I have been waiting for the news to be announced before writing this entry.  It was confirmed by police that one of my long-time friendships has come to an end in this life.  The body found in Karitane was identified as my friend Grace Gardner.  The police contacted me last Monday to see if I knew anything of her whereabouts.  We had not spoken directly for some months.  I travelled with her regularly to support her at Khamzin Tribe’s haflas.  Then, as far as I can tell, she pulled out of that to start a new relationship.  We passed occasionally on the street, going in opposite directions to our workplaces.  There was never time to stop and talk.

As the week progressed a body was found at Karitane.  I heard through other sources that she was dead.  The final announcement was by the police on Saturday in the local paper.  Her death is unusual and the police are awaiting further tests.  I expect to hear that there will be a memorial service for her.  So ends her life.  I had hoped to meet up with her again.  This is not to be.

I first met Grace at a bible study camp years ago.  She was a convert to Christianity in a country town.  We met years later when we both joined the Otago Mediaeval Society.  By that stage we had both moved into new places in our lives.  I was becoming more broad church; she had left Christianity behind.  I don’t think she could reconcile it with her life and education.  While at university she was introduced into neo-paganism and Islam.  While I did not press on her spiritual life I think maintained a tolerant magical practice to the end.

She worked at the Anatomy Department.  Her life was adventurous.  She married briefly, and after they separated amicably she had partners.  When she could she was consciously created places of sanctuary.  While I’m not a social extrovert I remember attending gothic parties in a big flat on Queen Street with some fondness that she organized.  She was a coeliac and everyday was a blessing for her.

Then she left her belly dancing group and began a new relationship which took her out to winter in Karitane.  I was tolerant of these changes as I knew we would catch up with each other again.  Her life was her own affair.  Indeed her name wasn’t the first one I meet her by.  She valued her privacy.

This makes her death all the more startling.  It turns out we will not catch up with each other again.  I do not understand what happened.  She left a note and disappeared from a relationship.  It sounded too similar to a suicide of another friend of the Archives that took place earlier this year.  Grace was extremely sensitive to the cold.  I accused her once of being an exotherm and she did not deny it.  To disappear without taking anything with her was irregular.  This is not yet a closed case.  I will await further news, and also hope to join with others to honour her memory.

She followed this blog.  There is a good chance that this entry will still arrive in her inbox.  Sadly she will not reply.  Whatever aspect awaits to receive her across the other lands I hope will receive her with kindness.

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