Love and Life

 

Gretta M. Anderson, my wife and constant companion of nearly thirty years, died four years ago today.

Gretta and I were (and still are) soul mates. We shared a love of science fiction and fantasy that bordered on fan-atical. We went to conventions together, read literally every story and novel published in the sf, fantasy, and horror genres between 1979 and 1995, and read thousands of manuscripts for 2AM Magazine. Gretta was the editor and publisher of 2AM, and I was Irwin Chapman, 2AM’s book reviewer and editorial assistant. We were extremely happy. I wrote stories and novels of my own and many were published by mainstream publishers.

Then Gretta’s father and mother became ill and shortly thereafter Gretta’s mother died.

Gretta never completely recovered from a fall off a cliff while hiking and rock climbing as a teenager. She broke her back in multiple places. Although she underwent extensive surgery, she remained partially paralyzed and had to learn how to walk all over again.

After the multiple-year illness and eventual death of her mother, Gretta’s own health began to decline. I, too, developed a life-threatening illness in the mid-1990s. Gretta and I reluctantly left science fiction and fantasy to search for cures. We both went back to college and did extensive research. We shared much of what we learned by opening the enTrance Center and teaching regular classes.

With one foot in traditional medicine and the other in alternative treatments, we explored wellness. We helped many clients to heal, and our students continue that healing work today.

On January 31, 2012, Gretta died of a massive heart attack. I discovered her body when I awoke that morning.

I am angry that Gretta left me. I express that anger in some of my writing. I closed the enTrance Center a year after Gretta died, and I returned to reading and writing sf, fantasy, and horror. I imagine Gretta visits me in spirit as I craft new tales.

This year I revived 2AM Publications in Gretta’s honor.

During the course of one’s life, if one is lucky, one may learn to love many people and many things. I love my daughter, Tammy, and I love my three feline companions. I love the books and magazines that line the walls of my house. And I love the house itself.

I love Elizabeth Flygare differently than I love Gretta. Elizabeth is more traditional and literary mainstream than Gretta. Elizabeth complements my life in new ways.

Dare I say that I also love Teddie, my first wife and Tammy’s mother? Dare I say I love Susan, my second wife? Love never dies, and it IS possible to love more than one person. But love and relationships change over time, and though love continues, life forces us to move on.

I’ve made my share of mistakes in this life, but allowing myself to love is not one of them.

I love you, Gretta. I have always loved you, and I always will.

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