Liz Kreger, our good friend and fellow Magical Musings author, passed away last Thursday morning, but it’s hard to write this in the past tense. She was so vibrantly alive, not a cancer victim but a cancer warrior. In all the years I knew her, she rarely complained, and when she did, it was with humor. In my mind, I see her with a smile, talking about her daughter, her ‘little darlin’—and still wanting to go over her manuscript for one last revision. Despite her long battle with cancer, she was happier than many healthy people I know. She didn’t focus on the bad stuff; she focused on living and the many people she loved.
It seems like it’s been longer, but I met Liz about thirteen years ago at a Milwaukee WisRWA meeting. We quickly became friends, and not because we discovered that we both had had a mastectomy, but we just clicked – though I think that anyone would click with Liz. She shone so brightly even then. I admired her writing, and when there was an opening in the online critique group that I belonged to, I invited her to join us. There were eight of us: Allison Brennan, Maya Banks, Amy Knupp, Janette Kenny, Karin Tabke, Michelle Diener and me. None of us wrote in the same genre, and it didn’t matter.
During this time, Liz’s cancer would return, and she’d have chemo and/or radiation, and then it would go away. For awhile, at least. She didn’t let it stop her. She didn’t give up hope. Even when the doctors finally told her a short time ago that there was nothing they could do, she didn’t want to stop. She told her sister Margie, “If I’m going, I’m going out fighting.”
I saw her two days before she finally did pass, and I said, “When you see God, he’s got a lot of explaining to do.” She laughed. I’m glad that I have the memory of her laughing.
Liz was an inspiration on how to live. She will be missed, yet she’s still alive in the hearts of the many people who loved her. Including me.
Liz joined Edie, Karin Tabke and I in our critique group when one of our members left. We had a wonderful email loop of eight, with two groups of four, and some swopping around and overlap when needed. That was the first memories I have of Liz. Her work, and my discussions with her about it. Her commenting on my work, or our talking and sharing as a group. We didn’t restrict ourselves to talking about writing, we talked about our lives, and we became incredibly good friends.
It was amazing to meet Edie, Karin and Liz for the first time. I remember arriving at the airport in Dallas a few days ahead of the RWA conference and we went off and spent a couple of days at a bed and breakfast, and just talked and talked and talked.
Liz, as Edie said, was a woman who faced everything with a smile, a hefty dose of humour and a massive capacity for friendship and love. I will miss her so much. I was able to call and speak to her while she was in the hospital a few weeks before she passed away, and I love that while she was lying there, a couple of days after a major operation, she and I were talking about her coming to visit me in Australia. That was Liz, positive and making plans right to the end.
Some people leave a huge hole when they leave us, because they shone with such a bright light. Liz was one of those people, and I am honoured to have known her and called her my friend.