|Publisher's Message: Lights Dimmed|
|by Suzanne Gillis|
Joan Rivers was 80. Dead from elective surgery, perhaps gone wrong. A stand- up comedian, Joan was driven to work for some 300 days a year, loving every minute of it and never planned to quit. Joan rocked her audience in 2012 at the Burlington Flynn Theater. Once, my theater manager brother spent an afternoon antiquing with Joan. She was on the hunt for anything Mother of Pearl. Of course, it turned into a hilarious memorable road trip!
Robin Williams. A shocking unimaginable suicide at age 63. He was a volcanic genius in constant motion and a marvel to watch. A breath-taking, all-consuming performer, both comedic and dramatic, he gave us his all. We knew it when he was alive, and now in death we know we will never witness anything like him again.
Cheryl Hanna was just 48 when she, too, took her own life. Our very own Vermont star. Not the stage kind but an accomplished lawyer, frequent media commentator, law professor and mentor to hundreds, whose lives she made better by her good counsel and encouragement. Cheryl gave and gave until she too wore out. It was a surprise to almost everyone that Cheryl was plagued by depression.
Marian Milne, business owner and long time legislator and commissioner on the Vermont Commission on Women, died unexpectedly at 79, planning on a meeting that night. She had always insisted on basic rights for all Vermonters, and lost her seat in the Vermont House because of her stand on civil unions.
Finally, possessed with a fiery Italian temperament and an obsession for the political process, Lola Pierotti Aiken died at 102. After her husband, U.S. Senator George Aiken died, she continued to support the Republican party, though picking and choosing those she supported. Always greeted with a standing ovation, petite Lola with the huge glasses, was respected and loved across party lines.
All our losses are tough to take; some like suicides are tougher than others. We all lose loved ones, which is deeply private and personal. And we lose our Heroes too, those out in the public
Lately the hero losses have been stacking up. Even the late night hosts like Letterman and O’Brien have spoken directly about their grief, and newspapers, blogs, tweets, etc., are loaded with messages from a grieving public.
|Suzanne Gillis is the Publisher of Vermont Woman newspaper.