December 16, 2003

Our Dear Madeleine.

Luce Nadeau and Jean Ogilve are deeply saddened to pass on the news that Dr. Madeleine Judith Cecelia Page passed away just before eleven pm, Monday, December 15, 2003. As you all know, Maddy chose to roll the dice and take the slim odds offered by aggressive chemo to return her to a productive life. She never wavered in her commitment to live, and never gave in. The complications that arose from the toll that chemo took on her body were eventually too harsh to stand.

Madeleine said she was afraid a few weeks ago. When asked what she was most afraid of, she said there were two things --- dying alone and leaving a mess. It was not dying itself that frightened her. She died surrounded by loving friends, and we told Maddy that from our experience of knowing her for more than 20 years, her messes are sometimes far less dramatic than they feel subjectively, which seemed to give her some comfort. As well, a number of initiatives she had initiated, including renewing her Canadian passport and getting her insurance sorted out had come to fruition, so her worries began to fall away.

Maddy has many times mentioned that the upside of this experience has been the outpouring of generosity, kindness, and attention that she has received from her friends. The magnitude and depth of love that came in her direction moved her to the core. She tended to keep her friends segregated by groups --- the electronic community, lists, dog-walkers, a few old friends, Widener, the therapeutic community, neighbors, etc. and many of us had not met one another. As we have come to meet each other over the last few months and share stories about our love for her we are experiencing a virtual community with her at the centre. When she spoke about this to a few of us recently, she said she was "overwhelmed" with this outpouring, and truly got from this that she was a deeply lovable human being --- something that had always been a struggle for her to believe.

She spent the last few days in a quiet room in Jefferson, with no medical interventions, the radio softly on her favorite classical station and with friends reading to her. Her friends were with her, many calling to talk to her. It could not have been more peaceful.

We are in conversation about how to celebrate her life, and allow us the opportunity to come together. We will keep you posted on this on the blog, but are tentatively looking at something in Philly January 10, and something in Canada in August where she has requested her ashes be buried in one of her favourite places in the beautiful boreal forest of Pontiac County, Quebec.

It has been such a gift to have known Maddy, and to have had the opportunity to be part of this amazing community.

With love, Jean Ogilve and Luce Nadeau.

Posted by angus at December 16, 2003 12:00 AM

I was holding thee in the Light, Madeleine, and then I couldn't any longer: the Light was holding thee. God keep thee, Maddy, in whom the Light was so bright we all glowed.

Posted by: Lizz Holmans at December 17, 2003 08:02 PM

Thank you everyone for helping Maddy out, for being with her in her journey. Looking through the blog, there are so many names I remember, and so many memories to associate with you all.

Our world is richer for having known Maddy, and poorer for her passing. She was a truly compassionate person, despite her sometimes gruff demeanor. She would not brook fools, but always had kindness and understanding for those around her. (Stop laughing, you b*st*rds, she really did!) I think she got that back in spades from all of you. Thank you.

Posted by: Justin Bukowski at December 17, 2003 11:13 AM

I met Maddy in Chicago where a group of coffee folk had gathered one weekend last year to slurp and spit. I had known Maddy only through her posts to and was thrilled to meet up with her. What a lady. What a lady. What a lady. Those who were priviledged to be her friend and to know her are truely blessed.

Posted by: bernie at December 16, 2003 06:39 PM

To all of you who have been so wonderful during Madeleine's brief illness.Thank you all for being there for her in such a magnificent way. Madeleine and I were once 'best friends' and then drifted apart. She reconnected with me by Email in August this year, and we exchanged a few Emails and then she shared her terrible news. I and others here in Toronto offered to come down and be with her, but she assured us that she was surrounded by wonderful friends, and indeed she was. Madeleine was a brilliant and brilliantly funny person, difficult at times, but quite extraordinary. A very bright light in our lives has been extinquished. I feel privileged to have known her. Thank you all so very much,
Connie (Toronto)

Posted by: Connie at December 16, 2003 02:58 PM

Having seen Maddy earlier last evening, I knew her time to leave us was soon. As her friends were surrounding her with the love she cherished, I knew her spirit was at peace and eaze. Gone would be the glib and utterly brilliant Maddy- too soon for my liking, but in my heart would be the memory of a person who helped me become a better nurse and person. In her time of need, she offered me friendship and fellowship. In her time of painm she offered me a gentle touch. In her time of crisis, she offered me encouragement. I was blessed by meeting, knowing, and loving Maddy- albeit for such a short time.
To all her friends I have met here at TJUH, that you for your kind words and gentle welcome to the world of Maddy. Her love and kindness will live on in all of us.
As one door closed her for her in life, I am absolutely certain that another on opened for her-and she has taken herself to another level- and will begin her work there. To all those that I have sadly lost in the years past- I pray the take Maddy by the hand and guide her down her new path in peace. I shall miss her deeply.

Posted by: Steven Sloneski, NEX, TJUH at December 16, 2003 08:21 AM

I have many regrets in my life (and a lot of non regrets also) and one of those is that I never got to meet Madeleine in person. But I am glad I got to meet her electronically via the AFU newsgroup.

Oh Great Spirit,
I call upon thee to watch out for our brave Ice Weasel and surround her with Jackalopes and bunnies to keep her company and protect her there in the Great Hunting Grounds in the Sky.

Robert Alston and Guido

Posted by: Robert Alston at December 16, 2003 02:08 AM

Sorry to hear of your lost - I am truly sorry that I did not get to met Maddy - also forgive me for viewing your personal moments over the past severl weeks.

Posted by: Susan at December 16, 2003 12:23 AM
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