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Friday, February 09, 2007

Goodbye Olivia Tsosie

I spent a while today trying to find a story I wrote in 1991, as an intern, about Agua Fria. My source, one of my first sources, was a great lady named Olivia Tsosie, who had me over and spent a long time explaining rural zoning and other details that are the backdrop for life in Santa Fe County. I guess she liked my story OK, or liked me OK, because from then on she sent me letters, and when e-mail began, emails, about her thoughts and ideas and beliefs and tips. She was a very cool lady who really cared about people, particularly people who were being oppressed or taken advantage of by corporate America or their governments, and she always tied things together in a way that was both constructive and appropriately outraged.
Olivia died this morning, at the age of 74. She'd had cancer but from what her close friend told me via email, her death was still surprising and sudden and a great loss for this community. I had an email from her at the end of January asking me to come and visit with her this month. I hadn't had a chance to write her back yet and now I regret it. I regret that I didn't have a chance to go see her again and hear her thoughts on things, because they were always interesting and worthy. She mentioned in that email that she had cancer of the spine and, while she had been approached about running for county commission, she didn't have time to mess with it now.
A few days before that she sent me an email that seemed clearly to be for someone else, and was probably sent to me by accident, but it had something at the end of it that now sticks with me:

"we are part of what will happen and we can fund our joy and our sorrow in being together and experiencing it together. the molecules may move around and the egos may come and go but we are all alive in evertying and it's all alive in us."

I'll miss her.