March 15, 1949 – December 29, 2008
All of us at Literary Mama are deeply saddened to learn of the death of columnist Ericka Lutz’s husband Bill Sonnenschein. On Monday, December 29, after only a few hours of intense gastric illness, Bill passed away in the small village of Maraontsetra on the east coast of Madagascar. Both Ericka and Annie were with him. The day before, Bill was hiking in the rain forest, spotting lemurs, and sea kayaking at sunset. He was living his life to the fullest.
Ericka’s most recent column, Holding, describes so beautifully how she had been coping with the “situational separation” of having Bill work thousands of miles away:
“Yet Bill hasn’t really left. Our love is strong, our commitment unbroken. We talk on Skype almost every day, and in between, we email and Twitter. We’re still together, we love each other, and this is temporary. He hasn’t really left, he’s just not here right now.”
When someone dies, you search for the right words to comfort. You tell her you’re sorry, then offer any help you can. But you can also offer up her own wisdom: He hasn’t really left, he’s just not here right now.
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