She was fiercely private, and had one of the most difficult lives of anyone I've ever known. Deaths of people close to her (including her fiancé, who was
In the face of it she showed astonishing self-awareness, optimism, generosity, righteousness, grace, wisdom, and yes, fierceness. Even after all this, she was the one that others went to for advice and comfort. She was fearsome and beloved. She was so beloved that when her apartment burned, a large online community came together for her and did everything they could to get her back on her feet.When she was burgled, she found the guy in her apartment and scared him out of taking some of what he'd planned to steal. She dealt with her chronic pain by focusing on small moments with people she loved, and being grateful for them. Recently she had moved back to Michigan, buying a house there to be near her mother, whom she loved so very much.
On Thursday, the date of her last post to this year's always remarkable Advent calendar, she IM'd a friend that she was dealing with her annual bout of bronchitis by sleeping sitting up. On Friday she was supposed to contact her mother and didn't. On Sunday her mother, concerned, went to her house and found her.
Leslie didn't want a memorial service. On one of her sites she endorsed the charity Modest Needs; I think donations to them would be a fitting way to remember her.
Bless your soul, Leslie Harpold. Life is too damned short. I miss you.
Update: read this.
Update redux: and this, which has links to some of her writing at the bottom. Thanks to prairie for pointing it out.
Update #3, December 13: this is a roundup of links, assembled by Kevin Fanning, to tributes to Leslie. Miguelito's has a great story about her.
Traffic to this blog is up nearly 1,700% in the last two days. I hope she understood the scale of the love for her. She moved so quickly through so many people's lives, and left just about all of them better for having known her. What an incredible life.
Update #4, December 15: Shauna's post about Leslie is beautiful, hilarious, and heartbreaking.