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Remembering Menya

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59
Meg Walker
02-26-2004
08:31 PM ET (US)
I met Menya in grade nine Level 6 at Northern Secondary School. I'm searching my memory to recall when and why we first ended up together, but we completed numerous assignments as a pair - a theatre set for "The Admirable Crighton," an English project on homelessness, drama sketches and poetry attempts. She took me to usher with her at Young Peoples Theatre and convinced me to go to the SCA. We lost touch a bit after high school, but met again briefly at Black Creek Village. One of my sisters worked with Menya at Robarts library, ran into her a few years later at a concert and told me of her illness. Jane said that Menya wanted to hear from me. I procrastinated then finally called. I guess I spoke to Pete, who told me she was "on vacation." I realized that must be a euphemism, but thought maybe she was in the hospital. I left my name and number, but never heard from her.

Menya, I tell myself I tried, but I didn't try at all! I keep dreaming about you, but they are nice dreams, full of renewed friendship. I am so sad to find all these websites because I would rather find you.
Edited 02-26-2004 08:32 PM
58
Shelley /TSivia
07-23-2003
04:55 AM ET (US)
I wrote this just after Menya died, but the memories were so painful that I had forgotten I penned it. It just sat, quietly, in one of my poetry files on my computer until I started to converse with Menya's aunt Linda.

I sent it to her and she asked me to post it here. It is a snapshot of how I perceived Menya, mostly as Mistress Rhiannon in the SCA.

Shelley Rabinovitch/Dame TSiva

++++++++++++++++++++
The Faerie Harper
Shelley TSivia Rabinovitch
 
Tho' the singer is gone
Still her songs linger in our hearts.
Tho' the firelight fades
Still the flame burns anew.
 
Every wind-rustled leaf
Sings a note, plucks the perfect tune.
Every water-touched stone
Babbles on, whispered song.
 
Sun kissed hair tossed by wind
Dances wild, dances merrily.
Sunlit birds at first dawn
Sing her refrains again.
 
Listen close and you'll hear
For the bard is still present here.
Faerie fingers on harpstring -
Faerie voice on the wind.
 
6 March 2001
In memory, Menya Ruth Wolfe (Mistress Rhiannon of Wye, O.L.)
57
Phil Hultin
03-30-2003
12:45 PM ET (US)
I have returned to Menya's website and this bulletin board for the first time since leaving a posting a week after her death. Morris has just sent us a copy of his eloquent and moving account of her dying, along with a spectacular banner made by her aunt from Menya's robes and jewelery. Although her memory has been with me constantly, the book made her smile shine again and her voice ring in my ears and I had to come back to share with the community of Menyans.

I could not share directly in Menya's care, or bear witness to her courage over those last months. We were far apart in distance, but never far in thought then. Reading of the final days was a wonderful albeit painful experience, and I am reminded of the text: "O Death, where is thy sting, O grave, where is thy victory?"

A long time ago I remember reading that one of the invocations the ancient Egyptians made in their elaborate funerary rites was a call to "make the name of the dead live again". Morris, your book has made Menya live again - all the joy and all the beauty and yes all the pain that are part of my memories of her. I am crying as I try to type this, as I have not done since learning of her death. Menya, your name lives on and ever will as long as I continue.

"For now we see as through a glass, darkly - but then, face to face".
56
Shirley
01-14-2003
07:35 PM ET (US)
Thanks for sharing Menya's story of courage and enthusiasm
for life. My mother also died of breast cancer at 44 when
I was 5 and my aunt, my mom's sister, my cousin just had a
mastectomy at 40. Breast cancer is a very cruel disease
because it not only robs women of their femininity but their
very lives most at very young ages when they are just starting their lives. How fortunate for Menya she had a
loving husband and family to encourage and support her during this fight to live. She will be remembered for her
energy and optimism to survive by those who loved her and will help many women who don't even known what IBC is like
me who thought because I had normal mammograms and no visible skin changes or lumps the symptoms I was having
were nothing. Luckily I went to my primary care doctor who
referred me to a breast specialist and I will get the treatment I need. Thanks for sharing the story of this
remarkable woman!!!
55
xeger
09-05-2002
03:36 PM ET (US)
I'm not sure where to begin. It's September of 2002, and I've just found out through a completely unrelated web search about Menya's relapse into illness, and death. It's a shock - my last memory of Menya is her radiating happiness, with Pete by her side some four years ago. I remember being so happy that she'd finally found someone, found joy. I don't remember when I first saw or met Rhiannon (but it was most assuredly within the SCA) - but I remember her music, and a sadness from those early times. Pete had clearly brought her immense joy, and chased away those shadows - and it's that beaming love that I remember best. Earlier memories - her harp music, being allowed to plunk at her harp - sleeping on the floor of her apartment, in the late afternoon sun, like a lazy cat - the astounding artwork and research that came so easily to her.

I still plonk at the harp - one of my own now - and it always reminds me of her - now in a far more poignant way. I still have a book of hers, long borrowed - long lost - long forgiven.

A string sounds into the dark
and heralds dawn.

c.
54
YES
02-28-2002
12:32 AM ET (US)
THANK YOU FOR FOR SHARING THIS STORY. I HAD A SISTER IN LAW THAT LOST HER LIFE FROM WHAT STARTING OUT AS A BRIAN ANEURYSM. SHE WAS AT HOME ONE AFTERNOON WHEN SHE ASKED HER DAUGHT TO CALL 911... SHE SAID SHE FELT LIKE SHE WAS DYING. AND TO THINK SHE IS ONLY 29 YRS OLD. SHE MADE THE THE HOSPTIAL. SHE HAD AN ANEURYSM THAT WAS BLEEDING IN HER BRAIN. OKAY SHE HAD TO HAVE BRIAN SURGERY TO CLAP THE BLEED. YES, SHE SURVIVED THE SURGERY! DOCTORS SAY SHE IS GOING TO BE OKAY. THE FAMILY CAN EXHALE.. SHE WAS DOING SO GOOD, ALERT AS SHE COULD EVER BE. SHE KNEW HER NAME, THE DATE, WHERE SHE WAS AT. SHE LOOKED LIKE SHE WAS ALRIGHT. A COUPLE OF DAYS LATER WAS VALENTINE'S DAY 2002. THE FAMILY WENT UP THERE IS SPEND VALENTINE'S DAY WITH. THEY WERE WITH HER ALL NIGHT. THEY SAID SHE WAS DOING SO GOOD THAT SHE WILL BE ABLE TO DO HOME THAT NEXT MONDAY. MEANWHILE HER SISTER AND I WENT OUT OF TOWN FOR THE WEEKEND. SHE WAS DOING SO GOOD. MONDAY CAME SHE WENT HOME. WE DIDN'T GO OVER THERE WE TIRED FROM DRIVING DURING OUR WEEKEND VACTION. THE NEXT MORNING WE GET A CALL. SONIA FELL AND HIT HER HEAD AND IS BACK IN THE HOSPITAL. SHE IS NOT DOING SO WELL. WE FIND OUT THAT HER WAS CAUSED BY A STROKE FROM THE OTHER SIDE HER BRIAN. OKAY WE CAN DEAL WITH SHE JUST HAVE TO HAVE THERAPY BUT SHE'LL BE OKAY. THE NEXT DAY SHE IS REALLY SLEEPY WANTS TO SLEEP ALL TIME SHE IS STILL TALKING. I THOUGHT WELL MAYBE IT'S JUST BEST FOR HER TO REST SO HER BRIAN CAN HEAL. HOW IRONIC..... NEVER ONCE DID SHE SAY SHE WAS SCARED, SHE NEVER SHOWED IT. SHE CONSTANTLY TOLD HER FAMILY SHE LOVED THEM. SHE ALWAYS REACHED TO TOUCH WHEN YOU LEFT HER HOPSTIAL ROOM. SHE CAN'T KEEP HER EYES OPEN. SHE TELLS EVERYONE SEVERAL TIMES THAT SHE WANTED TO SEE HER DAUGHTER. THE PASTOR COMES TO PRAY FOR. HER REPLY WAS THAT SHE IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT. SHE SAID THAT SHE WAS REALLY TIRED AND THE NURSES WOULD WAKE HER UP CHECKING ON HER EVERY 30 MINS. THE FAMILY WENT HOME. THATS THE LAST WE TALK TO HER. NOT EVEN A GOOD HOUR AFTER WE LEFT SHE HAD ANOTHER STROKE, HER BRIAN COULD HANDLE THE BLOOD THAT HER STRONG HEART WAS PUMPING. HER BRIAN SHUT DOWN. THE ONLY THING THAT WAS KEEPING HER ALIVE WAS THE MACHINE THAT WAS PULLED INTO THE WALL. I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND WHAT HAPPENED. SHE WAS JUST FEEL A FEW DAYS AGO. HER SISTER AND HER MOTHER DECIDED TO TAKE HER OFF OF LIFE SUPPORT. SHE IS IN A PLACE WHERE SHE WON'T EVER AGAIN. WE REALLY MISS HER. HER FURNERAL IS THIS SATURDAY.
53
Roben Goodfellow
02-12-2002
08:34 AM ET (US)
 Hi All
I was fortunate enough to have been able to take part in Menya's care team. This message board (Pete, you rock) has been a great help over the last year. I don't think I've added anything though, so here goes. I made this addition to the blue book last summer, and it's about last Feb 13th, the day Menya died.

This is written months later of the day that Menya died. When I stepped off the elevator that evening to visit, the ward felt different. Ian met me in the hall and asked if I would go into the quiet room with him for a moment. I could see his news on his face, mingled with the desperation to do the job of informing people right. I stood my ground outside her room and asked him to just tell me what I already knew. She had passed away barely 10 minutes before, that Pete was with her right now, that he'd called her family and said Menya had taken a turn but not how sharply because that's just not the sort of thing you hear over the phone. I told him he'd done very well, that the news had been perfectly delivered.

I stepped inside the curtain drawn around her bed to see Pete kneeling beside her, holding her hand, looking at her face. His eyes held a mixture of relief, longing and love. In the coming hours many friends and family came by. With the generous and competent care of one of the nurses (and while once again listening to "Woodland Harp") I helped to change Menya into some clothing picked out earlier in the week for just that purpose; black skirt, burgundy batik top. Brushed hair, new lip-gloss. Perfume. I left her with a silver chain with an amber apple pendant - apples being the symbol of the Norse goddess Idun, the eternal maiden - I felt that was somewhat appropriate. I was amazed at the temperature changes in her body, at a newly added weight, but most of all by the look of peace and total joy her face had settled into. Seeing her then dressed in her own cloths was extremely important. She looked the perfect and powerful queen. There was a strong sense of clan around her, which I will always feel privileged to have been a part of. The funeral home was called and her father and brother waited with her to attend her out of the building; Menya's body therefore skipped the standard trip to the hospital morgue. As a devout non-conformist, I know this would have pleased her.

Some felt her presence, others her absence, but I think all felt the beginning of a hole in our lives that would be made by Menya's death. How we fill that, I think, will be a reflection of all she taught us and of our love for her.
Edited 02-12-2002 08:36 AM
52
Leigh Baetz
01-19-2002
08:52 PM ET (US)
I knew Menya from high school in the 80's. She was what some people may have called a nerd and as I was the same, we became good friends.

Menya's flair for dramatics became evident to me in our grade 10 history class. We were doing skits on events that transpired in Canada during the 20's and 30's. Our sketch consisted of flashbacks of events leading up to the stock market crash and how they affected a somewhat dysfunctional family surviving the great depression.

Menya and I played a husband/wife team duped by some shady stock market financiers. We were dressed to the nines and had incredibly stupid expressions plastered on to our faces. When we were told to "sign on the dotted line.." Menya plucked the feather from my headdress ( a brilliant piece of improvisation), and signed "B. Dunne". The class then cracked up because Menya had given the name of the class teacher who was sitting at his desk looking somewhat surprised.

I'm sure I told this story many times to anyone who would listen. When Menya could no longer speak, she still smiled when I reminded her of it.
51
Christi DeCloedt Newton
08-22-2001
04:20 PM ET (US)
(ska: Lady Elsbeth Lawrence)

I knew Menya for over 17 years. I met her in Toronto through the SCA. We shared some crazy times, as well as many quiet, intimate ones.

I knew she was sick. I tried to stay in touch with her over the years as I moved around the U.S., and I feel terrible that I failed to do so recently. I wish she had known how much I loved her, missed her and admired her.

On my last night at Pennsic XXX, when the Baron of Septemptria announced flatly that Mistress Rhiannon was dead, I was not prepared for how shocked I would feel. I sobbed on the shoulder of a kind lady who had known her even longer than I (bless you, lady, I did not even have the sense to ask your name), then I sat by the lake - almost on the exact spot where she and I once spent a night at our first Pennsic giggling and talking - and wept out my grief and my relief that her suffering had ended.

I will miss her grace. I will miss her music. I will miss her intelligence and her sharp wit. I will miss the way her eyes would light up with mischief whenever the Imps' Guild was mentioned. I will miss brushing her hair. The world is a much colder place.

Rhiannon (for that is the name I called you), please forgive me for not saying good-bye.
50
Michael Maurer
08-12-2001
02:42 AM ET (US)
 It is with deep and sincere sadness that I now learn of Menya's passing. Although it has been more than a few years since we last exchanged words, I frequently remember the times that we shared. I had heard from Ivor last fall that Menya was very ill, but I had not heard any more since then.
 She was a very rare and special person, tenacious and honest, and she will be missed. It was she who seriously introduced me to the SCA, and to a wonderful circle of friends who I still think of often. Although that period of my life became confused and unfocused, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know her.
 Michael Maurer (Ludwig)
49
Mike
07-11-2001
12:12 AM ET (US)
Our friend Kimberley recently celebrated her marriage to Roy, and it brought up another favourite Menya moment for me, when they were both present at my house for one of the Piano Parties and began to sing impromptu duet on the garden lawn...I think I was surprised that Menya waited till <after> the concert, rather than mischievously bursting into full-throated thrum in the middle. But what I do remember was the look of absolute delight on both their faces at the same time. I can see it like it was yesterday.
48
Gunnar
06-26-2001
10:52 AM ET (US)
Other happy Menya Memories(tm):
. the first time she let me brush her hair (O.K., I'll admit it... I have a fetish for long hair) - she even let me braid it for her a couple of times (and though I saw her once fixing it up afterwards, she was trying to do it somewhere where she didn't expect me to see her doing it), and once I got to wash it ['No conditioner? See if I come back to this salon!' - she did a very good offended dignity :-) ].
. reminding her , when she tried the mole gambit (see earlier posts) on me, that I had already seen it when I'd washed and massaged her feet at Pensic, and her then trying to still charge me for the viewing retroactively
47
Pete Bevin
04-30-2001
10:21 PM ET (US)
Classic Menya, from August 1996:
  http://groups.google.com/groups?ic=1&th=143568971a0b431b

(hers is message #2 in the thread)

Pete.
46
Pete Bevin
04-30-2001
10:21 PM ET (US)
Classic Menya, from August 1996:
  http://groups.google.com/groups?ic=1&th=143568971a0b431b

(hers is message #2 in the thread)

Pete.
45
Cato
04-30-2001
03:39 PM ET (US)
The day a little mundane kid found us sweetly singing bawdy songs together at a demo event, him asking me "do u do this all the time?" and her giving me "that look". Menya reminds me once again about what its all about even now, a lifetime after seeing her last. I spend my days working toward a molecular understanding of breast cancer, never feeling the reality of personal loss and pain. Thank you Menya, for showing me the forest, not just the trees.

Blessed Be
44
Mike McKay
04-27-2001
10:23 PM ET (US)
Reading more of the postings remembering Menya, I have seen a precedent for what I'd like to do. Even though we are intended to be talking about Menya, I'd like to say a few things about Pete:
Pete, Menya was _indeed_ the luckiest woman in the world to have found you! I have never encountered a more loving, more devoted, and (at the risk of sounding hyperbolic) more saintly husband in my life. (If I did not say so then, this is what motivated the sermon I put in the card I gave you for your thirtieth birthday). Everything that you have done--and are still doing--because of your profound love for Menya moves me deeply. Know, Pete, that I admire you greatly!

With much love,
Mike
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