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Posted in: World Events

Published on Aug 17, 2020 by Phyllis Chesler

Published by Phyllis Chesler

Death Comes Calling


Once again, Mr. Death has come to call, reminding me of his rude and awful power.

Two friends—cherished colleagues—have just died within a week of each other. Neither died of the Wuhan Virus (COVID-19). This was up close and personal.

Until now, the horrifying global death toll has been a statistic, too overwhelming to process personally. Now, a woman, and a great scholar, with whom I’ve worked since the mid-1970s (Dr. Diana Russell), and another woman, a gallant warrior tilling a different field entirely, and with whom I’ve worked since about 2004 (Helen Freedman) are gone, forever gone.

Others knew them far better than I did; they were polar opposites in terms of their work—and yet, I cherished each of them. So many people have been part of the tapestry of my life, and that tapestry has been unraveling for a long time. Beloved figures have been fading away, disappearing, since the mid-1940s, when my maternal grandparents died and then, in 1967, when my own father died.

I refuse to remove the names and contact information of those who have died from my various lists. By now, there are hundreds of feminists whom I keep close to me, and whose names I see whenever I consult my contact lists. It is my way of remembering them, of refusing to allow Death to us part.


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