None of us at the ELEW knew Ms. Lachmund personally, but we were brought to the cause by the tireless--and inspiring--efforts of a mutual friend, Danielle Kendall, who you may recognize from the comments here and on Twitter. Danielle is a huge supporter of writers, a raiser of zombie-prepared children, and an all around wonderful person who is quite evil as she's made me cry. So of course we threw our support behind something she was involved in.
The good news is that their fundraiser was an enormous success.
The terribly tragic news is that Ms. Lachmund passed away yesterday.
If you read the timeline, which I encourage you to do, you'll learn that Ms. Lachmund was diagnosed the middle of last November, and up until that point had no idea that cancer was so advanced in her body. Less than a year later, after an incredible fight and surrounded by her loved ones, she is no longer in pain and was able to leave this world with the knowledge that her family would be taken care of and that people like Danielle love her dearly.
As I said, none of us knew this woman personally, but I know she was an absolutely incredible human being. How? Due to the tremendous outpouring of support around her. At the end of the line, to be loved is perhaps what matters most in life--it's what stays with us, it's what drives us, it's what remains. And it's the sheer vastness and depth of the love people had for Ms. Lachmund that tells me the world has lost an extraordinary person.
Less than a year from diagnosis to passing is a terribly short time. There is never long enough, as far as death is concerned and parting from those we care about. But I encourage everyone reading this to take a moment to tell someone you love them, and to remember these things we get hung up on--over here it's writing, publishing, douchebag authors, rejections--are distractions from what really matters. Don't take what we think of as "life" so seriously; instead reserve that for love and for kindness.
If you would like to extend your condolences to Ms. Lachmunds friends and family, please visit their Facebook page or their website, and consider making a donation to support the Michelle Lachmund Appeal or your local cancer organization.
Per Danielle, the song they chose to remember Michelle by was Get This Party Started by P!nk, as in her words: "To the heavens, take care of our beautiful girl, and don't say we didn't warn you. It's about to get loud up there!"
To go with my reminder to be gentle with others, I leave you with the guide to a happy life, The Prayer of St. Francis.
On behalf of everyone here, I extend our deepest sympathies to all those feeling the loss of Ms. Lachmund.
In the night of death, hope sees a star, and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing.