicon gatherings around the globe.
It was not to be.
God gave Sandie only so many heart beats, only so many words to put onto pages.
She was a bright flame burned out too son.
Her family holds her memory tight, and we, her high school friends, we now worship her from afar.
But the good news -- if there is any -- is that her spirit lives on in her many books and in the eyes of her children.
Sandie Bergen had a legacy
She will be remembered.
And we will remain, forever sad, in the news of her passing.