Friday, June 13, 2014

Farewell, Gitte.

It is with great sadness I write this.

My friend and fellow writer, Gitte Christensen, passed away this morning after a long illness. A couple of weeks ago, surrounded by family members, her life-support was switched off.

Even then Gitte showed great courage, as she has done all along. I’ve been told she said that despite the machines being switched off, she would continue to fight.

Gitte was very private, and asked that I not share her situation with anyone until now.

Those who read Gitte’s blog will know that from time to time she mentioned her illnesses, her surgery and her pains. But you will also know she never dwelt on them, or complained about them. And she certainly never went into any details. She just wrote about how they were preventing her from writing.

I spoke to Gitte several times about her health. Gitte never described what was wrong with her, and I never asked. I believed it was cancer, and I’ve now had this confirmed. Gitte was a Danish warrior. Two years ago she was told she would not live to see that Christmas. It was only two months ago she went horse-riding, one of her great loves. 

Gitte was honest, humble and full of integrity. And optimistic – always optimistic. She was a prolific writer, a quiet achiever. Unknown by many in Australia, she had some great publishing credits. Andromeda Spaceways, Aurealis, Eric Guignard’s  ‘Dark Tales Of Lost Civilizations’, ‘The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror 2010’, and a whole bunch more. Last year one of her stories was selected by Alex Dally McPherson for inclusion in ‘Aliens: Recent Encounters.

Gitte and I always wanted to share a TOC. This dream was realised only last week, as we both have stories in issue 59 of Andromeda Spaceways. I’m thrilled that in the past month Gitte has sold even more stories, including one only a few days ago. Her family will be maintaining her website, and details will be published there as those stories go to press.

I first met Gitte at a Sean Williams workshop. We said nice things about each other’s writing, and stayed in touch. From there we developed a mutual respect which became a friendship. Gitte and I encouraged, supported and congratulated each other. Every year we would meet up at a convention or writing event. I last saw her at a Jack Dann workshop. She was unable to finish that course due to her health.

Take a moment to wish her well on her travels into the great unknown, and if you are so inclined, donate money to a cancer research organization.

Farewell, Gitte.


LynC said...

We shared Paul Collins 'Writing SF' course through the Victorian Writers Centre. Afterwards she asked me to beta read her novel, but I knew I would not have time and had to say 'no' to her. I invited her to join my writers group - Alternate Worlds, but she never replied.Last year I heard rumours of her illness, but we'd lost touch and I was unable to confirm anything. I'm sorry to have it confirmed this way.

parlance said...

She was indeed a Danish warrior, Steve. A fighter and an inspiration, both as a writer and as a human being.

Sue Bursztynski said...

I have only just heard. Awful! :-( I published her first ASIM story, in ASIM 38. It was wonderful. I had to find a story to fill a gap and there it was in the slushpool, about to drop off the list. I proofed her last ASIM story, in 59. We met at a con once, and she was lovely. I'm glad you both got to be on the same TOC.