Posts Tagged ‘Drusilla Campbell’

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Drusilla Campbell, 1940-2014

Drusilla’s Death


(Written by Art on 27 October 2014)


At 3 a.m. on 24 October 2014 Dru peacefully stopped breathing. According to her wishes, she expired at Crickety (her home), without pain, dying in my arms, with her son Rocky beside her. My last words to her were, “I love you, but you must feel free to let go of your riddled body. Wherever you go, I’ll find you.” Also as she wished, I bathed and dressed her body before consigning it for cremation. When her body was carried from Crickety she had one arm curled around her first doll and the other embraced a childhood toy koala. God be with you, my Timeless Bride and Queen of Joy.

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(Written by Dru 1998, reviewed by Dru Sept 16, 2014, and discovered by Art, October 20th, 2014)


For you my dearest ones in the world, those with whom I hope to spend many more lifetimes, I want you to know what I am most grateful for at this moment, now, as I sit writing this with tears streaming down my face. That way, when I am dying you will know that I have loved my life and learned from it.


I am grateful…


— That I got to have a marriage to my soul mate.

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Bad News

(Dictated By Dru to Art on Oct. 11)


What do you do when the news is bad? You’re having a day that began in a fairly normal way: Juice, pills, cottage cheese. Then you get into a car and are driven to see your oncologist. Somehow you felt the bad news was coming. It was the prickle of hairs on the back of your neck, a tightness of breathing that you can’t explain. The news is only slightly less difficult to hear when it’s from your favorite doctor.

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Urgent Care

(Dictated by Dru to Art on Oct. 4)


Where am I now at 9 p.m.? In urgent care. Again. Last week it was for a bunch of blood clots that had migrated from my swollen left leg to my heart and lungs. This time it was for acute shortness of breath plus a pulse of 130 beats per minute.

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(Dictated by Dru to Art Oct. 2, 2014)


The other day Art handed me a story about a homeless man called Wilbur who had died of cancer, sitting in a thrown-away chair.  He got no memorial, no headstone, just a pauper’s grave.  He hadn’t died like that because of being a drunk or a crook or mean-spirited; he’d been a sober, honest, friendly guy.  His closest friend said, “He died that way because he’d never married or had children– and kin was how a man like Wilbur made it through the final years of his life.”


The image of Wilbur dying alone with no one at his side is one that will stay with me for a long time.

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Reading, Writing, Observing

(Dictated by Dru to Art)


When I was five my mother, three-year-old brother, and I sailed from New York to Melbourne on the Merchant Marine Freighter, S.S. Rattler. This was the first U.S. ship to go through the Panama Canal and across the South Pacific after the Second World War. My Australian grandfather, who was at the time an executive working for British United Shoe Machinery, had secured passage for the three of us while my dad finished out his Navy stint in Australia. We’d be gone six months.


The Rattler sailed out of New York Harbor on a foggy night. The Statue of Liberty loomed off to one side but became partially obscured by another ship, plowing toward the sea. Passengers were lined up on its deck, waving. We watched as it maneuvered behind us, its outlines growing dimmer in the swirling fog.

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(Dictated by Dru to Art)


I remember a song from the Eighth Grade Music Book: “Over the river and through the woods/ To grandmother’s house we go/ The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh….”


Yesterday– Sunday– wasn’t quite like that. No snow or horse or sleigh, and what passed for woods were acres of desiccated chaparral north of San Diego. We were in the midst of a hellish heat wave, over a week of century-plus record temperatures, and no relief in sight. In town the Chargers were beginning to lay waste to the Seahawks and the temp on the field was around one-hundred-eighteen degrees.

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Breaking My Anonymity

I am a member of a worldwide organization, which has anonymity as one of its central principles. After almost thirty-one years, I’ve decided to break my anonymity.


A few days ago, I was scheduled for back-to-back scans, PET and CT; and I’d been anxious because I knew these tests would give me the first big picture of the extent of cancer in my body. There was no way the news would be good. The question was, “How bad would it be?”

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I suppose my fate was written in the stars from that summer night at the Los Gatos Youth Center when the two big high school car clubs threw a dance to which, for some reason, eighth graders were invited. It was 1953 and I was thirteen. I remember sitting on an iron bench outside the youth center with Eric Magalby on one side and Jimmy Nissen on the other, passing a Pall Mall back and forth. My first cigarette, as I recall. I think it was a year or two before filter tips. After that I was a Marlboro smoker, always.

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4th of July

Wow, it’s noisy in our neighborhood. The neighbors next door are hosting a really big party. Really big. We were invited but I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle it so we’re enjoying it vicariously. The band is good and loud and I never get tired of “Hotel California.” Little girls are shrieking as only nine year olds do. Adults are laughing and clapping. Fireworks from Point Loma and Ocean Beach and Sea World. That sweet smoke smell is in the air. Sirens screaming, but none of the cop cars are headed up our hill. This is a usually quiet residential neighborhood full of nice people. Right around ten things will quiet down, and by eleven, I’ll be able to sleep.

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