Today I have a sad story to share with you. I’m sure many of you know or know of Crescent Dragonwagon, a beloved cookbook author who wrote the tome Passionate Vegetarian, among many, many other books. I first “met” her through Passionate Vegetarian and have since had the good fortune to connect with her through the magic of the internet: e-mail, our blogs, and now we’re even friends on Facebook. She is an amazing woman, a beloved adopted aunt, someone whom I deeply admire and love. Maybe it sounds crazy to describe how I feel about her this way when I’ve never met her in person. Or maybe not. Perhaps by now we’ve all learned that real connections can be forged through social media. The internet may be the vehicle, but we are still humans, seeking kindness, warmth, and love wherever we go.
In late 2013, Crescent’s mother passed away. It was a peaceful death after a long, satisfying life. At some point while Crescent was away from her home in Vermont, I believe the basement flooded and caused terrible damage to the house, damage so bad that I’ve been told it’s unlive-able right now. And this week, her longtime partner, David Koff, passed away. He took his own life.
I learned about David’s suicide yesterday and have been in tears on and off since. My brother passed away by suicide in 2012; to lose a loved one in such an awful, this-should-never-happen kind of way just rips open your heart and leaves you feeling empty and gutted. I can’t even imagine losing a partner this way. It is beyond devastation. I am sure I would want to die right along with him rather than live through the pain of grieving.
And yet, Crescent is still here among the living, grieving and living life in that moment-to-moment way that we all do. She’s been sharing her story in Facebook updates, and each one of them breaks my heart again. Some of you may be thinking, “Really? Facebook? At a time like this?” Let me tell you: after my brother died, Facebook and my blog were a huge source of comfort. They gave me a place to write, even just snippets, and they gave me a way to receive the strength and love of people near and far. It was life-affirming at a time when the ground beneath my family had crumbled. So yes, Facebook. As I read Crescent’s updates and the responses, I imagine all of us holding an invincible, invisible net in which we catch her during these dark days. We are holding her in our love. We are grieving with her.
A brilliant soul found a way for us to support Crescent with more than our invisible net. Angelic Rodgers (what a name! especially at this time!) set up a fundraising page to help Crescent with her expenses during this time. As Angelic wrote about Crescent, “She has done so much for us and for the world through her writing and workshops. It's time to give back as much as possible.” With our support, we can ease the financial burden of repairing the house and any other expenses Crescent has right now.
I’ll be giving some money to the fund in the morning. If the spirit moves you, perhaps you might consider helping our beloved Crescent at this time. Or if you don’t have money, maybe you could spread the message on your blog or your social media channels. Money won’t bring David back to us, but it is another way we can give Crescent love and support. During our worst days, we need all the love we can get.
“Thank you for being part of this book and, though I may not know you, part of my life. We are all so different, and so utterly alike: Do we need further introduction in this world of famine and feast, loss and love, courage, the struggle for self-mastery, and tiny, irrational, vital hope? I think not. I think we have already met.” Crescent Dragonwagon, from the concluding page of Passionate Vegetarian