On Thursday, March 25th, Katherine Lawrence decided to end her life. She was a friend and a colleague, a gifted writer and a truly nice person. She will be missed.

Even though suicide is always tragic, there was no anger here. No vengeful attitude. It was not a cry for help. Katherine was suffering from a painful and debilitating disease (CFS) that was not likely to get better, and which prevented her from even writing to her satisfaction any longer, which was her greatest love. Her finances were at a low ebb; she had no family to speak of and no pets. She had friends, many friends, but she had no wish to be a burden. For Katherine, life was a ride that had ceased to be enjoyable and she wanted to get off.

But with the artistic grace and thoughtfulness that was so much a part of her life, Katherine took care that her passing would cause as little trauma for others as possible. She left her apartment spotless. Tupperware containers from visiting friends had been washed and carefully labeled, left on the kitchen table so that they could be easily returned to their owners. She chose her location with care; she wanted her last view of Earth to be a lovely one. Of necessity it needed to be isolated, but at the same time, she wanted to ensure that she would be found fairly quickly; so that her remains could be easily cleared away. She even made sure that it was difficult for anyone but adults to reach - her notes mentioned her desire not to accidentally traumatize any small children.

And so, here on the remote bank of an Arizona river at sunset, she ended her earthly existence. She leaves her work and her friends behind, but let us take comfort in knowing that she is at peace, no longer in pain, and forever a treasured part of our lives.

Bob Forward