Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Ellie

In  the past few weeks, I've started a few emails to Ellie and then deleted them.  I was trying to be cautious not to overwhelm her inbox with my bullshit.  Most recently I wanted to ask her opinion on a business opportunity.  Sometimes I asked her opinion on table settings or sometimes just to say hi or to show her something I knew would make her laugh.  Ellie was so gracious with her time, her talents, and her spirit.  I think many of you were her friend in the way I was her friend--in our own little world her blog created.  The funny thing about blogs is that they are alarmingly intimate.  We write and read them from our own cocoons of comfort--we may laugh startlingly loud, cry profusely, or experience existential epiphanies completely to ourselves--and then go about our normal days; holding the feelings but not necessarily wearing them for all to see.  I think that shared emotional intimacy connects us despite our many disconnections from one another. 

Ellie, thank you for sharing your soul with us. Your gifts made the world more beautiful from our homes to our hearts. And by granting us permission to have a cig if we really fucking needed one. 

Love,
Your Imaginary Friends



194 comments:

  1. I only knew Ellie through her blog but I am heartbroken to hear that she has died.
    Angela

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    1. Me too. I am so glad she was home in California though

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  2. She was a one if a kind, wisecracking, tender hearted soul. The world is a little duller today.
    Stephen, in the same anonymously intimate way that Ellie made me feel included in her wry humor and beautiful eye for life, you do that too for me and so many others.
    Hugs to you, and peaceful travels to Ellie.

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  3. I was also one of Ellie's imaginary friend thru her blog. I loved her, still do, as do so many. She touched many, and I learned so much thru her clear approach to life. You touch my heart in the same way. You also are one of a kind. Love to you, and Ellie's family and friends

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    1. Yes. SAJ - when I think of Ellie - I am also struck by the remarkable cohort of fellow bloggers that I "met" via comments over the years on HSD. I grew to look for you, Heather of Arles, la CONTESSA, and more. What rare spirits! What talents so generously shared! What blessings you bring to so many. Deeply appreciated and even beloved from another imaginary friend, Dorothy

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    2. Robin you make such a great point about what a wonderful teacher Ellie was. I learned so many things reading her blog. Thank you so much. Dorothy, it is amazing what a unique group Ellie attracted isn't it?

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  4. please tell me its a lie. I just came back in Athens and the first thing I did was to look at Ellie s blog and read the last one. then I opened instagram and read awful news. I cannot believe it. She is so alive

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    1. I have to admit I thought of her as rather invincible. I was hopeful she was back in the States having some success with a new treatment.

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  5. I knew she was coming home to die, but didn't expect it to be quite so soon... Travelling mercies to her.

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    1. I thought the end was in that apartment at Palais Royale but then when she made it through that she had a while longer. Amazing how long she fought and how much she did.

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  6. My heart goes out to her family and to all of us here in our little blog world. Thank you, Stephen, for writing what you did about her. It is how if figured out that she had died. I have kept looking to see if you had finally moved beyond your "cookie" blog and saw this! So very sad.

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    1. I know I keep thinking about her family and how awful it must be for them. I wish we could all buy Gracie a ridiculous present. It wouldn't make her feel any better but just something

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    2. Hi SAJ. Please let me know where I can contribute to Gracie's gift. Think your idea is great. It won't lessen the pain and reality but hopefully she'll like it and feel the love and laughter her mum brought to us readers all around the world. Den xx
      Ps although my husband thought I was a lunatic, I did send Ellie emails when she took time off to finish her book. I wanted to be supportive not a hindrance. I know madness.

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  7. I am so so sad to read this news. RIP Ellie. You rock, still.

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    1. Yes I got Heather's email in the grocery store and typical me style had a breakdown trying to decide between kosher and bread and butter spears.

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  8. UGH... did not know she passed. Had hoped she would have some time in her homeland. Rest in peace, brave soul.

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    1. I hoped for that too! That was the vibe I had-that she could settle into California life for a while

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  9. DAMN. She was a slap upside the head whenever she posted. That she was so full of projects and energy in spite of everything. I read her entire blog twice. I will miss her. I even fret over Grace. She really came into our lives as few others have.

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    1. She really was, constantly helping us keep things in perspective

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  10. Oh man, didn't know she had died. She was so strong and funny and was a good mom. Did she make it home? Despite all she was going through, she remained a bright and vivacious spirit. We can only hope to be so brave.

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    1. Yes she was home in California in the same cottage she had lived years ago when Gracie was little

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  11. I'll always miss Ellie. She was the best imaginary friend ever. Thank you for writing this Stephen Andrew, it's a real comfort to read your words today. XOX

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    1. Me too! Thank you. I'm so glad you have a few goodies from the HSD shop to keep Ellie in your home forever

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  12. I am so sad to read this. I was just watching a behind the scenes of the RHWBH and Yolanda was with Ellie talking about how they were glad they did a trip to ether a few years ago. She was so passionate and feisty and her taste!!!! am sad xxx

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    1. I didn't see that! I wonder if it didn't air in the US. Me too. Loved all that I learned from her blog

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  13. I am stunned. Ellie gave a face to ALS that only she could, I have screamed laughed at her post beginning with the Christmas Tree post about tinsel.
    I had a very dear friend who had ALS, she introduced me to Ellie. She lost her battle May 2. If not for Ellie, I would not know you.....I have laughed out loud at you, Stephen Andrew Jones. I am sorry Ellie has lost the fight, but damn she fought hard and valiantly. God bless her, Gracie and David. May the peace of the Lord be with all.

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    1. She absolutely did! She is forever an exceptional ambassador for ALS awareness. The tinsel post was the first I ever read! Janet from the Gardener's Cottage posted about her and I'm so glad she shared Ellie with us! That post was my favorite until her post about her brother which I think is one of the most exquisite things I've ever read.

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    2. I agree with you regarding her post about her brother. I have so many questions after reading her books and blogs! You have been such fun to read with responses and were so kind to blog for her. Isn't it great to see all the people that she affected? I am devastated like so many others. It is comforting to know others feel the same. I'll look forward to your blogs and Contessa's and Lost in Arles. Life goes on but it sure won't be the same. Thank you Stephen.😘

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    3. Thank you! One of the most elegant women I have ever known is named Lee Anne spelled just like yours. It's amazing how many of us there are! It makes me feel so good!

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  14. Her last post was so upbeat, in the sense that she was finally home, as she had wished, and she spoke about the future and the antiques sales she was planning. I am so sad. She struggled and suffered so long but with such wonderful humor and spirit. She was the best virtual friend anyone could ever want.

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    1. I know. Although I did worry when the formatting was so off. That didn't seem like something Ellie would accept and I worried it was so hard for her to post that she had to accept it the way it was. I'm so sad too

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  15. WE ALL ADORED HER.
    BEAUTIFUL POST...............
    EVERY TIME YOU BUY A BLUE & WHITE PIECE LOOK UP AND GET AN APPROVAL..................OKAY?SHE WILL GIVE YOU A SIGN.
    SHE ADORED YOU SO MUCH.I had hoped once she landed in the USA you TWO could have MET!To have been a FLY on the WALL for that SOIREE!!!Would have been SO SPECIAL.
    XX

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    1. Thank you! I know but I am so glad she made it back to California as she wanted. I think I might donate my bad blue and white because I don't like it anymore! Life is too short for bad home goods blue and white

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  16. Thank you, SJ. Your words are perfect, as always, and meaningful to so many who came to know Ellie through her blog.

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  17. I figured she probably was coming home to die, but was shocked that it happened so soon. Yet I'm glad she is finally freed from that terrible and slow decline that ALS causes its victims to suffer. She was a true warrior....a warrior with style, humor and courage.

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    1. So well said. I do love to know that she is no longer confined. And she said that she couldn't wait to watch her friends have sex after she died. Hopefully that doesn't extend to the imaginary friends!

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    2. Oh, yes I had forgotten she'd said that. You and she have such a great sense of humor. Ellie was/is an incredible soul. I still can't believe all that she achieved, she really is an inspiration. I feel so blessed to have read her blog and yours too. Love to you,Katrina xxx

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    3. I am sure Stephen that it does apply to her imaginary friends! but only perhaps for imaginary sex!

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  18. Just beautiful Stephen. Everything I wanted to say. With Ellie, in that moment in time that was our friendships, didn't we almost have it all?!

    Sending aloha to David and Grace...always xo

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    1. Thank you so much Lola! I'm sure she just loved your wicked sense of humor!

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  19. Dear fellow imaginary friend Stephen: I knew you'd hit the exact right note and, lo, you did. It was a pleasure and an honor to connect with Ellie. I always liked reading your comments on her blog and her replies; you two clearly had a special zing. I think this is a day for a cig and a chardonnay. Join me?
    Be well. D

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    1. Thank you so much for saying that. I went classic SAJ and downed a hefty portion of Cab and carb. It was kind of a perfect way to think about her as I went to the market and hand picked each perfect tomato to make a perfect sauce. Do we know what kind of cigs Ellie preferred?

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  20. We are all so lucky to have had the privilege of being Ellie's "imaginary" friends. I felt certain she was returning home to be in her beloved Santa Barbara at the end, but I held a glimmer of hope that she would be able to enjoy it at least a bit longer. She was such an incredibly brave and beautiful spirit, and a tremendous inspiration for me. My heart goes out to Gracie and David.
    Stephen, thank you for this beautiful post - hearing the news via your inimitable voice helps soften it. Ellie would no doubt approve.
    xo, Catherine

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    1. I couldn't agree with you more. I was always floored that E was willing to share so much when so much had been taken away from her. I so hoped for her to be able to make it through the holidays and get to do them the normal American way one more time. But on the other hand she might have figured she should get out before the election.

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  21. So well said, Stephen, thank you. Peace to our wonderful Imaginary Friend, on angels' wings, and to her sweet family. Heartfelt thanks, Ellie, for sharing so much beauty and hilarity with us. I miss you already. xoxo

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  22. Your tribute is beautifully written, Stephen, and Ellie, would have appreciated your sweet praise. Thank you for saying all the things that we'd like to say. It is so very sad and such a terrible disease needs to be eradicated. Thank you

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    1. Thank you so much! It is such an ugly disease.

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  23. Perfectly said Stephen. Thank you for summing up what many of us are feeling. It is amazing how some of our "imaginary friends" can affect us so profoundly. You and Ellie both fall into that category. RIP to a beautiful and strong lady.

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    1. Thank you so much. I know, I kept mulling over what a weird feeling it is to feel the loss of someone you didn't really "know" but knew so well. I think there's such a sincerity in real writing that the writer can't really hide so in many ways we do come to know the authors for who they really are.

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  24. Sorry Stephen....I know how much you meant to each other.

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  25. she made it back home.
    i thought somehow she might have tricked old ALS. she was like the little energizer bunny.
    your words are beautiful.
    just as she was.

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    1. I know I really did too. I had been reading about these new treatments coming from Oregon and then from Ohio State and hoped she was coming back in time for some kind of breakthrough

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  27. Stephen, I hadn't realized she was gone until reading your post. I've also been writing her emails that I never sent, to my regret. This past Sunday I was walking in Gramercy Park (site of her diagnosis, remember that post?) where I lived, thinking once I arrive in Savannah (new home, thinking of your HH post) I have to write Ellie and tell her how she's inspired me, how I think of her so often, how I admire her for the fullness of the life she has lived so far. How she's motivated me to make changes, to take more risks, to live better. Well, she gave us all the gift of herself and created a beautiful, funny community. Just one small legacy the extraordinary Ellie leaves in her vibrant wake.

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    1. She did the same for me and what a fabulous legacy to leave. It's amazing to think how many lives she improved. Congratulations on your move! I love that area so so so much.

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    2. Thank you! I am already looking forward to your return to the area so that I can read all about it.

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  28. Thank you for speaking for all of us. She touched so many. Never to be forgotten.
    Sandra Sallin

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  29. It just didn't seem like it would happen I think. She was so feisty and full of life. And she made me laugh and think, and I enjoyed seeing the world through her eyes. I think it's hard for people to understand blogging when they aren't a part of that world with our Imaginary Friends. Sometimes I get these odd comments on my posts from someone I've never heard from before, and I just think, well, this person thinks we've been having a conversation for 4 years, and that I know her and I'm in her life.... It's just that it can be a bit one sided when you're the one writing the posts and that's the first time they've popped up. On the flip side you get to know people around the world really well when they have been posting, and you feel invested in their world. Ellie was like that for me. She touched a lot of people though, and I hope her family are proud of that and for how hard she fought her battle.

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    1. Very wonderfully said. I know I thought she'd just keep going! It's amazing how many things she soldiered though. I think you're exactly right about blogs and how they do welcome
      us into their authors' lives.

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  30. A beautiful post. Thank you for being so eloquent for all of us, her "imaginary friends".

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  31. I checked her blog and Twitter account regularly and regaled in her latest post about "The Journey Home" posted mere days ago. How aptly titled. All day today I've checked in to read new comments on Twitter, and all day I've been distracted by the utter sadness that swamped me. I, too, was an internet friend. Yet the feelings I had for her went far beyond that - and I believe that true of so many of us.

    You, Dear Heart, do for me what Ellie did - you have the ability to light the Light, the fire, make me smile and laugh and take me to my knees all in the same post.

    I came here this evening to be with you, knowing I'd find solace, and I have. Thank you. And bless you.

    I go to bed sad and sorry yet richer for having "known" her. And you.

    Vaya con Dios Ellie. You made a mark on my soul that makes me a better person and I will love you always.

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    1. Thank you so much. I know I was reading the IG comments for a while and that's when I decided I wanted to write something because I didn't like the way it read. I sort of thought this would be a nice way to set roses down in a more organized and permanent way.

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    2. When I read the news on Instagram, I searched for your thoughts Stephen. In the past, after reading Ellie's posts, I'd always look for your replies for an extra giggle or insight.
      Thank you for being here now. This space feels like that safe little corner of the room with friends at a wake.

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    3. Thank you so much. That is really a wonderful thing to say and I appreciate it!

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  32. thank you for this stephen. she was one in a zillion. v v few people can touch people the way she did with her honesty and genius writing style. you have that same gift. xo

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    1. Thank you so much Janet! I'm so glad you introduced me to her blog! I remember staying up all night reading her archives after you shared her with us!

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  33. Thank you for this post. We all loved Ellie, who touched our hearts in so many ways, and will miss her sweet spirit and pithy humor. Now Stephen Andrew, I hope you pick up th baton and give us more frequent posts from your unique point of view. The world needs more Ellies and Stephen Andrews.

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    1. Thank you so much! Haha I don't know how Ellie was so prolific with her blogging and always turned out such great content. Probably because she's Aries and they move much faster than glacial Taurians

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    2. Glacial before climate change that is

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  34. Stephen,this time s the worse part of blogs. The friendships you form are real therefor the loss is just as painful as if it was a close friend or family member. If not for Ellie and her blog I never would have found you. We all form our little in the cloud community and for that I am grateful. I am very sad I will never know why she wanted to come back or where David will live or how grace will finish school and which housewives I should admire but most of all I will miss her fighting f you spirit. Sad day indeed.

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    1. Oh I know I so wanted to hear what pissed her off so much in France! So glad she spent her last few days in France in her friend Romy's stunning estate and that she left France on good terms

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  35. Like many others, I did not know that Ellie had died until I read this post. Thank you for giving us the comfort of your tribute to Ellie and this place to mourn together. Ellie was truly extraordinary, and, as she knew, so are you. Peace and love, Leslie

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    1. Thank you so much Leslie. I'm so glad that came through. I was worried when I wrote it that it would come off the wrong way

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  36. I found out on Instagram this morning that she died yesterday, but I came here for the tribute I knew you would do, Stephen. You two had such great repartee on her blog, we all enjoyed that. When the death of imaginary friends affect us so, you know that person was extraordinary! Pretty sure she would count on you to do another amazing job on your Thanksgiving post. Something for us to look forward to! But sad today.

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    1. Thank you so much. I don't think anyone could ever write a blog better than she did. It seems she had a bottomless well of talent. Yep I'm starting thanksgiving even earlier this year

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  37. Thank you for this lovely tribute. Beautifully written.

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  38. I won't be very poetic and simply say - it sucks. But the flip side beauty is that sometimes you don't have to meet people necessarily for them to have an effect on oneself. You have expressed this dynamic perfectly. Great thing is the blog can be a place to revisit her as such and suspect many will do so.

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    1. It absolutely sucks! Thank you so much. I know, I was worried she might shutter the blog. I'm so glad it stands.

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  39. Funny,how sad i am now for a woman i never met...
    I really hope Gracie was back in time from Paris..

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    1. I know it's such an odd feeling isn't it?

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  40. It is odd the way the world works ... I read the news about Ellie, was sad, and then thought "I hope Stephen is doing alright." It is nice to have this small connection to people around the globe that we will likely never meet, but should the opportunity ever arise, I would be absolutely delighted.

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    1. Stephen thank you...I loved reading Ellie's blog and your comments were spot on. I hope to buy a new piece of blue and white porcelain and donate to ALS in her memory.
      Will really miss her even though we never met.
      Take care.

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    2. T, thank you so much. If I recall correctly we have emailed once and you're on the way to one of my favorite places!
      Hostess, that is an excellent idea! Making both your home and the world a little more beautiful is a wonderful way to remember Ellie.

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  41. So sad to hear this. Like everyone else, although I didn't meet her in person I considered her a friend. Rest in peace, Ellie, and thank you, Stephen, for such a lovely tribute to her.

    Wendy A

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    1. There is a comment on Heather's post from Ellie's friend Adrienne that Ellie said she was ready to begin her new work and I love that. Thank you!

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  42. Stephen, it is wonderful of you to answer everyone who wrote in response to your beautiful tribute to Ellie. That is very impressive. Thank you.

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    1. Haha I don't know how one cannot answer comments on their own blog! It's sort of like having a party and then watching tv once they arrive! I think the comments are the best part of a blog.

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  43. Stephen, thank you for this. I always loved your comments on Ellie's blog.

    I was devastated and shocked to learn of Ellie's passing from Hostess of the Humble Bungalow's Instagram. I'm not even clear on how the news spread.

    I was sure she would have more time.

    I learned about it today, on the same day I reconciled with my dad who's in the hospital right now. Between these two emotional events, I'm lying in bed and good for nothing right now.

    I haven't even begun to process it all yet, or to unpack the lessons Ellie taught.

    I'm not going to say "RIP Ellie" because I know she is now flying around like crazy. The bird with a broken wing is finally soaring.

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    1. Oh wow you really do have a lot on your emotional plate. Fill the rest up with carbs! What a wonderful thing to reconcile. Couldn't agree with you more. There's no way she's holding still. If she wouldn't let paralysis hold her down I don't think death can either

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  44. Stephen, Thanks for your lovely post and replying to all the Ellie fans. I learned of her passing on Yolanda's Instagram and was devastated. I too felt she had the power to keep on ticking. By her last words, it seems she had every intention of sharing many more posts with us.

    There's something very special and comforting in all of us being able to share our thoughts and grief with you and each other. It's an unusual forum for sure but we all know it works for us and we all know our love for Ellie was very real indeed.

    I wonder if you would be able to send this page to Yolanda and Jenny...I think it may comfort them to read all the beautiful thoughts we have about our dear Ellie. My heart is breaking for for David and Grace too.

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    1. I saw Yolanda's post and it is just lovely! I'm so glad Ellie made it home. Thank you so much. I thought about that too but worried it might seem as if I was trying to promote my blog or suggest I was experiencing a loss at their level and just didn't want to seem exploitive in any way. I figure they might find it someday when they need it. I like that this little tribute can stand in tact for what it is rather than be a passing note in an archive. I have my blog set up to only display one post per page (because usually they're so damn long) but the nice thing is that each page holds its own time and mood.

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    2. Those are valid thoughts Stephen; I like your idea that this tribute can stand alone. I will say too though that if they see this page some day it will warm their hearts. And you can be sure Ellie spoke fondly about you to her closest friends; they would only think very highly of you!

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  46. Stephen after reading your post and Heather's and reading all the comments and your replies, I am convinced that Ellie's ultimate impact on us, her imaginary friends, will have been to make us better people. We will never forget her. Thank you for expressing so much of what we all are feeling.

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    1. That's so true isn't it? I love seeing the comments and how she impacted us in so many different and similar ways.

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  47. I too am an imaginary friend and now one of yours. So sad. Feel like I lost a sister. And if she passed away on August 31 that is the anniversary if Princess Diana's death. Both way too young.

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    1. Thank you so much. It was Wednesday. You're absolutely right. My heart is so broken for Gracie. To lose her mother when they are both so young

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  48. Is it wrong that I feel cheated by not getting to read her last planned blog posts? I could never get enough of Ellie. She was a unique voice. Best wishes to you Stephen,and to all her family and friends, real and imaginary.

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    1. I know! I so wanted to know what pushed her over the edge with France. Or was it just the siren song of Taco Bell? I'll miss her writing forever. Thank you!

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    2. Me too!!! I was so waiting for that post. I know she would have made it hilarious in her own way.

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  49. I did not know until I read your headline "Ellie" and my heart just sank. I was afraid to read on, but your lovely tribute eased the overwhelming sorrow I felt for my imaginary friend. I found you, dear Stephen Andrew, through HSD and loved your snark and style and wanted you to be my imaginary friend, too. In a way, I'm glad I found out about Ellie's passing from someone as sensitive as you. I did cry and continued to weep as I read all the lovely comments and your sincere replies.
    I had to pause and gather myself for a 'quick' grocery run for essentials we might need if Hermine decides to visit us overnight. (What a zoo!) It did give me time - too much time - to process the news and what I wanted to write.
    I do believe that Ellie is soaring up high, laughing and giggling that she is now so free. Aren't we also supposed to be twirling with arms outstretched? I'll do that tonight - even in the midst of a hurricane!
    Thank you, SAJ, and a virtual hug for you, dear one.
    Joanne

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    1. That is so lovely of you to say. Thank you so much. I found out in the grocery store yesterday and sort of stood frozen in shock in front of the spices. I completely forgot what I was looking for and then sort of recalibrated and told myself I just needed to get out of the grocery before I lost it. So then I picked up pickles and there were like some dumbass "zesty sweet kosher pepper pickles" and I said aloud "WHAT THE FUCK ARE THESE?" Hahaha I mean really I don't know what the fuck they were but my reaction might have been a little much for pickle confusion.
      Good luck in the storm! I saw even Hilton Head is supposed to get 3-5 inches of rain. I have a weird weather obsession so I'll be watching all the updates!

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  50. Stephen, thank you for this post. I always love your writing and your interactions on Ellie's blog.

    I am really sad to learn of Ellie's passing. Like many others I was hopeful that she would have some time in California.
    She is very special.
    Suz from Vancouver

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    1. Thank you! I know I'm starting to feel happier for her though. I am so comforted by knowing she's really really free. And think of all the things she crossed off her list.

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  51. Yes, you are the bearer of sad news today but I appreciate hearing it from you...it softens the blow a little. I had so much I wanted to say to her in response to her last post but my constant edits and deletes produced no reply and now I'm left with that Truth she embodied, "Time and Tide Wait for No Man".

    Dear Sweet Ellie, you’ve left the world a better place and “I thank you from the bottom of my itty bitty, teeny tiny cold-blooded heart” ;) – Love U forever XOX

    P.S. Stephen I don’t know what name-brand cig she liked...fancy French or white-trash American...but whatever it was, let’s just call it a Decret Cigarette in her honor– Lord knows she had every reason in the world to light up!

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    1. Decret Cigarette! How brilliant! I am mad at myself for not mailing her the Christmas card I found for her earlier. I should have just sent it. It is a gorgeous 1930s Art Deco postcard on a black background with the three wise men on camels headed to the star of Bethlehem. I knew it was for her right away due to her recent post title "embracing my inner Bedouin". The style is so her. although my last communication with Ellie was so lovely and perfect that I must feel good about that.

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    2. I know we're supposed to live without regrets but I'm sitting here staring at the card I special ordered for her but never sent to Paris. It’s titled "Amazing Grace". Chickadees sitting on a scale of musical notes with each verse of AG written out, and a tiny dangling gift tied in a bow, that’s supposed to represent the grace of God. I know she would have loved it, it's one of her favorite songs.

      Stephen your card sounds pretty perfect - She'd love it! Let's hold every good feeling in our hearts - Love travels!

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    3. Oh that sounds so lovely! yes I think we should all spin for her on Christmas Eve again

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    4. We spun (Is that the correct past tense for spin? Sounds funny.) Christmas Eve in Raymond! It was fun for Ellie, especially spinning with champagne! Let's not forget to spin again. Or spin right now in her memory!

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  52. I'm so sad..I somehow thought that by getting to santa barbara she would get stronger. Her last blog said how she had so much more to tell us..I'm so sad to think that Gracie had just gone to school the day before. I want to read an official obituary to make it more real,but I can find nothing. I really believe there will be another blog posting that she planned to be published after she was gone. It would be like her. The last time I wrote her I told her how each day when I walked my dogs I would whisper 'this is in honor of ellie'..knowing what a simple walk would mean to her 'and I would say a prayer for her complete healing. I told her I will always do that. It seems she now has that complete healing. Nancy in Texas

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    1. That is lovely! You bring up a great point about Ellie's exceptional ability to inspire us to appreciate life's pleasures-from the most simple to the most elaborate.

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  53. Dear Stephen, I just found out about Ellie's death. Of all the "imaginary", but not imaginary friends- you were the strongest and most sympatico personality with her. You two were definitely kindred spirits and she will always be with you. She has been delivered from terrible pain, but left behind so many that loved her dearly. We will miss her voice. Warmest wishes, Mimi

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    1. Thank you so much, Mimi! Ellie told me that she and her sister thought I was their long lost sibling. It was always breathtaking to me reading her words because I felt like I was reading my own thoughts. The first post I ever read was her post about her disastrous Christmas tree of 2014 and I was just stunned as I have all those feelings about my trees every year too.

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  54. Hello Stephen,

    Thank you for expressing what I can't find words for. What a huge loss - it is difficult for me to believe we won't hear her words again. I am so thankful for what she shared with us already and I am better for having known her and it doesn't feel imaginary to me. You brought her laughter, I am quite sure of that - as you have for all of us. Your perspective is unique and so welcome. Columbus is one of my fav cities and I feel even better knowing you are there.

    I wish her peace and my thoughts are with David and Gracie and the rest of us who loved her. I can't imagine the loss they are feeling. As a friend of mine wrote me when I suffered a huge loss, "What prescriptions are there for a fractured spirit?"

    She was a gift to me, a warrior for sure.

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    1. Thank you so much, Kathy. It is a huge loss indeed. I was listening to Andy Cohen's radio channel this morning and on one of the shows they mentioned Ellie's passing in relation to Yolanda Hadid of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. What a strange feeling that was. I'm not sure I've completely accepted it as being real as even just this morning I thought about sending her a photo of a hideous purple front door I saw. My heart is so broken for her family. They've all been through so much. I feel like I just want to feed them!

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  55. So, so sad. She was a force of nature and will be missed by so many. I'm thankful she did make it home; I;m sure that brought her great peace.
    I am also heartbroken that no one in France has adopted poor Teddy, who now has the name "Bidule" at the French shelter. http://www.spa-desbauxdeprovence.com/les-chiens/
    .... heartbroken.
    joan

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    1. I'm so thankful she made it home, too.
      I know. I just hate it that it played out that way with Teddy. I think had Ellie thought there was even the slightest chance that she would be returning to the states she would have brought him here knowing dozens of us would have adopted him. Unfortunately it was such a crisis between Ellie's sudden need for palliative care and David's mother's injury. Such a tragic turn of events. There were many of us in the US and Canada who could have given him a loving home.

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    2. French to English Translation via an Internet Translation Site: "Adopted during some time, this nice dog has no chance. Following a great misfortune in his family of adoption, this poor Bidule is to be found in the "Starting box". It is a love of dog that does not merit this situation."

      I noticed that the shelter has Teddie's photo at the header on top!

      It's tragic, but Ellie tried to give him a home with her mother-in-law. Unfortunately after he jumped on her and hurt her, it didn't work.

      Perhaps Ellie can help him from the other side. <3

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  56. Thank you Stephen for posting. Ever since I started reading Ellie's blog I would check it everyday for a new entry. They were like candy!
    If it weren't for Ellie--I would never know how to properly set a Thanksgiving table
    If it weren't for Ellie--I would never know the proper way to tinsel a tree
    If it weren't for Ellie--I would never know that gas stations in France have pretty good food
    If it weren't for Ellie I would never know a lot of things I could go on but most of all I would have never met her friends the other bloggers that I love to read--You, Vintage HenHouse Contessa wait THE vintage CONTESSA-THERE I put some CAPS in that, Heather, The Gardners Cottage and more.
    Rest in Peace Ellie, your suffering is over thank you for the laughs..

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    1. She really was an exceptional teacher! I remember also being completely surprised that French gas stations have good food! Haha I would never eat at an American gas station!

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  57. I want to share a poem I wrote for Ellie a few short months ago that she said gave her strength during a difficult week. My intention is that it does the same for all who loved her and felt enraptured by her tremendously brave, beautiful and irreplaceable soul that she shared so generously. She is always with us. What a gift she was…Godspeed and Bon Courage, angel Ellie...

    Bon courage

    My hands are frail,
    My limbs are numb,
    Oh, God, I’m coming undone

    Have courage, he said
    I’m here, my dear
    Have courage

    But where? she said,
    As she cried and cried
    Through her bloodstained eyes

    I still have my mind,
    Yet you’re hard to find
    I thought you were with me all of the time

    Have courage, he said
    I’m here, my dear
    Have courage

    But how can a God take my body away
    Why can’t I live on this earth and stay?
    Why did you leave me and go astray?

    It is not I who left,
    I have been here all along
    You are the creator of your unwritten songs

    In the blink of an eye
    A light turned on
    And the brave one started to sing her songs

    In her trials she endured
    She found her greatest strength,
    Were the bonds of love that never break

    It was that love that gave her wings
    To continue still to follow her dreams
    For others to catch like little light beams

    I see you now, God, I see you clear as the day

    But it was in my darkest night
    I saw the stars and I prayed

    Have courage, I said
    I’m here, my dear
    Have courage

    She held on,
    For the sake of her loved ones near
    In the city of lights, banishing all her fear

    It wasn’t long before the world caught on
    To the brave one’s light
    And her will to fight with all her might

    You can’t leave us, they said
    As they cried and cried in the dead of the night
    We all need you here to tell us what’s right

    Have courage, she said
    I’m here, my dears
    Have courage

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    1. So so lovely! Thank you so much for posting it here!

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    2. Thank you so much for this poem, Lindsay. It made me sob. Such a beautiful tribute.

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    3. Dear Lindsay...this is Beautiful. We are all brought together because of this remarkable women. We all have that common bond. Words are powerful. I adored following Ellie. I appreciate your words. And Stephen's tribute. I d I did find this blog comforting because of ALL of you. Thank you

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  58. Oh my goodness. How perfectly beautiful. I thought I was finished crying. SAJ , you, La Contessa and heather of Lost In Arles will hopefully find a way to hold this family of Ellie's "imaginary" friends connected.

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  59. Such wonderful, insightful comments. She is so loved. Please publish your email address, so I may contact you. Bless you.

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  60. You don't know me Stephen but I have enjoyed your witty repartee with Ellie. I am sorry you had to find out on the radio. I thought I was past tears until I read this post and the lovely poem. I hope we will still be able to buy Ellie's books. I really need to know about how to do a proper Thanksgiving dinner. I started writing emails to her. Many times I thought maybe she was a captive of them as opposed to being captivated and then she'd drop me a message saying she'd loved the emails.

    It is unbelievable how many people's lives she touched! On the day she twirled to another dimension, and became a kick-ass angel, I had a horrible feeling and thought I'd better email. I did my usual and tried to describe what was up here but felt very unsettled. I am glad that the Bedouin was not her last post and more so that she made it home. I sstill wonder what she was going to tell us about France. I think the idea of something for Gracie is lovely! Bon courage!

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    1. Hello! Thank you so much. Luckily I didn't find out on the radio. Heather sent me an email Wednesday morning and of course she was gentle and eloquent. Then I heard them talking about Ellie on a Radio Andy show yesterday. What a weird feeling that was. They didn't "want to go into it because it's too sad". I get it that it's a stupid radio show centering around the Real Housewives but I was tempted to call in and read passages from her books and blog. i know, I wonder if something in particular pushed her feelings for France over the edge or if she just knew it was time to come home.

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    2. My gut reaction is that she knew it was time to come home. Of course she would have put quite the spin on it and would have had us all chuckling....

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  61. I would love to send flowers to her service, if I could find out hone and where. I think we could fill the church with blooms. I miss her already but rejoice in her freedom and hope she is at Taco Bell eating those burritos! -Diane

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    1. I will let you know if I hear anything. I saw on Elizabeth's blog that they have had one ceremony at the beach. I'm not sure if there will be another more formal one too. I think you're absolutely right! I keep watching birds and thinking about what a delight it is that Ellie is totally free!

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    2. I was TOLD OCTOBER......when GRACIE comes home from SCHOOL.NO DATES YET!Will let YOU know!
      XX

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    3. Would love to know where and when La Contessa. I want to send flowers. I miss Ellie so much. Even though I never met her, I feel like I have lost a best friend. The day she died tears rained down all over the world. Stephen.. beautiful post.

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    4. Thank you! I will keep you posted if I hear anything

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  62. I wrote to her that maybe the evil system wanted to capture her and put her in palliative care and asked whether she was on the lam? I do think though that she knew it was time to come home. I am so glad Heather sent you a gentle email. I found out on Yolanda's IG. I wish I'd said more meaningful things to her that last day but in writing didn't want to distress her. But I had a terrible foreboding. She already had one worried email from me when she said she was flying home (which she replied to as "don't worry. It's all arranged". I wonder who was on the plane with her – she wrote it was the same people as in the last chapter of her book. We had so much in common! It's hard to get over that empty feeling. Hard to believe –– and easy at the same time –– that an "imaginary friend" (or should that be "imaginative friend"?) could mean so much to so many. She certainly made the most and best of life! Cheers to Ellie, and a twirl!

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    1. I know what you mean. I think we're all so sad for ourselves and her family and yet buoyed by the idea that she's more free than ever. It's a complicated feeling.

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  63. Anon at 3:06, feel free to email me about that. Thanks

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  64. I have been sitting here trying to think what I can do to support Ellie's memory. So I made a donation to her favorite ALS researcher, Dr. Paul Alan Cox at the Institute for EthnoMedicine in Wyoming. If anyone has any other ideas for showing support, please post them. -Diane

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    1. Thank you. The site lets you designate that the donation is in memory of someone specific.

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    2. I had just been thinking similarly. I think it's a great idea.

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  65. Has the video documentary about ALS starring Ellie been released yet? Did I miss it?

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    1. It's called Hunt for the Hidden Killer and it's by Scandinature Films. I can't find a release date but they did run a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to complete the film. I read that the premiere would be in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, as that is the location of the Dr Cox's research lab. I can't find any indication that it's been shown/released yet.

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  66. You said it so well. After reading and re-reading her blog, I felt as if she were my BFF. She was a magical person who gave us all a good lesson in how to be a bon vivant no matter what.

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  67. I wrote to the film maker and they are making some revisions to the documentary after the first premiere showing in Jackson Hole. He's hoping it will be shown in a world premiere film festival sometime in November if it's ready. He said to check progress on Facebook

    https://www.facebook.com/hiddenkillerfilm/

    I'm very much looking forward to this film and am sad Ellie doesn't get to see the final product. I know she believed in Dr. Alan Cox's research so much.

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    1. Thank you so much for looking into this!

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  68. Ellie's friend Deb has shared an address where we may send cards. No flowers because no one is there throughout the day to receive them.
    Ellie O'Connell Decret
    68 Eucalyptus Lane
    Montecito, California 93108
    Thank you Deb!
    She also said she will keep us updated about any upcoming memorial service.

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    1. Eloquent Stephen! I cried...thank you! She loved getting to know you and looked forward to your comments on her blog. You brought a little bit of sunshine to her everyday. The moment a date is set for the memorial I will share the details. xoxo

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    2. Thank you so much! I so appreciate you saying that! Hope you are doing okay.
      Or at very least that the sour gummy worms and boxed wine is plentiful :)

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  69. I just found out dear Ellie lost her battle. So weird. The other night I could not sleep and I pulled out her book "and so it is" and pretty much read - again - from cover to cover. I, too, considered her a dear friend. Thank you for keeping us all informed. So strange, I have such a feeling of loss for someone I never met. Blessings to you sweet, dear Ellie. Thank you so for showing so many of us how to truly live. I treasure my piece I bought from your shop. My deepest sympathy to Gracie and David. Barbara

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    1. I'm so glad you have something from her sales! You know what I was thinking would be lovey is to see where we all keep Ellie in our homes. Just a little vignette shot. That really would be better suited for Instagram I suppose. I actually had a very weird feeling all day Tuesday. I was sort of trying to snap myself out of it by doing things that calm me like polishing silver and gardening but I couldn't shake it. I figured it was just because I wanted carbs

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    2. I was thinking maybe we should do a montage of photos of Ellie and Ellie-related photos for Gracie.

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    3. I, too, had a sense of foreboding last Tuesday and wrote to Ellie about an hour, as it happens, before she passed. As far as where we all keep Ellie in our homes, I have a brick bordered patio where there is going to be "Ellie's corner" as a potager.

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  70. It's hard to verbalize, I agree. Not usually something I struggle with. I felt like maybe this post should be longer but I wanted for it to open into discussion and I'm so glad it did.

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    1. You have a magical way of bringing people together through conversation. You will keep Ellie's legacy going that way and I think that thought would make her very happy indeed. :)

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  71. I'm so glad you did Stephen. Thank you! I re-read much of her blog and read her book over the long weekend. I tried to explain my grieving funk to my husband, but how could he possibly understand? On a lighter note, how prophetic of you to have posted a blog titled The World Needs Cookies right before this one? Cookies would hit the spot today...

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    1. Oh I highly suggest you make the cookies! They are so good. Thank you so much. It's such a weird thing to find yourself explaining, isn't it? But I'm finding myself so much wanting people to know about Ellie and know about ALS and care like we all do. I found an ALS walk for the cure type of deal but that doesn't seem right for Ellie. I want a glamorous gala. We might just need to have our own.

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    2. A glamorous gala?! Yes! What a wonderful tribute that would be & great way for all of us to connect in person. Is it weird that I don't want to lose my Ellie-connected group & hope we can keep her,memory alive? How could we raise money for ALS at our gala? Tickets + auction? Or, I know...a talent show! :-) The menu would have to include Frito Pies, Taco Bell burritos or one of Ellie's other favorite foods. We would dance and twirl the night away in her honor...

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  72. I was lucky enough to purchase the group of five antique and vintage artist palettes from one of her sales. They are framed and hanging in my study. Diane

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    1. I remember those! I loved those! You know I never got anything from the shop. The stuff I always wanted sold like nanoseconds after the shop opened. It always threw me for a loop that the shop opened at 10AM PST. It was hard for us ESTers to get to the shop right at 1PM! I'm so glad I have her books though. I'm sure your study looks beautiful! Dani ended up buying the stuff I wanted most. Except the Monet plates from the November sale. I wonder who got those.

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  73. Stephen, when I first read of Ellie's death, after her family I immediately thought of you. I so wished I lived in your neighborhood so I could swan over with a bottle of champagne and cry with you. It's only been the past year or so that I became familiar with Ellie, I gushingly sent her a fan email and she responded in kind, gracious to welcome me. I was gratified to read your post.

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    1. Oh I love anyone who swans anywhere, especially with champagne. There have been many toasts in her honor. I think Ellie welcomed almost every one of her readers personally. An amazing feat considering she had 35k subscribers. Thank you so much.

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    2. C'est moi qui vous remercie!

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  74. Your sweet and succinct thoughts above sum up all of our connection with Ellie. Whether we knew her well and communicated on a regular basis or just laughed and cried while reading her blog, there was always that sense of connection. You understood her, and she in turn understood you, despite the divide of cyberspace. I get the sense that we are now all searching for pieces of Ellie online. One by one, her real and imaginary friends alike are surfacing, vocalizing their memories, admiration and sorrow. Thank you for own words. I miss her terribly, and although I never met her in person, I will always consider Eleanor O'Connell Decret a friend of mine.

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    1. Thank you so much! I think you're exactly right. Its so lovely to read how many people she touched and inspired and really made their lives better. What a spectacular legacy!

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  75. I returned home from vacation to hear the news. Even though I never knew her outside of her blog, she leaves a big void. xo

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    1. Oh I hope you had a nice vacation! It's always hard to get out of vacation mode but harder still to be jolted out with sad news.

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  76. That was so beautiful. She was an amazing person and affected us all.

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  77. Get on over to Ellie's blog. Ellie's Amazing Grace posted something new.

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    1. Thank you so so much for this comment earlier. I didn't know about it until I saw your comment!

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  78. Of course. I just decided to check the blog wishing she was back and saw the new post. I was totally surprised and knew that others would be too. Since your blog seems to be a conduit to all things Ellie, I figured this was the best place to post about it. Diane

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  79. SAJ dear ~ I was thinking that we, her
    imaginary Friends, would have gladly
    volunteered to give up a year or more of our lives to add to Ellie's, so strong had our kinship become. So, in
    that regard, we could contribute a few dollars each in tribute to her indomitable spirit to Dr. Cox's effort for a cure ..considering our number,
    the impact could be worthy. Most of us
    have been transformed for having known her and in gratitude, we can make a difference in her honor....

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  80. Its really great that you made this post so that for people like me who have never heard of Ellie, we can look her up and read about her life. Thank you

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    1. Thank you so much! You will (or already have) enjoy reading her blog so much.

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  81. Thank you for this tribute I can always count on you for a laugh or to shed a tear, I did both cheers to Ellie.

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  82. I was in LA two weeks ago and went to The Ivy in her honor. I would have tried to find her house in Montecito, but my husband would have shot me. Hard to let go of someone you never met, but admired so much. I thought you would understand.

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  83. One of many things about our imaginary friend, Ellie, she always left one wanting more and so it is in her passing. Thankful her blog still exists for reference in time of quandary ... and after reading your comments it seems I must refer back and ensure I'm not in violation of the rules of blue and white. Thank you, Stephen, for your lovely words. I feel especially blessed to have discovered your blog too. Through our imaginary friend Ellie. May she rest peacefully while watching over her beloved Gracie. xo

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