rtha in hospice November 8, 2018 11:21 AM   Subscribe

I wanted to let folks know that long-time MeFite rtha, who was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer earlier this year, has ceased chemotherapy treatment and moved to in-home hospice care to focus on comfort and quality of life, and to ask you to come share well-wishes with her and her spouse gingerbeer. [Addendum: rtha passed away on the 10th. —c]

rtha was having some sudden acute health issues this spring; in the process of trying to sort out what was causing it all, she was diagnosed with stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer. She's gone through chemo and radiation to control the cancer and extend survival but the cancer is not considered curable at this point and the side effects from the chemo and radiation have outstripped the benefits from them.

So, hospice care and focusing on her being as comfortable as she can be in what time is left, which is one of those difficult hazy timelines that nobody knows what to do with. But she's with us right now, and she and gingerbeer are reading this. rtha is reading Metafilter daily. So if you'd like to share best wishes, photos of birds that need identifying, cute cat photos and gifs, good MeFi or San Francisco or etc. stories, or whatever other hoppitamoppita is close to hand, come on in and sit for a spell.

You can find more information about rtha’s diagnosis and everything else (including cat photos) at this link, and if you’ve got that feeling of “what can I do” see here.

gingerbeer also suggests making a contribution to Metafilter in rtha's honor.
posted by cortex to MetaFilter-Related at 11:21 AM (523 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

rtha, you are the very best. Cats know it, hawks know it, mefites know it. So much love to you both.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:30 AM on November 8 [84 favorites]


So many hugs.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:31 AM on November 8 [3 favorites]


Oh my gosh. I'm so sorry to hear this. rtha, I'll see if I can get any cool pics of birds in our neighborhood, I think we got a vulture? It's big. It's big and it has a beak if you can do anything with that description
posted by Greg Nog at 11:31 AM on November 8 [8 favorites]


💛💛💛
posted by griphus at 11:32 AM on November 8 [2 favorites]


<3
posted by tofu_crouton at 11:35 AM on November 8


I was so sorry to hear this, and I think of you every time the kids and I go hawk-spotting! (Well, hawk-and-turkey-vulture-spotting.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 11:35 AM on November 8 [3 favorites]


Massive hugs and love to rtha and gingerbeer.
posted by yoga at 11:35 AM on November 8 [5 favorites]


I don't know you beyond whatever interactions we've had here but ever since I first read what your name meant I have thought about you every single time I see a red tailed hawk, which fortunately is pretty often in my neighborhood. I will continue to think of you when I see them.

So, without even trying you've managed to touch an internet stranger in some small way. Best to you and gingerbeer.

Greg Nog, red tailed hawks are pretty big and have beaks so I bet that's what you saw.
posted by bondcliff at 11:36 AM on November 8 [15 favorites]


There have been a bunch of red tailed hawk sightings here in Portland, Me recently - probably feasting on the oh-so-much-larger-than-usual squirrel population. Here's a photo of one that has been all over local news today.

rtha, I wish for peaceful, beautiful days for you.
posted by anastasiav at 11:41 AM on November 8 [6 favorites]


I don't know rtha personally but I've always enjoyed her contributions here and what she brings to the community. Sending lots of love to both of you, gingerbeer and rtha.
posted by capricorn at 11:42 AM on November 8 [5 favorites]


This is sad and I'm sorry to hear it. Very best wishes to both of you.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 11:43 AM on November 8 [3 favorites]


rtha, every time I’ve seen your user name I’ve smiled and thought “red tailed hawk! I see you fellow birder!”

Thank you for being here, you’ve helped make it a wonderful place
posted by lepus at 11:52 AM on November 8 [1 favorite]


My heart and my thoughts are with you rtha. <3
posted by Fizz at 11:53 AM on November 8 [1 favorite]


hugs
posted by mrbill at 11:53 AM on November 8 [3 favorites]


Lots of love to you both.
posted by gt2 at 11:53 AM on November 8


Oh no - this is terrible, awful news. Best to you rtha if you see this. And so much respect. I hope you can have as long and as pain-free a time as is possible.
posted by Mchelly at 11:53 AM on November 8 [1 favorite]


I'm very sorry to hear this. Sending love, rtha and gingerbeer.
posted by EvaDestruction at 11:54 AM on November 8


I'm so sorry. Love and comfort to you both.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:55 AM on November 8


Just so we don't overload rtha with bird ID questions I've prepared a flowchart to handle the most common cases.
posted by contraption at 11:56 AM on November 8 [38 favorites]


Hugs and tears and raptors and love to you both.
posted by lazuli at 11:56 AM on November 8 [2 favorites]


I'm so sorry and sad to hear this. You don't know me but I have always appreciated your posts. To me they exemplify what makes this place so great. I hope that things go as well for you as they can in this scenario. Wishing you and your family peace and good times together.
posted by randomnity at 11:57 AM on November 8 [2 favorites]


I'm so sorry to hear this. rtha's comments are always a great read.

Warm wishes to you both in the form of these pictures of our cat chasing his tail.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:58 AM on November 8 [6 favorites]


Rtha- where ever i see your name on this site, i read very, very carefully, as I know there will be something for me to learn there. We will never meet, but i'd have liked to. Thank you for making this internet-stranger a bit smarter and certainly a bit kinder. Love, gratitude and best wishes to you.
Gingerbeer- I've loved you since i first read your name (my fave drink) and then I worked out your connection to Rtha. And I thought if I ever made it to SF i'd like to meet you both and see first hand what I perceive to be a role model relationship for this fellow queer. You and Rtha will continue to be in my thoughts and I promise to practice what I have learnt from you both.
posted by MT at 11:58 AM on November 8 [45 favorites]


Endless <3 <3 <3 for you both.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:59 AM on November 8 [1 favorite]


Oh my God, no. This timeline is so not ok. So many hugs gingerbeer and rtha. You are the best people. Your home was so lovely to visit, and those meetups and beautiful back yard barbecues are some of my favorite memories and perhaps most civilized moments. And the best cats and neighbors!

Hey, I want to share because I live somewhere filled with raptors and so many RTHAs I think of both of you very often.

And I just heard an RTHA just now. I was hoping for that. It even sounds like it just caught something, too, up in the cedar grove.

The other day when I was hiking to the bus stop I unknowingly sneaked up on the biggest, fattest owl I've ever personally seen, and I didn't even know it was there until it silently took flight from a few feet away and startled me silly, like 5 foot wide stealth bomber, or even just a cloud of feathers, deftly swooping through thickets of narrowly spaced alders and canes to find a quieter place. It was so invisible sitting there my brain interpreted it as the whole mossy stump suddenly lurching sideways before I could even register it as an owl.

So many hugs.
posted by loquacious at 12:01 PM on November 8 [26 favorites]


Rtha you're one of the very first people I added as a contact when I finally signed up to the site. I did this because I felt you always had something interesting, thoughtful and humane to say.

My love to you both.
posted by smoke at 12:08 PM on November 8


rtha, when I see your name on a post or a comment I always know it's going to be smart, trustworthy and interesting. Sending lots of hugs and gratitude to you.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 12:09 PM on November 8 [5 favorites]


Rtha, gingerbeer, wishing you peace and light and sending lots of love. Here’s a pic of a little cousin doing the same (observe hands).
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 12:11 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


I'm so sorry to hear this. rtha's name has always been attached to thoughtful comments in my experience. Strength and peace to all of you.
posted by suelac at 12:15 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


rtha, I always slow down and read more carefully when I see your comments. I somehow never realized rtha stood for red-tailed hawk, but now I'll never fail to think of you when I see or hear one.

Peace and light to the two of you and those close to you.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:17 PM on November 8 [5 favorites]


rtha, gingerbeer, I’m so sorry to hear this. You both were so friendly when I visited SF, and you put on a great meetup. It was the total high point of my trip. Your comments are so spot on; I always love seeing you in a thread. You have all my good will, for what it’s worth.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:17 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


I'm so sorry. I hope this is a peaceful and gentle as it can be.

I met rtha at a meet-up in Boston and thought she was great and added her as a contact and since then I keep seeing pointers to her comments and posts and they are uniformly awesome and she keeps saying things more eloquently than I can from my similar left-wing queer middle aged woman point of view.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:18 PM on November 8 [5 favorites]


I forgot to mention, I extolled rtha's virtues when talking to a birder friend of mine and explained I knew someone whose username was rtha. I may yet go birding.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:23 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


Oh no. Rtha's name has always been a joy to see on here.

Hugs and love to you both.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:24 PM on November 8


You know I love you all on this web site, but rtha is literally one of the best MeFites there are. If you read an insightful, empathetic, well-thought-out comment on here there is a very good chance the username in the byline is rtha.

I'm so sorry to hear this, and I hope both of you and all of your loved ones have all the strength and peace you need in these tough times. rtha, know that you had a friend in me, even if we never met, and I wish you safe travels.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:33 PM on November 8 [16 favorites]


rtha, you've long been a favorite thoughtful and compassionate voice here; thank you. May you be comfortable. May you feel loved. Because you are.
posted by MonkeyToes at 12:34 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


I'm very glad to have had the opportunity to meet you both, and I'm so sorry to hear this. Fare as well as possible!
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:35 PM on November 8


rtha--I think of you and gingerbeer daily. Thank you for being so amazingly awesome. Thank you for the light that you have shone* into my life over the years. Thank you for your friendship. I would say Tiny (cat) sends her love and some head butts, but let's be real. She's too focused on screaming at me for food (or something?) to think of others. So I'll send my own love instead. xo

*shined? you're the editor, you tell me.
posted by Stewriffic at 12:35 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]


Rtha is one of the very best Mefites, and that's saying a lot, because most Mefites are pretty great. I hope you're comfortable and surrounded by love, Rtha. I hope you know how much better Metafilter is because you've been here.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:41 PM on November 8 [7 favorites]


This is unexpected and horrible news.

rtha, and gingerbeer too, please consider yourselves gently hugged from afar, if that's a thing that sounds like something you'd want. My best wishes are winging their way across the ocean, straight to you. So many people all around the world are holding you in their thoughts, and appreciating you for being smart, toughtful and kind.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:41 PM on November 8 [6 favorites]


To quote John Cage, "I have nothing to say and I am saying it." The absence of appropriate words here is a thing. rtha, I am one of the many who will miss your presence but appreciate seeing where its tracks remain all around the site.

You are both in my thoughts.
posted by St. Hubbins at 12:42 PM on November 8 [6 favorites]


Aw this is some hot bullshit. rtha, every time I've gotten the chance to chat with you it's been a pleasure. Still never made it to a meetup (damn) but besides just loving sharing a lovely city in common with you two, I just somehow know through reputation or osmosis or stalking IRL threads how kind and friendly and generous you are to our little local MeFi community. Sending love to you both.
posted by sunset in snow country at 12:42 PM on November 8


Oh my god. rtha, you've been one of my touchstones on this community for years. I knew you were going through some rough shit, but I hadn't realized this was where you were at.

I hope you feel loved, because you are; and I hope you feel peaceful and like you have made this community and my experience of it better, because you have.

My thoughts are with you.
posted by sciatrix at 12:43 PM on November 8 [10 favorites]


Before I knew what RTHA actually meant, I read it in my head as an exaggerated NY/NJ accented version of Arthur. "Yo RTHA, jeet?" ("Hello, Arthur. Have you eaten yet?")

I do not have cats to share, but I have dogs and these are my current good boys Ollie (l) and Murphy (always center) in their Halloween finery wishing both of you warmth and comfort and peace.
posted by kimberussell at 12:43 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]


rtha, thanks for sharing so many great comments with us. Like the one about playing war as Walter Cronkite. That one comes to mind every now and then, and it makes me smile every time. Love to you and gingerbeer.
posted by asperity at 12:45 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]


Sending rtha and gingerbeer thoughts of love, peace, and strength.
posted by terrapin at 12:55 PM on November 8


rtha, I have always deeply appreciated your contributions to the dialogue here. You are both in my thoughts.
posted by audi alteram partem at 12:57 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


I am so, so sorry to hear. I have not gone to local meetups and one of they ways I tried to convince my anti-social brain to go was, "I will get to meet rtha and gingerbeer!" But I didn't. I feel I know you from your thoughtful, interesting posts...that will have to do. I wish you a peaceful and pain-free transition. Gingerbeer, my thoughts are with you as well. Virtual hugs to you both.
posted by agatha_magatha at 12:58 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


I remember meeting both of you at Cal Anderson at a Meet Up years ago. Lots of love to you.

And this whole time I thought your user name was "Eartha" like rtha kitt.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:59 PM on November 8 [7 favorites]


rtha-gingerbeer words fail here but I remembered a great call out thread and I saw this:

Ohs noes! You killed the schmoopy!
posted by Kattullus at 2:20 PM on August 7, 2009
(Sure he won't mind this) and you replied;

Kattullus, I actually gave serious thought and consideration to what this callout would do to the schmoopy. But The Schmoopy lives in all our hearts, even if sometimes it has to curl up in a tiny ball and hide for a bit. Who knows. Perhaps The Schmoopy will win out!
posted by rtha at 2:28 PM on August 7, 2009

And this from jess' b-day thread.

May all the schmoopy be with you! Happy birthday!!
posted by rtha at 11:04 AM on September 6, 2018.

Schmoopy...your posts are of the highest caliber and as varied on subject matter as few can do.
Godspeed.
posted by clavdivs at 1:01 PM on November 8 [7 favorites]


All our love. You're the absolute best.
posted by churl at 1:07 PM on November 8


Oh, no. I'm so sad to hear this. rtha, I've always felt a special affinity with you, around birds, around work, around politics; around the many conversations we both end up in. I always look for your comments with interest and attention. My heart goes out to you and gingerbeer, another favorite Mefite. I hope your home is filled with love.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:08 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]


much love and tender thoughts to you both.
posted by bluesky43 at 1:08 PM on November 8


I know myself well enough to not lament that we didn't hang out enough when I lived in the Bay Area, because I never hang out with anyone enough, under any circumstances. But I am glad - profoundly glad - that we did hang out when we could.

Havin a bit of a rough time with the concept of mortality right now, me.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:12 PM on November 8 [9 favorites]


<3 I'm very much used to opening Twitter on my phone now to find so many awful things, and yet this was extremely not the news I was expecting to find. I think rtha was one of the first people my awkward self met at an SF meetup, and a big part of making me feel welcome at some really great occasions (it's hard to rank, or honestly remember, all the booze tastings). Your contributions to the site have always been a delight, and I still appreciate that memail you dropped me from your vacation amid the chaos of Access Hollywood tape day when one of my dumb Hamilton jokes finally landed. Seeing an "rtha had a comment" entry in my contacts sidebar has always meant I was about to read something unexpected, bold, and interesting.

So much love to rtha and gingerbeer.
posted by zachlipton at 1:17 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


rtha - you are one of the old-timers that I was glad to come back to see here. You will both be front and center in my devotions.
posted by jquinby at 1:18 PM on November 8


how do you say "you are awesome, a fact which is well-recognized by us here in this community, and you have our unwavering support" in raptor

oh yeah

[SCREECH]
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:22 PM on November 8 [22 favorites]


Thank you for classing up the joint, both of youse. Here are some pics of the feral kitties I feed:

Spot
Glamorous Spot
Zhuchka
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:24 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


well, fuck. rtha, i think you're one of the first mefites that ever added me as a contact, and every time i've seen your username pop up in my activity sidebar i've smiled and thought to myself, "aw yeah, here comes something good." and i was never wrong. you're pure gold, you and gingerbeer both. (also, it always makes my heart glad when i look at my contacts list and see that you labeled us as kin. we may never have met in person, but i've kind of always thought of you as the cool cousin i wanted to impress.)

sending you and gingerbeer all the good energy i can muster up, and holding you both in my heart.
posted by palomar at 1:28 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


Oof. I'm so, so sorry to hear this. rtha - you voice is one of the ones around here I really enjoy hearing on a bunch of topics, and boy howdy have I learned some interesting facts about birds from your comments along the way.

Love and strength to you and gingerbeer.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:29 PM on November 8


Sad to hear. My best to both of you.
posted by MovableBookLady at 1:30 PM on November 8




Love and strength to you both.
posted by ODiV at 1:33 PM on November 8


Ah, shit. Holding you both in my heart.
posted by stellaluna at 1:34 PM on November 8


That sucks & I'm sad to hear it. Here's wishing you both strength for the struggles on the hard road ahead. By way of cat pictures: my boy Murph as a kitten.
posted by misteraitch at 1:35 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


rtha, is it weird that I think of you as a MetaFilter celebrity? You're just one of those people whose name I've seen pop up over and over through the years. And I think sometimes if someone got here -- or anywhere -- before you, it can seem like that person has just been in that place forever.

Anyway, sending good vibes to you both. May you both get as much out of this life as you can.
posted by veggieboy at 1:37 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]




rtha and gingerbeer, I'm so sorry to hear about this. MeFi has been made so much better by both of your presences over the years - thank you.

I don't have any pictures of the red and black kites that fly around our (zarkonnen's and my) place in Zürich, but here is a heron we saw on our walk to work this morning. Sending many good wishes for you over the internet.
posted by daisyk at 1:49 PM on November 8


I've always really enjoyed reading your contributions to mefi, rtha. Yours is one of very few usernames I immediately recognise and 'know' when seeing it. Much love to you and gingerbeer.
posted by Dysk at 1:50 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]


I am actually crying now.
posted by Dysk at 1:52 PM on November 8 [6 favorites]


Well fuck, that's a miserable pile of utter suck. I'm really sorry, rtha. I've got nothing to say except that I'm really pleased for you that you get to take your gorgeous tattoos with you when you go, and I hope the going is as smooth as it can be.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:53 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


Oh, ....

rtha, you are one of my all-time favorite MeFites. I had no idea.

I don't know what to say except that you are one of the people who make me love this place. Please surround yourself with cats and gingerbeer and other things that make you happy.

I'm so sorry --

Is it weird to tell someone whom I've never met that I love them?

I love you, rtha.
posted by tzikeh at 1:55 PM on November 8 [18 favorites]


Oh, my. I'm so sorry. It was wonderful to meet you both when you came over to London. My very best wishes winging their way to you.
posted by Grangousier at 1:56 PM on November 8


Hugs and all the good thoughts, rtha. I've always enjoyed how you are on MeFi.
posted by salt grass at 1:58 PM on November 8


Oh geez, this sucks. I just moved back to the south bay after many years away and I always thought I'd mosey up to SF for a meetup someday. It seems like there's enough time in the world, until there's not. I will be thinking about you and gingerbeer and hoping for your comfort and peace in the coming weeks.
posted by muddgirl at 1:58 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


Y'all are seriously making me cry -- not that that's hard to do these days. She doesn't have a lot of energy to do much, but always seems to have metafilter open on her phone. I will read her all of these if she doesn't feel up to reading them herself. MeFi has been such a huge part of our lives since she joined, and then convinced me that i needed to as well. If anyone wants our home address to send her a card, memail me and I'll send it out. I'll also make sure the mods have it, in case I'm not reading my memail.

Also, ColdChef is a freaking treasure and may none of you ever need his advice on these things.
posted by gingerbeer at 1:58 PM on November 8 [133 favorites]


Love and warmth from me in Helsinki, a third of the way across the world. One of the loveliest parts of the incredibly lovely 10th MeFiversary in Portland was chatting with rtha. I was a tiny bit starstruck, because you were then, and have continued to be, one of my absolute favorite MeFites.
posted by Kattullus at 1:59 PM on November 8 [5 favorites]


rtha, you did a lot to make it feel like it was okay and safe to be queer in this space, and to feel in general like there's a place for me and people like me in this world even when everything has felt shitty. Thank you.
posted by Sequence at 2:00 PM on November 8 [18 favorites]


rtha, I've loved your posts and comments. This won't change tomorrow, next month, in twenty years. You will continue to be beloved, simply and beautifully. How good to know you, at least on these Metafilter pages. And I've decided that it's time to follow my secret dream and finally get into birding! I'll be looking at your posts for guidance, and think of you when I thrill at the birds I see. May you have easy, good days, and love to gingerbeer, too.
posted by but no cigar at 2:15 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


I don't have a lot of links to MeFites. It's just one of those features I haven't really used, but I'm sure it would surprise nobody that rtha is one of them, and I think was the first. I'm so used to seeing "rtha had an answer" or "rtha had a comment" on the left hand side of my screen that it just feels like it's a natural part of the side.

So, rtha and gingerbeer please accept my very best wishes and hope that they go at least a teeny tiny way to lightening this terrible situation.
posted by sardonyx at 2:17 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


<3<3<3 rtha
posted by Melismata at 2:25 PM on November 8


Oh no! Rtha has always been so kind and so wonderful to me. She has always been a master at the perfect, concise comment that *exactly* captured what needed to be said in any thread. My home screen sidebar was always filled with row after row of how many favorites she had accumulated.

I'm so sorry, and I feel so much love and warmth and affection for you both. If there's absolutely anything I can do, let me know.

Wishing you a peaceful journey Rtha! If I'm lucky, I'll meet you on the other side!
posted by jasper411 at 2:26 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]


Well, shit.

Keeping you in my thoughts, rtha.
posted by anem0ne at 2:34 PM on November 8


I don't know what to say, rtha, except that your presence here has been a pleasure and your absence will be unbearable. I wish you the best in this journey. Know that my thoughts are with you.
posted by maxsparber at 2:34 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


rtha really is the coolest. So much Aloha!
posted by Burhanistan at 2:38 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]


((((rtha and gingerbeer))))

What prize bull octorok said. I am so very sorry. I've greatly appreciated your posts and comments, especially about birds.

Keeping you both in my thoughts.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 2:38 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


rtha, I've had this window open for a while trying to find the perfect, eloquent way to express this, and failing, so I'm left with the plain but true words: I'll miss seeing you around Metafilter. Metafilter will not be the same without you here.

Love to both you and gingerbeer, you'll be in my thoughts every time I check Metafilter, which is pretty often.
posted by yasaman at 2:42 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]


rtha, at a time like this, you might appreciate some blep. It's really good blep, I promise. It may not be the blep you need, but it's the blep you deserve.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:42 PM on November 8 [6 favorites]


rtha, you are one of the mefites who has always stood out to me as being a super-cool person, based on your comments. Sending my good thoughts to you and gingerbeer.
posted by whistle pig at 2:54 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


I am so, so sorry to hear this. I had the pleasure of singing along with rtha a few times, and they've been one of my very favorite Mefites for as long as I can remember.

Love and respect and grief from this corner of the Interflibs for both of you in this time of trial.
posted by scrump at 2:56 PM on November 8


Hugs to you and gingerbeer.
posted by jadepearl at 3:02 PM on November 8


Sending so much light love and peace. 💝
posted by Space Kitty at 3:02 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


Keeping you and gingerbeer in my thoughts, rtha.
posted by holborne at 3:08 PM on November 8


rtha, I always enjoy your comments. Thank you for all your contributions.

I thought you might like to see some hawks that frequent my yard: one two First is a red-shouldered hawk and second is a red-tailed hawk if I've identified them correctly. I will think of you when I see them.

Love to you and gingerbeer.
posted by elerina at 3:10 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


All my thoughts go to you, rtha. You're one of my favourite people and I treasure our interactions throughout the years. A hearty fucking fuck fucking cancer and massive hugs to you and gingerbeer, who is also one of my favourite people.
posted by h00py at 3:13 PM on November 8 [5 favorites]


> rtha, you are the very best.

That's for sure. I'm so glad I got to meet you and g'beer; I wish I could zip out there now and tell you all the good things in person, but my thoughts from afar will have to do. I admire your grace, intelligence, and consistent kindness more than I can say, and will try to do better to live up to them. You've made MeFi—hell, the world—a better place. Thank you.
posted by languagehat at 3:18 PM on November 8 [18 favorites]


Awww butts. That's rough. Keeping y'all in my thoughts.
posted by Wretch729 at 3:24 PM on November 8


rtha, you are one of my favorite people on Metafilter. From my perspective, you and gingerbeer are two of the core contributors to Metafilter whose presence on the site is part of what makes the site so important to me. It's my belief that hearing your perspectives (and those of other wonderful Mefites like you) has helped me grow into a better, smarter, and kinder person that I would have been without Metafilter, without having access to what you've chosen to share on this site. I appreciate so, so much all your insights, stories, and contributions over the years. I'm so sorry to hear about this. So, so much love for you both. I hope everything is as smooth and comfortable as possible from here on out.
posted by Caduceus at 3:25 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


oh, this is a gut punch. Yours was one of the first MetaFilter names in my mental "Read This Comment!" file and now I am realizing that you actually joined a bit after me so I guess you started off with a bang! I've also always adored the way you and gingerbeer interact on the site; the love and affection really shines through.

I'm wishing that peaceful days full of love are ahead, for both of you. Also here is a cat.
posted by lalex at 3:28 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]


This news makes me incredibly sad, rtha, because you have always been a wonderful, powerful, intelligent voice in this community of ours. The thoughts that you have shared, the experiences, the passion have always come through bright and clear, and you are one of the people whose contributions I most treasure on this site. And even though this is heartbreaking news, we can be glad not only that you chose to share so much, but that your voice will still live here, with us, and that not even cancer can take it away.

We may not know where we go after this life, but at least this place is where you will continue to live and be loved.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:31 PM on November 8 [11 favorites]


Love to you both!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:43 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


Oh goddammit.

rtha, gingerbeer, know that you are loved. Your words here have soothed and prodded and entertained and informed. Your thoughtful tone and clear insights made me a better person. You helped me learn to listen, a lesson I still struggle with. I have never met you, rtha, but in my heart I think of you as a friend far away.

I will watch the hawks, and I will think of you.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:49 PM on November 8 [20 favorites]


Devastating. I had no idea.

rtha, you have always been one of my very favorite mefites for as long as I've known this place. I had hoped for many more years of your excellent contributions. Not only have you consistently been one of the most humane, intelligent, steady voices here I can think of, you're also a member of a very short list of mefites (a list that definitely doesn't include myself) who I can't recall ever behaving badly, even in the most heated monents. That's solid, that is,

Maybe you can come back as your namesake. You'll definitely be sorely missed. Peace be with you.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:52 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


rtha, I am thinking of you, and I will miss you. Love to you and to gingerbeer.
posted by Countess Elena at 3:53 PM on November 8


rtha and gingerbeer, you were so welcoming when I called a meetup in SF (once upon a time, under a different user name); it was a highlight of my trip. Thank you for all your Mefi wisdom and generosity over the years.
posted by ferret branca at 3:54 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


This sucks and I love you and here is me abusing the img tag to say so. Love and hugs to you both and Roswell and Yorvit who also hold special places in my heart.

I love you
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 4:02 PM on November 8 [126 favorites]


You guys are the best, and for any who doubt, I just found this wonderful picture of Jessamyn, gingerbeer, rtha, and Yorvit (presumably for ColdChef) on the recent photos section of rtha's profile. The. Best. <3
posted by Secretariat at 4:04 PM on November 8 [23 favorites]


Hey!
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 4:04 PM on November 8 [21 favorites]


Oh, uh, jinx, Jessamyn. You owe me a Yorvit.
posted by Secretariat at 4:04 PM on November 8 [18 favorites]


That photo with Yorvit is THE BEST.
posted by Stewriffic at 4:05 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


That is a beautiful, shining, happy photo and I'm really sorry this is happening. Like apparently everyone, I've always taken note of your comments in particular for their kindness and wisdom. Sending you and gingerbeer lots of love.
posted by HotToddy at 4:11 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


This is a heavy loss at a bad time. Both the site and the world can scarcely afford to have fewer passionate intelligent grown-ups :(
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 4:16 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


I'm so sorry rtha. I am definitely going to miss you.

(My autocorrect changed "miss" to "kiss" three times, so many hugs and kisses to you, too.)
posted by 4ster at 4:42 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


Weirdly I went to a meet-up before joining Metafilter and rtha was one of the folks who encouraged me to sign up. And, of course, we had a long conversation about birds.

I never did make it out birding with you rtha, sorry about that. It's always good to see your comments on birds and I feel like I've really achieved something if I get the 'what's this bird' before you. I also still have your recipe for bacon jam somewhere and need to make it again.

You're probably the 'realest' Metafilterer to me and I'm so sorry to hear, well, everything. Best to you and gingerbeer (who was also lovely when I met her). Let me know if you want to be distracted by my daily bird list (no RTHA but lots of BAEA).
posted by hydrobatidae at 4:51 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


rtha: Since I started lurking here in 2010 or so, you have been a highly recognizable part of the fabric of this community, constantly contributing wit and perspective. Your posts helped me understand what Metafilter even is, and how to contribute to it, as a (relatively) newer member. Thank you for being a bright light. Love to you and gingerbeer.
posted by Snacks at 4:51 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


So, so sorry to hear this. Neither of you know me but I always notice and appreciate both of your posts and comments so much.
Sending the warmest of thoughts your way...
posted by bookmammal at 4:54 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


rtha, I have been so moved by your comments, and I know whenever you write I will see supportive, compassionate, well thought out ideas that back up your fellow humans in ways that count most. You have positively impacted my life and I am so thankful for your presence in it. You have changed the world as I know you have changed my life and may others and made us who stand up for justice feel that much stronger and less alone. I wish you whatever good, peace, and comfort that you can have right now.
posted by xarnop at 4:55 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


No words, only tears. Hugs to you both, rtha and gingerbeer.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:00 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


Oh, and the Magpie sends her love to her cousin Roswell (from her long-deserved position as Only Cat with my folks.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 5:13 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


Hugs all round. rtha, you have always been a 'must-read' commenter. You are witty, thoughtful, and compassionate, and it is a privilege to be part of a community with you.
posted by Combat Wombat at 5:20 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


Sending so much appreciation for your contributions to Metafilter. You make it a better place. Thank you, and wishing you peace, ease, comfort, and as much joy as possible.
posted by Salamandrous at 5:40 PM on November 8


rtha, I am so sorry. You are one of the people who make the site for me. I've always felt happy that you're here being a thoughtful, level-headed queer person. The world has felt better to me because of you.
posted by Frowner at 5:42 PM on November 8 [5 favorites]


Hugs rtha, you’ve been on some long slogs with me here on mefi over the years and dammit you’re one of the best.

Hugs offered and tears flowing.
posted by nikaspark at 5:44 PM on November 8


One small step
posted by growabrain at 5:47 PM on November 8


rhta, this comment was edited to form the thanks is the introduction to my book.

I have two full color copies left. Gingerbeer, I'll memail you and figure out how to ship one to you.
posted by nikaspark at 5:56 PM on November 8 [6 favorites]


Oh no, oh no...rtha, I am so sorry to hear this sad news.

I have always thought of you as a good egg and I always look forward to reading your comments here on Metafilter because I know they'll be warm, compassionate, smart and funny.

I remember being so tickled to learn the meaning behind your name.

Hugs to both you and gingerbeer.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:00 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


rtha and gingerbeer;

This internet stranger wishes the two of you the best... which yes... I know doesn't sound like much, or possibly insensitive to say or... well... I assure you it isn't meant to be. My dad was diagnosed with stage 4 non-small cell lymphoma a few years back. It had metastasized to... well... it doesn't really matter now, does it?

I talked both him and my mother through a lot. I'll never forget a few painful phone calls where my dad didn't know whether or not he could keep fighting because of... well... it -... yeah...

I can't begin to express how amazing it has been to read both your comments over the years, and how much they've meant to this east coast internet stranger. I'll miss them whenever they wind up stopping. Fuck... right now I'm at a total... I want you to both know that you aren't alone... You will be missed. You've made my life better and you've given me perspective on things that I've needed - even though we've never met and I don't know that we've ever explicitly commented back and forth.

--

My dad currently sits on my mom's kitchen table, or is strapped into the passenger seat, or sits on her other kitchen table - dependent on whether she is in NC, where they built their home, or Pittsburgh - where my mom is in the process of moving closer to my sister... He was supposed to be sprinkled in the Bahamas, the Chesapeake, on Weaver's ledge and Tinker's Island up in Maine... but... my mom hasn't been able to let go of him yet. He was supposed to be there when she got Alzheimers (if she ever did) to take her shoe shopping in her closet to always find the perfect pair - because that's the kind of relationship they had...

I can't do anything for your pain, I can't apologize the inevitable away. I can't offer anything more than condolences from 3000 miles away. I can just tell the two of you to remember the good times and to enjoy each other's company as you enter this final stage. Stay together...
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:09 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


I'm so, so sorry to read this.

For what little it is worth, I think of rtha's name almost every day, because I walk past a protected wetland where there are always birders squinting at birds in the treeline. Every day when I see the birders, I am reminded of the moment a few years ago when the lightbulb finally turned on for me what "rtha" meant, and it always makes me smile.

You've touched a lot of people's lives, including my own. My best wishes to both of you.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:14 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]


I'm so sorry to hear this news. Thank you for sharing it with us.
posted by odinsdream at 6:19 PM on November 8


Gold. You're gold. You're one of our best. I trust you, I trust your heart. You've got a guy in Texas hurting about this situation, hating that this is going down, yet happy to have been in the community with you. You're gold.
posted by dancestoblue at 6:23 PM on November 8 [6 favorites]


I've been wanting to come back home some day -- it's been 20 years, and right on top of my list was hopefully meeting up with you guys, & possibly Yorvit who 1. has the best cat name ever, & 2. is a dead-ringer for my old buddy Güter, who was the best cat in the history of forever.

There's a great horned owl that lives in the big pit entrance to my favorite cave out in west Texas that I've been to many, many times, & we always disturb it as we rappel in. I've only managed a couple mediocre photographs, but whenever I see it I think of you - "Wouldn't rtha love to see this magnificent creature up close like this?" It will circle around the pit for a bit, sometimes lighting on a ledge & sometimes heading on out the entrance to elude us intruders.

It's hard for me to accept that you're ill, and harder for me to sit here unable to do anything to help. I've always respected the hell out of you, and you're amongst a rare few people who have always made this place better by being here & being who you are. I send all the love that I can squeeze through these inter-tubes.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:26 PM on November 8 [13 favorites]


I wish you sunshine, good days, hugs, hot tea, music and the warmth of your loved ones. I thank you for your always awesome contributions. Your words have often touched me and many others here. You made this place better. I wish you peace.
posted by Kangaroo at 6:31 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


Much love and strength to rtha and gingerbeer.
posted by Elly Vortex at 6:33 PM on November 8


I'm so sorry to hear the news. I'll keep you both in my thoughts. rtha comments were always thoughtful and smart, but really my heart is just breaking for both of you.
posted by honey badger at 6:35 PM on November 8


Also, ColdChef is a freaking treasure and may none of you ever need his advice on these things.

Yes. He talked me down out of my tree after a friend took his own life a couple three years ago, the man is a saint.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:45 PM on November 8 [7 favorites]


Mortal Limit
I saw the hawk ride updraft in the sunset over Wyoming.
It rose from coniferous darkness, past gray jags
Of mercilessness, past whiteness, into the gloaming
Of dream-spectral light above the lazy purity of snow-snags.

There—west—were the Tetons. Snow-peaks would soon be
In dark profile to break constellations. Beyond what height
Hangs now the black speck? Beyond what range will gold eyes see
New ranges rise to mark a last scrawl of light?

Or, having tasted that atmosphere’s thinness, does it
Hang motionless in dying vision before
It knows it will accept the mortal limit,
And swing into the great circular downwardness that will restore

The breath of earth? Of rock? Of rot? Of other such
Items, and the darkness of whatever dream we clutch?

--Robert Penn Warren
posted by drlith at 6:49 PM on November 8 [20 favorites]


Thank you for being such a bright light.
posted by Malla at 7:04 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


rtha, you’ve been a queer role model for me ever since I thought I was “just an ally,” and that’s something I’ll be trying to pay forward forever. Thank you. Thank you.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 7:21 PM on November 8 [8 favorites]


This is such sad news. rtha has such a distinctive voice in this community, and always had knowledgeable contributions. I'm sending you guys lots and lots of love and strength. ♥️🦅 (the closest thing to a hawk emoji I've got)
posted by Fig at 7:22 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


rtha, you are as beautiful as a wave curling and roaring into a beach, and oh you are loved, as we love the water and the birds and the mountains.

Thank you for sharing all the things you are with us.

A million hugs, both gentle and fierce, to you, rtha.

A million hugs, both gentle and fierce, to you, gingerbeer.
posted by kristi at 7:35 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


I remember with much gratitude how rtha had my back in several threads and was glad to be able to meet her irl a few years ago.
posted by brujita at 7:59 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


I'm terribly sad and I'm amazed at how lucky we are to share the same patch of internet. I've learned so much from you and I'm so glad to call you an internet crush and friend. Sending you peace and love and warmth and calm and rest, rtha. Thank you.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:03 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


❤️
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 8:20 PM on November 8


I said it awkwardly to you in a meetup a few years ago, rtha, and I'll say it again: you're sort of one of my mefi heroes -- I feel like you always say what needs to be said, and you say it better than I could hope to do so myself. Because it's still true! You've just kept on being great since that time!!
posted by fleacircus at 8:21 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]


Oh wow. Wow.

Thank you for the update.

Godspeed, rtha.
posted by notyou at 8:23 PM on November 8


Sending thoughts from me and Leo.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:29 PM on November 8


You've made the world a better place. Thank you.
posted by spork at 8:43 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


Safe journey. You have made this a better place.
posted by Kafkaesque at 8:58 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


Love to you both from another birder and cat lover.
posted by Numenius at 9:24 PM on November 8


words fail. <3
posted by dogheart at 9:25 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


I'm jealous that you get to miss the rest of Trump!

One of the first names I could remember from visit to visit. See you on the other side, rtha.
posted by rhizome at 9:49 PM on November 8


I'm so terribly sorry to hear this news.
Here is a (poor) picture of the very awesome owl that landed on my patio last week! Sadly, no Hogwarts letter came with him. Please do also note the *fake* owl he is shunning.
posted by TwoStride at 9:57 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


what the shit :( I really enjoyed meeting you at SF meetups back in the 2010-2013 range. Had no idea about the health problems :(
posted by MillMan at 9:58 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


rtha & gingerbeer - Hugs ♥. I give you both as many virtual hugs as you need / will accept from someone who grew up as a Dodgers fan. ;) (although I haven't followed baseball in a while) gingerbeer, I left you a mefi mail message as well.

rtha, you are a pillar of this community and my heart aches at this news. Thank you for so much... being the voice of reason so many times over, for your candor in sharing so much about your life and experiences so that it may help others, for nudges of encouragement, and for your ability to put raw rage and frustration into coherent words better than I ever could (especially in tough times).

To echo everyone: You've made such a difference here. You are loved and we will miss you.

You're a star. We are so lucky that you are MeFi's Own™ rtha.

I wish you peace.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 10:09 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]


I looked through your photos, from your profile. It's fitting that such a fine person should have known so many fine things. And taken such great pictures of them.
posted by XMLicious at 10:35 PM on November 8


So much love to you both, rtha and gingerbeer.
posted by ellieBOA at 10:55 PM on November 8


Just adding to the chorus that rtha is a username I always associate with Posts or Comments I Pay Attention To. Love to you and gingerbeer.
posted by like_neon at 11:19 PM on November 8


Rtha, you don’t know me, but I know your username and have always enjoyed your insight. You’ve helped make this world a better place.
posted by samthemander at 11:39 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


rtha, as my favorites attest, you're one of my favoritest.

We have pigeons, bluejays, whip-smart crows, and a whole bunch of very spoiled Parisian parakeets who feast on the fruit that grows in our little Impressionist park. They're a riot in the evenings during twilight; I'll see if I can get pics this weekend.

Big fluffer and miss tortitude send purrs and cuddles.
posted by fraula at 11:44 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


rtha, your participation here has made me a smarter person and a kinder human, I would like to thank you for that. I have a very long way to go.
posted by floam at 11:45 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


I have no words. This fucking sucks and I'm so, so sorry.
posted by ApathyGirl at 11:55 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


*Hugs rtha and gingerbeer tightly*

I'm so sorry. You are such a kind, considerate and interesting part of metafilter.
posted by daybeforetheday at 12:29 AM on November 9


I'm sorry you got dealt this particularly tough hand.
you've made me a better person through your all-around decent-ness.
thank you
I will miss your voice here, terribly
Godspeed!
posted by From Bklyn at 1:04 AM on November 9


Lots, lots of love to you both.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 1:11 AM on November 9


Dear rtha and gingerbeer. I am so sorry to hear this. Sending you good thoughts from across the sea from a mefite you don't know but who has always enjoyed your comments. <3
posted by halcyonday at 1:13 AM on November 9


rtha, you're one of the mefites whose comments I always made a point to read. Hugs to you and gingerbeer, I wish you peace and love for always.
posted by arcticseal at 2:02 AM on November 9


I don't know what to say, really, to either of you. This sucks.

I guess I do know what I want to say to rtha: thank you. Thank you for being here and having my back, whether you knew it or not. You helped me feel heard and listened to in so many threads.
posted by hoyland at 2:17 AM on November 9 [3 favorites]


Came a sparrow and swiftly it flew through the hall; came in at one door and out the other it went.
posted by pracowity at 2:32 AM on November 9 [9 favorites]


I'm so sorry to hear this. 💗💗 Thank you, rtha for all the interesting posts and comments. I have always enjoyed your content on this site. Hugs to you and gingerbeer.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 2:40 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


Hugs, rtha. I'm so, so sorry. Thinking of you.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:12 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


this sucks so much. I feel like the secret metafilter cabal of bird people that gather in the comments of any post involving birds is losing it's leader. Much love to you both, thanks for being awesome.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:47 AM on November 9 [4 favorites]


Long may you soar, rtha.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 3:50 AM on November 9 [3 favorites]


Love, peace and strength to rtha and gingerbeer in these trying times.

Heck, to all of us. But them especially.
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 3:51 AM on November 9


Big hugs to you both, rtha + gingerbeer. Love, peace, and more love from me, Helena, and Cosima.
posted by heyho at 3:59 AM on November 9


Aw, shit. Damnit. I don't have the words.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:31 AM on November 9


Except that I wish the best for you and gingerbeer in the time that you have left. That seems so inadequate, but it's all I've got. Damnit.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:33 AM on November 9


So many hugs to both of you. Best wishes for the time remaining.
posted by Amy NM at 5:11 AM on November 9


I saw this on Twitter a while back... It's still devastating. I've always loved rtha's contributions here and valued them a lot.

My heart breaks for you. May your journey be full of love and peace.
posted by pjern at 5:11 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


rtha and gingerbeer -- I wish you both peace and comfort in the days ahead. I wish you love and acceptance. I wish you every glorious sunrise and every blazing sunset from now til the end of your journey together. As the sunlight touches every corner of the world, your lives have touched many and given us all light. Thank you and farewell.
posted by briank at 5:36 AM on November 9 [6 favorites]


rtha, I have made a small contribution to MetaFilter in your honor. Thank you for being such an insightful person and for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us. I especially thank you for this comment celebrating a particular kind of generative discussion that isn't adversarial, "a conversation that spawns epiphanies, new strategies, opens windows, and allows for the sharing of experience" -- that kind of conversation is a huge part of what I treasure about MetaFilter, and I will miss you being part of it.
posted by brainwane at 5:36 AM on November 9 [6 favorites]


rtha, you are one of a handful of mefites whose comments I can often attribute without getting to your username. Your words shine to me with wisdom, compassion, and confidence. When I think of you, the word “humane” comes to mind, as well as the impression of someone who has come through some serious trials holding fast to the best- and biggest-hearted parts of yourself.

I am the better for your being part of this community. This community is the better. rtha and gingerbeer, you are in my thoughts. I wish nothing but peace and comfort to you both.
posted by gauche at 5:38 AM on November 9 [6 favorites]


If there is any real sense in which MetaFilter is the best of the web, then rtha's comments are the best of the best of the web. rtha, I look up to you and admire your smart, kind, thoughtful and fair perspective; your beautifully written comments in which every word has its value and proper place; and the ethical and moral grounding you bring to everything, even fun. The afternoon I spent with you and gingerbeer (and a few lovely others) at a meetup on the Civic Center lawn in San Francisco was my only chance to meet you in person, but it stands in memory as one of those wonderful cul-de-sacs in life, a sun-glowing afternoon of great conversation and fellow-feeling. My heart is with you both.
posted by Miko at 5:52 AM on November 9 [13 favorites]


So much respect and adoration to two of my Mefi Heroes (and to the only person to whom I've written a fan note to their tattoo). Rtha, you are such a bright light in this universe that even when we close our eyes we remain dazzled. Forever.

Sending all our love from me and V. and from Luna's floofy tail, and Sky's floofy face. And though I haven't managed to photograph them yet, from the wild parrots who hang in the big tree next door, and all their wild parrot poetic mutterings, which you would probably totally understand. ❤️
posted by taz (staff) at 6:20 AM on November 9 [5 favorites]


Aw, geez. I met you both just briefly at a ginormous Metafilter meetup in 2011, but rtha’s comments here have always been so worth reading. Wishing you as many good days as possible, and as few bad ones.
posted by deludingmyself at 6:32 AM on November 9


I've always enjoyed your company -- you are good people. Safe journey, and we'll see you around...
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:34 AM on November 9


Oh, gosh. I'm so sorry. Like many people, I've so enjoyed being in a community with you. (I actually think we may have been in some other online community before MeFi, which makes me sound creepy! I don't know that we have ever really interacted though, fellow traveler.) I hope that your life is full of love and birds, that your pain is well managed, and I am so sad that you have such limited time left.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:38 AM on November 9


BOO! BOO I say!
Here in Florida, I live near a large pond, and I'm constantly seeing a nice little collection of various raptors, but unfortunately no velociraptors. Please take good care of yourself, you are in my thoughts. You helped make Metafilter a wonderful place. Thank you.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 6:38 AM on November 9


I'm so sorry for both of you. This is hard news to hear, the sort that was inevitable in the long term but that you have refused to consider possible. Like so many other people in this thread, I have always considered rtha's comments worth reading and a fundamental part of the community. Thank you so much for all your work helping to make MetaFilter what it is.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:41 AM on November 9


I had the good fortune of meeting gingerbeer and rtha at a fairly small meetup here in New Orleans. They were already on my MetaFilter radar, so to speak, but the IRL experience cemented them in my mind as people that I wanted to know better.

Everything else I could want to say about them - and rtha in particular - has been said more eloquently by dozens of others in this thread.

rtha, you are one of the good ones, and always will be.
posted by komara at 6:54 AM on November 9 [2 favorites]


I live in a place with a wealth of hawks and I think about you every single time I see one, rtha. You are the best and I wish you all of my love.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:57 AM on November 9 [5 favorites]


Hey, rtha; you don't know me. I have seen your name -- and ginergbeer's -- over tons of great words on MetaFilter.

Those words are going to stick around for a long time, being sensible or consoling or instructive far longer than we will be here. There are still people who will discover your comments in the future and think, Damn, that's great. I wish I'd said that or maybe Wow, I never thought of that before. They'll be improved as people for reading those words.

Y'all got a shitty deal here, but you're leaving a lot of people just better than we were before you, and I think that counts for something. Godspeed.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:11 AM on November 9 [13 favorites]


Fuck, I am so sorry to hear this. The world is not fair.
posted by something something at 7:32 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


rtha, thank you for some of the best comments I've had the pleasure of reading on the site. I'm sorry this is happening to you, and wish you and gingerbeer the absolute best.

Thank you both so much for making this site as wonderful as it can be.
posted by PearlRose at 7:32 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


Dang. rtha thanks for many, many enjoyable and informative comments. Here's a picture of a big stray that was hanging around my backyard this spring.
posted by Mitheral at 7:48 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


I met rtha and gingerbeer in 2011 at a scotch tasting mefi meetup in San Francisco. I learned that you're lovely, interesting people... And that I don't like scotch. I'm so sorry I am not in town to visit. So sorry to hear the sad news. May you both find comfort.
posted by maya at 7:50 AM on November 9


Strength and love to you both. You're both critical threads in the weave of this community. Hugs if you want them.
posted by blurker at 8:38 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


Fuck. This is a punch in the chest.

rtha and gingerbeer, I love you both. The neurons for red-tailed hawks and rtha have been bound in my brain for at least a decade now. They always will be. Thank you for making the world a better place. You didn't know it, but you taught me a lot about so many important life things. I'm a more well-adjusted queer thanks to you. And your comments often said the things I needed to hear before I knew I needed to hear them - after Pulse comes to mind.

I am very sad. I wish you peace and lightness.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:47 AM on November 9 [2 favorites]


Very sad news. rtha is someone whose contributions I often remember and cherish. Very best wishes to her, gingerbeer, and their loved ones.
posted by Kwine at 8:53 AM on November 9


XOXO to both of you.
posted by jillithd at 8:57 AM on November 9


Two of my most favorite Metafilter people. My heart breaks for you (and us).

Fuck cancer.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:00 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


rtha, thank you so much for all your wonderful comments. Mefi has made me a better person and you are one of the people that contributed to that. I hope you have comfort and peace.
posted by shmurley at 9:00 AM on November 9


Very sorry to hear this. I hope you are able to have some happy times even as you go through this difficult journey.
posted by TedW at 9:04 AM on November 9


I'm so sorry. I've appreciated your thoughtful comments and interesting FPPs. I wish you all the best.

(For some reason, I've always parsed your user name as "read the hecking article", like a slightly cross golden retriever admonishing me for not reading before commenting.)
posted by Harald74 at 9:25 AM on November 9 [8 favorites]


Oh this is the saddest. Rtha, you don't know me from a hole in the wall, but you've always been one of my favorite commenters and I've learned so much from you and enjoyed your contributions so much. This is so heartbreaking and fuck cancer SO BAD but I am so glad that you will have the rest of your days in as much comfort as possible in your home surrounded by gingerbeer and your cats and loved ones. And know that we Mefites are there with you! Wishing you the most happiness you can find in your last days and thank you for everything you've done for us here.
posted by Neely O'Hara at 9:25 AM on November 9 [4 favorites]


rtha, I think of you when we cut our hay and the redtails come out to clean up the mice. And then when the turkey vultures come to clean up after them. And with all the other raptors and owls we've got hanging around. We even got a harrier a few weeks ago! (The bald eagles can get bent though, those chicken-eating assholes!)

Best wishes for your last days. Good luck with what comes next.
posted by stet at 9:41 AM on November 9 [3 favorites]


This is such sad news. Though I've never personally interacted with her, I have enjoyed and agreed with virtually everything I've seen rtha write here.

I don't recall if rtha or gingerbeer have any religious views, but I am a Quaker and I am holding you both in the Light.
posted by Pax at 9:49 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


Oh hell. I haven't looked at Mefi for a while but just got the news from scrump.

I'm beaming out so much love to both of you, rtha and gingerbeer.
posted by tangerine at 10:18 AM on November 9


Well fuck. This just sucks. (Thank witches for hospice care, though.)

stet and I think of you both often but now I'm thinking of you extra hard.
posted by librarina at 10:27 AM on November 9


rtha, I am so grateful I finally got to meet you and gingerbeer in person and I am so, so bummed about this. Thank you so much for all of your thoughtful, funny, powerful contributions here and for letting me vent at you over MeMail and for keeping me sane during contentious threads about queer politics. And thank you and gingerbeer both for inviting me into your home and feeding and watering me after I moved to SF. Anyway I feel like this post is completely inadequate but I just wanted to say that I look up to you and I appreciate you and I'm really going to miss you. <3
posted by en forme de poire at 10:27 AM on November 9 [3 favorites]


rtha, thank you for all of your thoughtful and kind words here on MetaFilter.

Chloe, Remy, and Finley say thanks for all of the birb facts. They hope to escape one day and put them to use.
posted by cooker girl at 10:36 AM on November 9


rtha, thank you for being part of this community. from afar and for many years now i have looked up to you. holding you and gingerbeer in my thoughts. loaf brain is size of a walnut but he will also hold you in his thoughts. thought. in his very small loaf brain
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 10:42 AM on November 9 [2 favorites]


I'm very sad to hear this and send all my best wishes for the two of you.
posted by bile and syntax at 10:52 AM on November 9


I'm so sorry to hear this. When I was in the Bay Area for a year-long internship in 2012, rtha and gingerbeer, you were two of the regulars at the MeFi meetups I went to. You were both so lovely and kind to me at a time when I was lonely and unhappy. MeFi meetups were such a light to me at a hard time in my life. I think often of how much those meetups and your good cheer meant to me. Even after I moved away in 2013, I always watched for your comments here, especially about Bay Area politics and general cultural stuff. rtha, your devotion to birds always inspires me to commit to service that I love. I will keep you both in my thoughts. I hope that you are surrounded with comfort, love and friends.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:54 AM on November 9


rtha, just wanted to let you know that the largest, most impressive red tail hawk I've ever seen just popped into for a backyard visit and to hang out on top of the fence. Somehow I doubt it's that same juvenile you and I discussed, but it seems like news that I needed to share with you. (Seriously, this one was huge. At first glance I had to make sure it wasn't a bigger raptor like an eagle or something.)
posted by sardonyx at 11:15 AM on November 9 [3 favorites]


rtha: Like about a million posters have said before me, your username is one of the first I grew to recognize and admire, and often I would wonder 'is this rtha?' before I got to the end of a long comment, and I was right more often than not. We have never met or even really interacted, and yet I, again, like a million posters above me, think of you every time I see a hawk. I've mentally named a few of them Eartha in your honor; I remember looking up your user profile ages ago and seeing that you liked that your user name sounded like Eartha. Through the years, I've thought about taking pictures of some and asking you to identify them. Even though I never did it, I always felt like you'd be totally cool with it - you just always seemed that approachable and down to earth. I remember when you and gingerbeer became an item - or at least, I remember figuring out that you were together - and being really happy for you.

If you ever wonder if you've had an impact on the world, I hope you will take in what so many random people are saying to you in this thread: even though most of us never met you, we thought about you outside of MetaFilter and looked forward to your next contribution. If that's not a sign of your amazing energy, I don't know what is.

I am so, so sorry that you and gingerbeer are going through this. I wish strength and grace and peace for you both. Much love from a woman you've never met but whose life you have touched anyway.
posted by widdershins at 11:21 AM on November 9 [11 favorites]


Oh I'm so sorry. I love seeing her comments on AskMe.
Is a duck a bird?
Mandarin mania has hit NYC. Here's one writeup, but if you google mandarin duck Central Park you'll find lots.
Off to check the how to help for something practical.

Love to you, gingerbeer and your loved ones.
posted by TravellingCari at 11:44 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


Thank you so much, rtha, for your amazing contributions to this site. Obviously I don't contribute much here myself, but I have been lurking here A Lot for A Long Time, and your voice has been one I have grown to treasure. I am a San Franciscan too, and for years now when I have met someone in the city or an a local hiking trail who seems particularly decent and community-minded, I have wondered to myself, "could this be rtha?"
posted by la glaneuse at 11:55 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


oh rtha I wish you a smooth passage, thank you for your wonderful contributions to MF over the years and send hugs to your loved ones.
posted by supermedusa at 12:02 PM on November 9 [2 favorites]


rtha and gingerbeer, thank you for being here with us.

On my way into the apple orchard for picking on a recent morning, I interrupted a Meeting of the Hawks. First a small bald eagle flew up from the area I was heading towards, followed quickly by a lovely, large red-tailed hawk who gave its distinctive cry. A smaller falcon (peregrine perhaps?) followed them to a wooded area moments later.
posted by Emmy Rae at 1:05 PM on November 9 [3 favorites]


I forgot to pay the cat tax. Here is Leeloo, attempting to make off with the heated fleece blanket she's currently standing on, and here's Helena, being Helena (her nickname is Potato).

Here they are together napping/grooming.

I know this sounds shallow and selfish, but I found myself wondering today, "Who is going to favorite all my stupid comments now?" rtha, I feel like we were in a tacit, reciprocal, "goofy attempt at joke? You get a favorite!" relationship on MetaFilter (though more often I was making the goofy attempt at a joke and you were saying something kind or profound). I'll miss our unspoken, dopey bond. I hope you are free of pain, and I hope that the knowledge of so many people on this site who have never met you admiring and cherishing your thoughts can bring you a modicum of joy.

Gingerbeer, I hope you know that everyone here has their arms open for you.
posted by tzikeh at 1:19 PM on November 9 [12 favorites]


rtha--when I see your username, I get excited because I know you will have good and interesting things to say. Thank you for that!

Sending you and gingerbeer lots of love.
posted by lucy.jakobs at 1:38 PM on November 9


rtha and gingerbeer, it was great meeting you both a few years ago at an SF meetup (back when I was still teponaztli). I asked you about hawks, because it seemed like I only ever saw RTHA, and you mentioned red-shouldered hawks as another kind I might see. Sure enough, I saw my first red-shouldered hawk not long after and immediately thought of you. "Oh yeah, when I met rtha that one time we talked about these." I see them infrequently enough that I have the same thought every time. I think you also had to explain what rtha meant, so I also remember that whenever I see "rtha" in a bird count. So go figure, we talk for 20 minutes in person once, and I'll probably forever associate these two hawks with you.

You're good people. All my best to you both.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 1:41 PM on November 9 [2 favorites]


There's people whose names I recognize and appreciate their opinions on Metafilter. You're certainly in that group, you're in our thoughts.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:46 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]


Peace to you both.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:02 PM on November 9


I've always enjoyed rtha's contributions. She's truly made MeFi, and my extension my world, a better place. All the best to both of you.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:07 PM on November 9


I asked you about hawks, because it seemed like I only ever saw RTHA, and you mentioned red-shouldered hawks as another kind I might see. Sure enough, I saw my first red-shouldered hawk not long after and immediately thought of you. "Oh yeah, when I met rtha that one time we talked about these."

rtha, you also taught me about the existence of red-shouldered hawks, and I think you every time I see one, with their lovely stripey tails.
posted by lazuli at 2:19 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]


How greatly we have been enriched by your presence here on Mefi, dear rtha. I somehow never noticed that you too are a red-tailed hawk fan, something we have in common, until this post today. I wish you all the comfort that can be found as you wind through your days.

To you, dear gingerbeer, I send tons of love and light. Upon your shoulders falls the larger burden of care. May you find joy amid the sorrow and light during the darkest nights. We all owe you thanks for your caring and compassion.

I send you both a million hugs.
posted by Lynsey at 2:54 PM on November 9 [2 favorites]


This weird little family on the web is lucky to count you as a member, rtha.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 3:03 PM on November 9 [5 favorites]


Oh, I am so sorry you are going through this, rtha! You were one of the first usernames I ever started noticing and associating with a particular presence on Metafilter. You stood out as a nice, thoughtful person who says smart and often funny things and seems to be extremely knowledgeable about birds! I always feel a little pleasant reminder that the world has good people in it when your and gingerbeer's names pop up here. Sending you wishes for peace, comfort and time with the people you love.
posted by aka burlap at 3:16 PM on November 9


rtha, I also read your name as a quaintly truncated form of Arthur. I also read it under a lot of strong, articulate and thoughtful comments and observations. I have no idea what you sound like in real life, but I imagine your voice being warm and measured and with the hint of a smile in it. Gaia is riding a thermal until you join her.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 3:17 PM on November 9


rtha, you introduced me to barrel aged stouts at an SF meetup long ago, and I thank you for that revelation.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 4:03 PM on November 9 [2 favorites]


rtha, you’ve been a queer hero and role model for years and one of the true lights of this community. I’ve been honored to know you and think of you every time the juvenile red tail that lives near me circles above the house, or blesses my car with castings. You are one of the true core good people of this site and it’s meant ao much every time I read any of your comments full of strength and insight and compassion. Love to gingerbeer and to you.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 4:26 PM on November 9 [5 favorites]


Hi rtha, I have read, enjoyed, and remembered your contributions to Metafilter. I will never forget you.
posted by jjray at 4:52 PM on November 9


Well, damn.

About a year ago, while my father could still identify any bird I pointed out to him, he had me stop the car and taken in the glory of vultures drying their wings in the sun. As they realized we had pulled to the side of the road to watch them, they turned and postured for us, ordering us to admire them more. [Mediocre picture - on Facebook, sadly]. I can remember sitting there thinking, "I bet [things this cool] happens for rtha all the time!". Maybe, I'm the only one but I always pronounced your name Aretha until I learned what it stood for.

I think the impact we have on others goes unnoticed, unrecognized, unspoken so often that I'm glad there's this opportunity for you to know how awesome yours has been on us individually and as a group. I'm going to miss your voice.
posted by julen at 5:13 PM on November 9 [6 favorites]


rtha, you've always had such interesting and wonderful and passionate things to say; for years you've been someone whose byline here gives me a warm feeling.

This summer, I was recuperating from a minor surgery, and saw a few hawks circling about my building and a few others in the neighbourhood. Some passed within inches of my 22nd storey building. I remember the exhilaration of them passing by -- sometimes close enough I could touch them, if there was no window, and if they weren't wild predators. I remember trying to get pictures, and then pouring over identification sites, thinking of you. I remember feeling disappointed when I learned they were probably Swainson's hawks.

I had hoped they were red-tailed hawks, like the namesake of that smart woman on the internet.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 5:33 PM on November 9 [2 favorites]


i really hate to hear this crap. i had a lung removed in 2005 from a carconoid tumor. everything was cool til 2013 and now its moved to my liver. still fighting it here at MD anderson in Houston. good luck to you gal! and i mean that!
posted by beemerboxer at 5:38 PM on November 9 [12 favorites]


Hi rtha, so sorry to hear this, we haven't interacted here on MeFi, but I always recognised your name, and your comments. hugs. (I always thought rtha stood for Arthur :)
posted by dhruva at 5:39 PM on November 9


Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear this, rtha. I always enjoyed your contributions here so much. So thank you for that, and may the rest of your journey be smooth and full of love.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:27 PM on November 9


I am another who has appreciated your contributions here, rtha. Sending much love to you both.
posted by pointystick at 7:13 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]


I'm so sorry this is happening to you, rtha. Your words have made a huge impact on this site (and on me). You are loved and you will be dearly missed.
posted by rue72 at 7:13 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]


You made this site, and a small corner of this world a better place, and for that, we can only be grateful.
posted by lalochezia at 7:18 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]


So very sorry to hear this, rtha and gingerbeer. Your voices help make this one of the best places in the world for intelligent and compassionate discussion, and rtha will be deeply missed. There's a pair of RTHAs that glide over the bus stop at work and I always thought of rtha when I saw them. Now I will think of them as Rtha and Gingerbeer, soaring together in the evening sky.

Thank you for making the world a better place. Peace to both of you.
posted by Quietgal at 7:44 PM on November 9 [7 favorites]


Gingerbeer, stranger, you were so kind to me when I shared that my bestie lost her five-year battle with cancer. I know exactly what you're going through now, and I'm so, so sorry. It's awful and terrible and just fuck, fuck cancer. My best wishes and love to you and rtha.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:03 PM on November 9 [3 favorites]


Holding you both in my heart today
posted by Daily Alice at 8:31 PM on November 9


rtha & gingerbeer, thank you for your presence in our lives, you made this place and the world better. Much love
posted by a humble nudibranch at 8:42 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]


We've never spoken directly, rtha, but I wanted you to know yours were comments I've always sought out in threads. You have always struck me as the kind of person it would be good to be friends with. And though the raptors I've watched the most have been falcons and not hawks, I still think of you when I see them soaring. Thank you for being here - you've made life better for people you don't even know. You and gingerbeer are in my heart.
posted by DingoMutt at 8:57 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]


Another greeting from someone you likely can't place, rtha. I know your name though and that you have left wisdom here. Also, birders are just generally the best. Thinking of you and yours.
posted by deadwax at 9:59 PM on November 9


Many hugs and much love to you both.
posted by wallabear at 10:56 PM on November 9


rtha, you're one of the people whose writings convinced me to join MeFi back in 2008. I remember thinking: "Hey, look! Another queer feminist MeFite who grew up in Hawaii! Cool!" It was almost 10 years ago that I met you and gingerbeer in person, if I remember correctly. It was the MeFi 10th anniversary meetup in 2009 in Portland, eh? The city where people say 'thank you' to the public transit drivers when they disembark!

I was a total wreck in those days - still reeling and hurting badly from a devastating divorce in which I lost an entire circle of friends, and coping with high social anxiety - and I remember how comfortable I felt around you two, however brief it may have been. I'll always be grateful for that. Thank you.

My folks still live in Waikiki. My stepfather, who's 82, has just been diagnosed with a terminal illness: Alzheimer's disease. I'm reading up on it now, and I'm still kind of in shock, as is my mother. He's saying to my mother that he's ready to die, but we have no idea how long he's got left, and we may have our own hospice journey ahead of us. I will probably need to go back to Hawaii to help the family at some point. When I do, I'll offer the islands my thanks (in Pidgin, 'cuz I'm bilingual that way too) for helping to shape you into someone who has made MeFi a better, more welcoming place for so many years.

Hugs and love to you both!
posted by velvet winter at 11:23 PM on November 9 [8 favorites]


hugs and love to you both. ❤️
posted by thereemix at 12:17 AM on November 10


Thank you both, rtha and gingerbeer, for being on Metafilter. I am sorry things are so hard.
posted by paduasoy at 12:20 AM on November 10


This rips a hole in the world that can never be healed.

One cell, one tiny, misbegotten cell destroys all the wonderful things that could have been.
posted by jamjam at 1:23 AM on November 10


Sad news indeed. Sending love and light and caring, gentle hugs. Rtha, may your soul be carried upward on the wings of your beloved birds and may your cats give gingerbeer head bumps and purrs and whiskered kitty kisses to comfort her here on Earth.
posted by LeftMyHeartInSanFrancisco at 1:36 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


Hugs and love to you both.
posted by Shepherd at 3:50 AM on November 10


I hope the antics of this kitten, Smudge, can bring you a bit of comfort. He is often a bright spot for me when I need him. (Thanks to MeFi's own John Scalzi for sharing Smudge)
posted by Altomentis at 4:04 AM on November 10


I am so terribly sorry to hear this. The comments from rtha have brought me much joy over the years.
posted by winna at 4:55 AM on November 10


You have made this (every this) a better place through your tremendous wit, candor, and thoughtfulness. Sending you love and wishing you peace, both of you.
posted by mochapickle at 6:02 AM on November 10


rtha, you unknowingly set me on the road to becoming the middle-aged lady birder I am so happy to be today. I went out with my binos today, hoping to see something great, and almost as if on command, a got a good long look at a kestrel hovering above a farmer's field. Thank you for all you've brought to this place.
posted by skybluepink at 6:15 AM on November 10 [7 favorites]


Much love to you both.
posted by mixedmetaphors at 6:38 AM on November 10


The world is a better place because of you. Hugs, peace, love, warmth, kindness, to you and yours.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:38 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


rtha, we spoke just once IRL, at a meetup, but I had a great time and then during the 2016 election when I commented that I was gonna drive to Reno to help register voters which was a big deal for me because I get social anxiety around strangers, you posted this comment and I thought it was so kind and generous and encouraging and made me feel so good and I will never, ever forget you. Thank you.
posted by ogooglebar at 7:24 AM on November 10 [7 favorites]


Oh. Oh. Oh no. My heart is with you both. rtha, please know that you made MeFi a better place and you will be missed.
posted by Night_owl at 7:29 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]


rtha, I have always respected your insights and comments, especially in the long grey threads on issues I was barely aware of and I learnt about my rights and how to stand up for them from you (among others but your comments stand out for me in my memory over the years).
posted by infini at 7:31 AM on November 10 [4 favorites]


rtha and gingerbeer are two of the best drinking buddies anyone could have ever hoped for. I look forward to the day, hopefully soon, that I can drink again with gingerbeer. Maybe there's a day, some longer time from now, that I can drink again with rtha too.
posted by ardgedee at 7:33 AM on November 10 [5 favorites]


i've been trying to pretend this post doesn't exist because i want it to not be real, but it is and i hate that it is and it's so deeply unfair that something like this could happen to two of the best people not just on metafilter but anywhere, everywhere.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:49 AM on November 10 [26 favorites]


Oh no, I’m so sorry. Rtha, I too have always really respected and appreciated your contributions. Sending love across the country, to you and gingerbeer. I wish you peace.
posted by john_snow at 9:00 AM on November 10


So sorry to hear of your situation, rtha, says this Internet ‘stranger’ who never knew anything about your age, gender, skin color, etc. But maybe not such a stranger, because I’ve learned, over the last dozen years, that if a comment on the site is signed rtha, it’s worth paying attention to.

In the context of MetaFilter, for a long time I read your name as rtfa, before finally figuring it out. Since then, whenever the hawks migrate through this part of Maine I think of you.
posted by LeLiLo at 10:18 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]


rtha, thank you for being such a positive part of this place we share. I hope that you are surrounded by love.
posted by Songdog at 11:05 AM on November 10


Sad news, a presence that will be sorely missed. Hugs to all.
posted by Artw at 12:08 PM on November 10


I just saw the news that rtha passed. I'm so sorry. My condolences, love and best wishes to gingerbeer and everyone in rtha's life.
posted by GuyZero at 12:11 PM on November 10


hugs and sending my thoughts for a peaceful hospice experience surrounded by loved ones <3 i've appreciated many of your contributions here, rtha, and am so sorry to hear this.
posted by augustimagination at 12:12 PM on November 10


gingerbeer has updated the caringbridge site with the news, so: rtha passed away last night. Sooner than we expected even with the fuckall good any sort of predictions there ever are. I'm heartbroken; I'm going to miss my friend and I'm going to miss having her be a part of this place that brought her into my life so many years ago. I'm so sorry, gingerbeer. We love you.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:14 PM on November 10 [85 favorites]


.
posted by ColdChef at 12:17 PM on November 10 [2 favorites]


Oh god.

.
posted by Stewriffic at 12:18 PM on November 10


Gingerbeer, I am so, so sorry to hear this.

Safe journey, rtha. I will miss your wise, kind voice here.

.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:19 PM on November 10


.
posted by mochapickle at 12:19 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]


.
posted by LeLiLo at 12:19 PM on November 10


.

I did not know RTHA well, but the times I talked to her she was warm and open and the world is a less bright place without her in it.
posted by bibliogrrl at 12:19 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]


.
posted by lazuli at 12:22 PM on November 10


.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:24 PM on November 10


.

Words fail. Love to you, gingerbeer.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:26 PM on November 10 [4 favorites]


I'm so very sorry, gingerbeer.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 12:29 PM on November 10


Been watching the skies this morning. I will look for rtha there, soaring, free. gingerbeer...I am so damned sorry. Get some rest if you can. Eat a little something. Come back to us when you're able.
posted by MonkeyToes at 12:31 PM on November 10 [12 favorites]


.
posted by Secretariat at 12:32 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]


🦅
posted by zachlipton at 12:40 PM on November 10 [7 favorites]


I 'm so sorry, gingerbeer.

.
posted by Caduceus at 12:43 PM on November 10


.
posted by Grangousier at 12:45 PM on November 10


She was fierce, funny, kind, wonderful, the best of us. Truly.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:45 PM on November 10 [13 favorites]


.
posted by MT at 12:48 PM on November 10


.
posted by HandfulOfDust at 12:49 PM on November 10


.
posted by Kattullus at 12:51 PM on November 10


I’m so very sorry, gingerbeer.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 12:51 PM on November 10


Oh gingerbeer, I am so sorry. This is awful and sucks.
posted by kimberussell at 12:52 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]


So sorry, gingerbeer.
posted by chaoticgood at 12:56 PM on November 10


Gracious. With care and affection, I’ll remember her each time I see a hawk. Not exactly clacks, but not exactly not clacks.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:57 PM on November 10 [4 favorites]


I’m so sorry.
posted by Dip Flash at 12:59 PM on November 10


I am so sorry, gingerbeer. She was so loved in this community.

.
posted by Fig at 1:00 PM on November 10


rtha had all those qualities that makes MeFi a great community -- warm, thoughtful, loving, kind, and snarky.

My love to gingerbeer.

.
posted by dw at 1:06 PM on November 10 [9 favorites]


.
posted by mynameisluka at 1:08 PM on November 10


I am one of the lucky ones who got to meet rtha in person over a decade ago, and through her I met gingerbeer, and became close friends with many other MeFites here. I'm a better person for having known rtha. She was the wise, cool, older cousin I never had.

So many in jokes and cat photos sent between us over the last decade. I will miss you my friend and fellow viking.

One of my favorite photos of Yorvit.

And Gin. one of my favorite in jokes.
posted by mrzarquon at 1:09 PM on November 10 [11 favorites]


I'm so sorry. Much love. <3
posted by xarnop at 1:11 PM on November 10


.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 1:18 PM on November 10


Well, crap. I'm so sorry, gingerbeer.

.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:26 PM on November 10


I’m so, so sorry. She’s so lovely and she will be missed so much :(
posted by h00py at 1:36 PM on November 10 [3 favorites]


"You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point you'd hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you'll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they'll be comforted to know your energy's still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you're just less orderly." - Aaron Freeman

I don't know, but I always found this comforting.

Condolences, gingerbeer and to all rtha's friends.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 1:44 PM on November 10 [75 favorites]


I'll miss you so much rtha.

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posted by mathowie (retired) at 1:44 PM on November 10 [8 favorites]


Garbage. This is a great loss, and unlooked-for. Best wishes to you as you grieve and heal, gingerbeer. You and rtha will both be in my thoughts.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 1:45 PM on November 10 [3 favorites]


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posted by Elementary Penguin at 1:47 PM on November 10


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posted by msali at 1:49 PM on November 10


Dammit. I’m so very, very sorry, gingerbeer. rtha was a bright light around here.

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posted by MexicanYenta at 1:53 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]


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posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:58 PM on November 10


Oh no, I'm so sorry. I valued her voice tremendously.

For what little use condolences are: condolences. I read rtha's posts. I looked for her name. She touched my life and my thoughts. I mourn her passing, internet stranger though I might be.

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posted by jokeefe at 1:59 PM on November 10 [4 favorites]


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posted by waviolet at 2:00 PM on November 10


gingerbeer, I am so sorry for your loss. It was great to have met you and rtha, and jessamyn always looked forward to seeing you both whenever she was in the Bay Area.

Also, MeFi, I am sorry for your loss as well. She was another of the voices that attracted me to the site in the first place.

Long may you run.
posted by not_on_display at 2:03 PM on November 10 [6 favorites]


Gingerbeer, I am heartbroken for you. I'm so so sorry.

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posted by ChuraChura at 2:05 PM on November 10


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posted by skye.dancer at 2:09 PM on November 10


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posted by rhizome at 2:13 PM on November 10


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God damnit, this is terrible. gingerbeer, I'm so sorry. Without even meeting either of you, you have both opened my eyes to so many perspectives that I might never have known otherwise. You have both been guiding lights in how to try to be a better person - in real life, on the wider internet, and here on Metafilter. She will be sorely missed.
posted by soundguy99 at 2:21 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]


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posted by suelac at 2:21 PM on November 10


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posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 2:21 PM on November 10


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posted by spinturtle at 2:30 PM on November 10


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posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:36 PM on November 10


Goddamnit.

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posted by lazaruslong at 2:37 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]


Oh my dear rtha, I am so sorry. You make this place, this world, so much brighter and warmer and informative. I discovered a love of hawks in recent years, and I wish that we could have met so you could have laid down some of your raptor knowledge on me. Life is so so fucking unfair and I wish you and gingerbeer all the comfort and love possible in the remainder of your journey.

Here is my boy Lloyd, whom we said goodbye to only yesterday. He was with me for over 16 years, and I miss his wee face so much.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 2:42 PM on November 10 [2 favorites]


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My deepest condolences, gingerbeer.
posted by Neely O'Hara at 2:43 PM on November 10


Adding a .

I'm so sorry Gingerbeer.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 2:44 PM on November 10


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I am so sorry. We will miss her, and I hope her spirit is flying high.
posted by sciatrix at 2:55 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]


I saw a hawk swirling over the neighborhood this afternoon. I'll take that memory as my memory of her passing. I'm so sorry to all her family and friends and to you, gingerbeer. I will really, really miss her presence here.
posted by Miko at 3:01 PM on November 10 [5 favorites]


condolences... rtha has always been one of my favorite metafilter members... peace...
posted by HuronBob at 3:02 PM on November 10


I'm swearing loudly at the Universe now. It's not worth much at all, but it's the best I can do.

My condolences, gingerbeer.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:04 PM on November 10


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I spent the last few days trying to think of something worthy of how much I enjoyed seeing rtha’s comments here. I’m so sorry gingerbeer.

I can send you some knitted socks. Warmth sometimes helps in times like these and can be like a hug from far away.
posted by bilabial at 3:15 PM on November 10 [2 favorites]


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posted by brujita at 3:20 PM on November 10


My life was so much richer for having known rtha, she was one of those magical friends who I could catch up with the same way whether we'd seen each other the week before or years had gone by. She was the first person I talked to about so many things, her perspective always being thoughtful and insightful. I'll miss comparing new tattoos, hearing her light up talking about sparkling water on tap, and the feeling of rejuvenation after spending time with her.

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posted by Nimmie Amee at 3:22 PM on November 10 [4 favorites]


Years ago she invited me to go up to Hawk Hill to do a hawkwatch because we were talking in a thread about birding and I had never been. I ended up having to cancel at the last minute and then I moved to Costa Rica about a week later. I moved back to the Bay Area but never made it to a meetup due to my weird social anxiety so we never ended up meeting, but I know we had mutual friends/acquaintances because of the hawkwatch and because Bay Area birding is a small world in general. I'm really sorry we never got to meet, and all of my condolences to gingerbeer.

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posted by primalux at 3:33 PM on November 10


I am so sorry. We will honor rtha at the temple burn at catharsis on the mall tonight.
posted by Space Kitty at 3:33 PM on November 10 [2 favorites]


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posted by anastasiav at 3:58 PM on November 10


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May her name be a blessing.
posted by ottereroticist at 3:59 PM on November 10 [8 favorites]


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posted by tangaroo at 4:01 PM on November 10


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posted by Going To Maine at 4:01 PM on November 10


god damn it. i'm so sorry.
posted by rotten at 4:09 PM on November 10


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posted by cgc373 at 4:27 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]


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posted by ITheCosmos at 4:35 PM on November 10


Gingerbeer, I am so sorry. I am holding you and rtha in my heart tonight. Rtha made an exceptional impression on me; I very quickly learned to perk up and pay attention when she posted. She made this site a better place through her intelligence, her fierce defense of those in need, and her compassion. I'm glad I'm not the first person to compare her to a celebrity -- I really did think of her as MeFite royalty. I attended a Bay Area meetup a few years back, and, isn't this silly? but I didn't realize she was queer. As someone who has spent a lot of time struggling to live her truth, I looked up to her in new ways after that night. You were there, too, and both of you had such sharp, joyful senses of humor. Please feel all the love from this community -- you are both so deeply cared for. She will be missed deeply.
posted by missmary6 at 4:38 PM on November 10 [4 favorites]


To : rtha
Date : May 9, 2013 11:02 PM
Subject : burds
Message :
Last week I was at my granny's house in Topsfield, MA. On the computer screen in the living room was the Cornell RTH nest and across the room on the TV was the web cam that they had set up in the sparrow house in their backyard (with night vision somehow because it was dark in there). It was feeding time in both nests.

Plus we were drinking Manhattans.

You are possibly the only other person in the world who would appreciate this. :)


Back in 2013 I had the pleasure of sending you this MeMail and every time I see your name or think of you I remember this note and your happy, excited response.
----

I just scrolled up and saw the news. gingerbeer I'm so sorry you - and we - have lost a beautiful, vibrant soul. Remember that her life enriched those of thousands of people, I hope that can give you some comfort.
posted by bendy at 4:39 PM on November 10 [7 favorites]


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posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:47 PM on November 10


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posted by Wordshore at 4:53 PM on November 10


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Always someone I'd stop to read.
posted by mephron at 4:55 PM on November 10 [2 favorites]


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I'm so sorry, gingerbeer. She was one of the first names I started to recognize on mefi for her kind, forthright, perceptive comments.
posted by zeptoweasel at 5:08 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]


She used to work in my town, and she and I would meet up for lunch occasionally, which I always enjoyed greatly. I was always a little awestruck by her even though she was never anything other than genuinely kind. I'm having a hard time finding words for this to describe what impact she had on me, but I am a better, more compassionate, more sticking-up-for-the-underdog kind of person because of her.

My deepest condolences to gingerbeer.
posted by ambrosia at 5:14 PM on November 10 [5 favorites]


No. no no no. Gingerbeer, I’m so sorry. If I can miss her as bad as I do from “just” a website, I can only imagine how hard this is for you. All my love.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:18 PM on November 10 [8 favorites]


Rtha I'm so sorry and I'm taking the time here to say I will be better, be more active, more rightfully angry for you.

This just, it just fucking sucks. I'm so sorry gingerbeer
posted by litleozy at 5:28 PM on November 10


Dearest gingerbeer. I am so sorry for your loss. May rtha's name be a blessing.
posted by Sophie1 at 5:28 PM on November 10


As a gay man you've made me so much more unapologetically comfortable being me. I cant express it, I just miss it
posted by litleozy at 5:31 PM on November 10 [5 favorites]


My deepest condolences Gingerbeer and all who knew her, may you find peace and comfort in your happy memories of rtha.

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posted by NoraCharles at 5:39 PM on November 10


Thank you all so very much. rtha was able to read much of this thread earlier this week, when she could still focus on it. She died very peacefully. I was holding her hand, and she just stopped breathing, in her sleep. She was very ready to go, although it was sooner than we had anticipated. Friends and cats were all here with me. I've got lots of friends taking good care of me at the moment, including desuetude. I haven't gotten it together to plan logistics for a memorial, but I will, and will post the information here and on the caringbridge site for people who want to be there.
posted by gingerbeer at 5:40 PM on November 10 [140 favorites]


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I got to meet rtha once getting close to 8 years now and I haven’t forgotten that meeting. She was clearly an amazing force in the universe, and i always looked forward to seeing her comments here, which were always thoughtful and sharp.

I am so sorry, gingerbeer. My deepest condolences to you.
posted by gc at 5:49 PM on November 10


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*sigh*
posted by mudpuppie at 5:50 PM on November 10 [4 favorites]


gingerbeer, I'm so glad you are surrounded in person with supportive friends.
posted by Stewriffic at 5:51 PM on November 10 [3 favorites]


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I am so sorry for your loss, gingerbeer. It's a loss for Metafilter as well as the Universe.
posted by honey badger at 6:12 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]


I'm so sorry, gingerbeer.

Just logged into Mefi expressly to post a kitty pic and say how much rtha's comments here have meant, and how good she was, and how much better Mefi was for having her like I tried to do yesterday but was too sad to face the empty comment box.

It made me happy that she saw and favorited this small in-joke I made years ago. And I'm happy that I did mefi-mail her my thanks a couple of times over the years.

Cat pic.
posted by Zed at 6:23 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]


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posted by Kangaroo at 6:29 PM on November 10


I’m so sorry. Fuck cancer.
posted by amro at 6:31 PM on November 10


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posted by stet at 6:34 PM on November 10


Tears here. I'm so sorry, gingerbeer.

rtha - wherever you are, I can honestly say I will draw strength from your comments and your spirit. I'll always remember the schmoopy.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 6:35 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]


It sounds to me as if rtha found herself in a perfect moment and decided to stay. gingerbeer, thank you for building a home for her in your heart. I picture her riding the air currents now with a fierce hilarity, noting all the goings-on below with a sharp and practiced eye. And always, always, always knowing where home is.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:45 PM on November 10 [23 favorites]


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Fuuuuuck. :(

I'm so sorry, gingerbeer. Des, please, please hug the crap out of gbeer for me? I'm too far away and suddenly I really need a hug. I haven't seen you guys in years but I'm suddenly feeling this one hard, that this is a major loss for me. I know I was once a worry and stress in your lives at some level, I can't even begin to tell you how much you've both helped and led just by existing and being a positive example.

I remember railing at my mom for supporting Prop 8. "MOM YOU JUST FORCED MY FRIENDS TO GET DIVORCED AGAINST THEIR OWN WILL BY THE FORCE OF LAW FOR LIKE THE SECOND OR THIRD TIME AND THEY'VE BEEN TOGETHER FOR LIKE 10-15 YEARS. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU!?"

posted by loquacious at 6:49 PM on November 10 [5 favorites]


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gingerbeer, I met you and rtha briefly, many years ago, at a meetup at East Burn here in Portland. We sat at one of the tables on the patio with a little firepit in the middle and I remember we were talking about roasting marshmallows over it though I can't recall if we actually did or not. We didn't really have time to properly get to know one another, but it was long enough to learn that you are both lovely people and I was glad to have had the chance to meet and spend time with you both.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 7:03 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]


I have been taking comfort in reminders from people on this thread that rtha's voice will always be with us here in the vast archives of MetaFilter. I was browsing back through some of her older comments and found this video she posted of the fog pouring in through the Golden Gate, taken from the Marin Headlands (looks like Hawk Hill to me but I could be wrong).

I am so glad for all the words and pictures we have to remember her.

More hugs to you, gingerbeer.
posted by kristi at 7:21 PM on November 10 [2 favorites]


Hi gingerbeer, just know that for someone who only knows her through her insightful and kind words on this site that I can only imagine that a life with her must have been so wonderful.

I'm so sorry.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:42 PM on November 10 [3 favorites]


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posted by Alterscape at 7:52 PM on November 10


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posted by tzikeh at 8:13 PM on November 10


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rtha was one of the people that made me go "this place is cool" back my my early days, she had so much intelligence and wit and just decency. This fucking sucks. I'm so sorry gingerbeer.
posted by supercrayon at 8:40 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]


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rtha, you are very much missed. My deepest condolences to gingerbeer and all who loved her.
posted by mogget at 8:44 PM on November 10


oh gingerbeer, I'm so so sorry. rtha was a treasure and this hurts so much

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posted by barchan at 8:49 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]


So, so sorry. My heart hurts for you. May her memory be a blessing.
posted by bookmammal at 8:50 PM on November 10


I am so sorry.
posted by Mchelly at 8:55 PM on November 10


You are both so loved.
posted by St. Hubbins at 8:58 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]


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posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:03 PM on November 10


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posted by michswiss at 9:10 PM on November 10


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posted by sardonyx at 9:12 PM on November 10


gingerbeer, I am so, so sorry. Much love to you.

rtha's last comment on the Blue, in its entirety, was "That was amazing." There's something so beautiful about that. I'm trying to put into words what I mean but I'm crying and I've been there and one of my closest friends just found out last night that her mom has months at best and fuck cancer so I hope you understand. She will be deeply missed, but you know that, and I'm glad she knew that, too.
posted by Ruki at 9:30 PM on November 10 [22 favorites]


I am so sorry, gingerbeer. Any words I can offer are sadly inadequate to the task but know that rtha made me laugh out loud a hundred times and her departure leaves the world a poorer place for her absence.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:07 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]


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posted by elerina at 10:29 PM on November 10


rtha and gingerbeer where great friends when I visited SF and I causally brought them around NYC when they visited.

I don't have any words just ...shit
posted by The Whelk at 10:47 PM on November 10 [6 favorites]


I think rtha was the first person I met on Metafilter and later heard as a real human voice taking to me, in the car with Ambrosia Voyeur, on the phone giving us directions to our first meetup.
posted by contraption at 11:13 PM on November 10 [5 favorites]


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Glad you are with friends gingerbeer, so sorry.
posted by ellieBOA at 11:42 PM on November 10


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posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:58 AM on November 11


Such sad news, so many lives touched.
posted by emd3737 at 3:51 AM on November 11


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posted by yarrow at 5:07 AM on November 11


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posted by Faint of Butt at 6:00 AM on November 11


Many condolences gingerbeer. I only met rtha once nearly a decade ago but I've always been a fan for lack of better word. She made this place better. She made the world better, just in this thread she touched so many lives, I can think of no better tribute.
posted by French Fry at 6:01 AM on November 11


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posted by Kwine at 6:43 AM on November 11


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posted by moonlight on vermont at 7:27 AM on November 11


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posted by iamkimiam at 7:36 AM on November 11


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posted by Flitcraft at 7:38 AM on November 11


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posted by Akhu at 7:39 AM on November 11


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posted by Gorgik at 7:42 AM on November 11


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posted by XMLicious at 7:44 AM on November 11


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posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 8:04 AM on November 11


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posted by ZeusHumms at 8:05 AM on November 11


I saw this thread just the other day and now I see I've spent far too much time trying to compose a post that would let rtha know that there's a stranger on the other side of the world who stops and reads carefully every time they see her name on a post (and yours too gingerbeer) because I count you as important voices in my small queer community and have had such comfort and wisdom from your comments. A number of people mentioned "cool older cousin" and that rings very true. I am so sorry for your loss gingerbeer, know that youse are being thought of with care and have touched lives around the world.
posted by Iteki at 8:09 AM on November 11 [21 favorites]


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posted by lollymccatburglar at 9:09 AM on November 11


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posted by tonycpsu at 9:22 AM on November 11


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posted by purplesludge at 9:29 AM on November 11


Well, fuck. I'm so sorry for your loss, gingerbeer. Peace to both of you and your families.
posted by Pax at 10:01 AM on November 11


Yet another mostly-lurker who has for many years been very grateful for your perspective and presence, rtha. One of my favorite presences here.

This time of year I think of you because that chocolate pie your friend makes that you generously shared years ago saves the day every year at some point around now for me by being so, so simple/easy but always a winner. I have always loved the way I could sense, right through the screen, your love for the world, along many dimensions and manifestations "big" and (seemingly) "small", and your dedication to appreciating and defending it fiercely, to the fullest.

Sending you and gingerbeer love and gratitude. Thank you for being exactly yourself and sharing that so generously and vividly.
posted by ifjuly at 10:45 AM on November 11 [3 favorites]


Oh no. I'm so sorry.

I tend to be a bit aloof here and... most places, so I wouldn't expect there to be a lot of name recognition going the other way, but I definitely noticed who she was - probably originally because she was another person talking about harm reduction/addiction/drug policy stuff but on a lot of other topics thereafter. She will be missed. She is missed already.
posted by atoxyl at 10:48 AM on November 11 [1 favorite]


Augh now I see awkwardly I should have read the whole thread before posting...I'm so sorry gingerbeer. Wishing you hugs and peace.
posted by ifjuly at 10:48 AM on November 11 [1 favorite]


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posted by (Over) Thinking at 10:54 AM on November 11


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posted by shmurley at 10:56 AM on November 11


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posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:26 AM on November 11


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Big, big hugs to you gingerbeer.
posted by fraula at 11:34 AM on November 11 [1 favorite]


I'm so sad – I came in to say that while I visited the crows and parakeets today, I wasn't able to get proper photos of them due to the rain. I did say hello to the two crows who always greet me on my runs, and told the parakeets not to eat all the seeds on the trees yet because I needed to get photos of them for rtha. They whizz around and pick off these big long seed pods, it's funny watching them take off with the things as they're longer than they are. I hope rtha gets to see all the birds she wants wherever she is now, and that she has plenty of kitty cuddles and love.
posted by fraula at 11:42 AM on November 11 [13 favorites]


I'm more of a reader than a poster, but I definitely recognised rtha's name and associated it with thoughtful, kind, open-hearted advice. My condolences to the family and all who are mourning this loss.
posted by Halo in reverse at 11:59 AM on November 11 [3 favorites]


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posted by mayurasana at 12:34 PM on November 11


Oh no. Such an interesting voice and such an evidently good person. And she seemed as fierce and direct and true as she was kind. Gingerbeer I'm so so sorry for your loss.
posted by glasseyes at 12:45 PM on November 11


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posted by hydropsyche at 12:49 PM on November 11


gingerbeer, I am so sorry for your loss.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:58 PM on November 11 [2 favorites]


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posted by lovermont at 1:08 PM on November 11


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posted by misteraitch at 1:39 PM on November 11


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posted by jquinby at 1:40 PM on November 11


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Gingerbeer, please know we are many who think of you and are sorry for your loss
posted by mumimor at 1:55 PM on November 11 [4 favorites]


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posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 2:14 PM on November 11


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posted by jadepearl at 2:17 PM on November 11


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I am having hard time reconciling Kanani's death with the vitality I knew her to have and share. Even though I only saw her sporadically, her wit and light fill my memories of her. After the first meetup I attended where she was present, her outgoing and welcoming personality made me want to keep coming back. I was one of the lucky ones who got to sing in our ill-fated Do-Re-MeFi glee club, and later on when she heard that I was helping form a new a cappella group, she made a point to tell me how happy she was that I had found a place to sing. It was during a time when I still didn't know how to respond to compliments, and her sincerity surprised me. But it meant a lot to me, and really made me feel like I belonged. I'm deeply honored that I got to know her and bask in her light even a little bit. gingerbeer, my heart breaks for you and all those who were close to her. Much love to you.
posted by sarahnade at 2:19 PM on November 11 [10 favorites]


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posted by gauche at 2:22 PM on November 11


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posted by audi alteram partem at 2:33 PM on November 11


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posted by clew at 2:44 PM on November 11


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posted by ewagoner at 2:48 PM on November 11


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I had no idea she was ill. I'm so sorry, gingerbeer.
posted by maudlin at 2:49 PM on November 11


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posted by book 'em dano at 2:52 PM on November 11


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i met both rtha and gingerbeer at a meetup in oakland a number of years ago and they were both as delightful in person as you would expect from their thoughtful contributions on the blue and the green. gingerbeer, i’m so sorry for your loss.
have no doubt that rtha made the world a better place by being in it, even for people who only knew her from words on a screen

posted by murphy slaw at 3:19 PM on November 11 [9 favorites]


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This hurts. We've never met and now we never will. Good travels, rtha. As long as we'll be here to remember you, you're never really gone.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:35 PM on November 11 [3 favorites]


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posted by fizzix at 3:36 PM on November 11


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posted by romakimmy at 3:48 PM on November 11


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& virtual hugs to gingerbeer
posted by symbioid at 4:13 PM on November 11


Ay, I'm shocked and so sorry to be reading this. What a sharp, wise, principled and good person I had the luck to have met here (and briefly at a long-ago meetup).

Gingerbeer, sending love across the Bay. Now I know why we are all walking under grey skies today. I hope you are being held and heard right now and being kind to yourself.
posted by latkes at 5:41 PM on November 11 [1 favorite]


she was one of mefi's gems.
posted by brujita at 5:42 PM on November 11


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posted by limeonaire at 6:20 PM on November 11


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posted by Afghan Stan at 6:23 PM on November 11


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posted by OHenryPacey at 6:29 PM on November 11


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posted by Wobbuffet at 6:32 PM on November 11


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posted by Hermione Granger at 6:37 PM on November 11


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posted by slater at 7:38 PM on November 11


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posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 7:48 PM on November 11


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posted by dilettante at 7:57 PM on November 11


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Gingerbeer, my partner and I met you and rtha briefly at aubilenon's eggnog meetup earlier this year. Peace be with you in this difficult time.
posted by Munching Langolier at 8:45 PM on November 11


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posted by spork at 9:00 PM on November 11


Well this is terrible bullshit. We are all poorer for the loss of rtha. I always loved their contributions here. I'm so sorry, gingerbeer.
posted by agentofselection at 9:20 PM on November 11 [3 favorites]


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posted by Jubey at 9:45 PM on November 11


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posted by infini at 12:21 AM on November 12


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posted by Juso No Thankyou at 2:05 AM on November 12


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posted by lapolla at 3:44 AM on November 12


my heart goes out to you, gingerbeer.
posted by lapolla at 3:46 AM on November 12


This might help some. How to Grieve Online Friends You Never Met in Person. (New York Times)
posted by Stewriffic at 3:49 AM on November 12 [11 favorites]


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posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:58 AM on November 12


Love—to everyone. To all of us. Life is fucking short, but thankfully it's beautiful and full of cats.
posted by heyho at 4:20 AM on November 12 [5 favorites]


rtha, thank you for being. It was always a little pleasure to read your words, thank you for making the world brighter even for this internet stranger. Sending all my love to you, gingerbeer, life fucking cheats and steals the best among us.
posted by lydhre at 4:29 AM on November 12 [1 favorite]


I've been avoiding this thread because even the title made me hurt. So instead, here's something else that happened on Saturday.

I have access to a lot of books. Particularly books about the state and community I live in, with a focus on the history and stories of those who have lived in the margins of our community, specifically the black and immigrant communities. I actually have far too many of these for one person, and multiple copies, especially in my office, so I filled a bankers box full of them and got in the car with my 14-year-old son and his best friend (maybe boyfriend? they seem to be flirting with the idea), and we drove around the city we live in and whenever we saw a little free library, one of the boys would jump out of the car, I'd pop the trunk, and they'd grab two of these books and add them to the little free library. Like a modified paper route and without the need for a subscription. Between little free libraries, we were driving slow enough that they could still play Pokémon GO. They loved it. They filled their coffers with shinies and rares. Every now and then we'd have to intentionally drive to a specific place so they could refill their inventory with Poké balls, but between the little free libraries, and Pokémon GO, we spent three delightful hours slowly traversing the city and offering more inclusive options to the city's little free libraries.

At one point, on a quiet and tree-lined street near one of the local synagogues, I was startled to see a red-tailed hawk swoop down and grab a squirrel. "Guys! Guys! Look! A hawk just caught a squirrel!" They looked up from their phones just in time to see the hawk flying away with the squirrel tail streaming behind it like a kite. It didn't go far, landing in a large bare tree nearby. I slowly inched the car forward until we were right under it. It was beautiful. I opened the moonroof and we looked right at it, studied it. The boys took pictures with their phones. But as soon as they tried to get out of the car the hawk and its prey were gone.

It's because of people like rtha that I would ever be inspired to do what we did on Saturday. It was one of the best days of my year. I had so much fun with the boys, and that hawk was just awesome. I'll think of her whenever I see a hawk again. And forgive me for thinking it was her I saw on Saturday. Just checking in before the next stop on her journey. Inspiring me to be a better person. Reminding me to take a moment for awe.

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posted by Stanczyk at 5:09 AM on November 12 [37 favorites]


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posted by Rock Steady at 6:23 AM on November 12


I’m so sorry for your loss, gingerbeer. rtha always struck me through her comments as an incredibly kind person. I’m almost certain that we interacted a couple times in different threads, though I don’t recall exactly when, but I do remember a solid sense that someone who I’d never met cared about me without having met me in real life, and that carried me through that time. She will be missed by many, and as you mourn, maybe you can take some small comfort in that there is an entire community that aches along with you.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:35 AM on November 12 [4 favorites]


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posted by porn in the woods at 6:47 AM on November 12


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posted by Laura in Canada at 6:58 AM on November 12


I am so sorry, gingerbeer.

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posted by minsies at 7:20 AM on November 12


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posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:26 AM on November 12


💧
posted by pjern at 7:42 AM on November 12 [2 favorites]


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posted by freezer cake at 8:22 AM on November 12


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posted by Lawn Beaver at 8:32 AM on November 12


It's a chill morning in Austin, and spattering some rain, it's gray in various depths and also there's mists in the gray. I'm finishing a cup of coffee, had a nice small breakfast, somehow rtha came to mind and I decided to come here to this thread and ask gingerbeer to let rtha know that she is on my mind on a very pretty Austin morning. And now I can see that it's you, gingerbeer, you who I'm telling about this pretty morning.

You've got to be hurting, I'm ever so sorry that you're in this, I'm wishing you peace and warmth in your morning. I don't know why it is that sometimes grief shared is grief lessoned, maybe it's because there's more of us carrying it, we're all of us together in it.

Peace, that's my wish for you on this pretty morning, gingerbeer. I wish you peace.

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posted by dancestoblue at 8:33 AM on November 12 [5 favorites]


I walked outside just now and heard a Gray Catbird, late-to-migrate. Thought it was an actual cat at first. Then I saw a Red Tailed Hawk fly from the telephone pole in my backyard.
posted by Stewriffic at 8:38 AM on November 12 [6 favorites]


I saw a red-tailed hawk take off from a field yesterday, and had a pang of pain. rtha, you were kind and thoughtful, and helped remind me to be more of both of those.
Gingerbeer, I am so sorry for your loss and for your pain. No words.
posted by dbmcd at 9:14 AM on November 12 [4 favorites]


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I am so sorry, gingerbeer. rtha was a special person.
posted by beandip at 9:29 AM on November 12


I'm so sorry. Always kind and insightful, so often funny, a unique and beautiful spirit shone through her words. Wishing strength at this awful time, to those who were fortunate enough to be close to her.
posted by tardigrade at 9:32 AM on November 12


I am having hard time reconciling Kanani's death with the vitality I knew her to have and share.

I just re-opened this thread and I'm still coping with this exact thing. I knew I had a favorite from rtha not long ago, and my last favorite from her is me ribbing Burhanistan in the capslock day thread. It feels like... a plucked flower in my hand, like I can watch it wilt in a sped up time lapse, knowing there will never be another.

Time is a cruel, sharp arrow.

Getting a fave from rtha always meant a lot to me, as it means I was either funny or I said something important and I said it clearly and well.

One of the smoothest moments (and favorite memories) of my fucked up comedic timing was when I had a bunch of mefites over to the art/music co-op I was part of in SF, and rtha was there with gbeer, her eyes glittering intensely as she did when asking questions and being playful, and I was talking about some of the challenges of having 20+ mostly insane artists living in such close proximity and I remember making the statement of something like "and one of those problems is the obvious and rampant alcoholism..." while simultaneously pulling a metal hip flask from my back pocket and taking a big long pull of vodka as punctuation.

Rtha laughed a lot at that one, and seemed to be the only person in the group that actually caught the joke from start to finish.

And I wish I could say I was actually being clever but no I just wanted a nip because I was really anxious trying to be "on" for so many sharp people.

And fuck I'm weeping again. And there's a forest right out my door to go keening in...
posted by loquacious at 9:42 AM on November 12 [10 favorites]


“To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.”

- Rachel Carson
posted by ChuraChura at 10:23 AM on November 12 [11 favorites]


Like many others, rtha’s comments were always a joy for this internet person to read. She will be missed.

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posted by oomny at 10:44 AM on November 12


I am so sorry for your loss, gingerbeer. Rtha was a caring, intelligent person and I always enjoyed reading her comments, and I always had a little spring in my step whenever she favorited one of mine.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:58 AM on November 12 [2 favorites]


Oh no, I'm so sorry gingerbeer.
posted by jamaro at 11:03 AM on November 12 [2 favorites]


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I never met rtha, and I didn't interact with her directly often on MeFi -- very few interests in common, opposite coasts, it happens. But every time her handle popped up in a thread I was reading, I knew I should pay attention. Her humanity and wisdom shone through clear as day just through white text on a blue background. Thanks for sharing her with us, gingerbeer.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:22 AM on November 12 [2 favorites]


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posted by thivaia at 11:54 AM on November 12


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posted by TravellingCari at 11:55 AM on November 12


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posted by Coaticass at 12:19 PM on November 12


So sorry to hear this.

I had an interaction with rtha after I was talking about a sensitive subject a little too callously and being attacked for it, one of those things I cringe when looking at now. We had a long civil memail discussion and I apologized. One of the times MeFi has helped me become an adult way later than I should have.

Thanks to rtha for being an outstanding member of this community, and my condolences to gingerbeer.
posted by bongo_x at 12:23 PM on November 12 [14 favorites]


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posted by Julnyes at 12:38 PM on November 12


I just found out about all of this... Oh GODDAMN gingerbeer I am so, so sorry, my heart goes out to you. Will be holding you in the light with all my heart and soul, she was one of the good ones, the best ones.

I met rtha one time at an SF meetup about a decade ago and I liked her SO much, one of my favorite people, I was so sorry to miss seeing her when I was there last January. We chatted occasionally, not often enough, when I moved to the west coast this month I thought oh good now maybe I can see rtha and gingerbeer more than once a decade! Fuck. Fuck cancer and she was young, too young, we are all diminished by her loss.

And I repeat, GODDAMNIT. I was honored to consider her a friend. I will miss her.
posted by mygothlaundry at 5:56 PM on November 12 [3 favorites]


I just saw this awful news now. I met rtha and gingerbeer once, three years ago when I was in the Bay area, and meeting them is one of the things that sticks out the most from that visit. They couldn't make the meetup I proposed, but they invited me to an art show a friend of theirs was holding the next evening. They were both so welcoming - talking to me for a large portion of the evening when I'm sure there were probably many of their friends in attendance - and I remember that still, even after their faces faded from memory.

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
― Maya Angelou
posted by unannihilated at 8:19 PM on November 12 [7 favorites]


Fuck. I'm so sorry.

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posted by brennen at 9:14 PM on November 12


Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:22 PM on November 12 [1 favorite]


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posted by Dysk at 2:26 AM on November 13


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Thinking of you, gingerbeer.
posted by en forme de poire at 4:01 AM on November 13


This is so sad. My sincere condolences to anyone who needs them.
posted by Namlit at 6:06 AM on November 13


I'm so, so sorry. I always enjoyed listening to what she had to say.
posted by brilliantine at 6:08 AM on November 13


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posted by Rube R. Nekker at 7:07 AM on November 13


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Another bird-loving queer here who absolutely adored rtha's existence in this community and beyond. I'm so sad that I didn't log in sooner this week so I could have relayed my respect from afar. We have a real live RTHA nest on our farm that is a baby-hawk factory which now will also serve to be (at least to me) a living memorial of an entity who I never met, but who meant so very much to me. My deepest sympathies, gingerbeer.

Toward those short trees
We saw a hawk descending
On a day in fall.
- Masaoka Shiki
posted by ikahime at 8:29 AM on November 13 [14 favorites]


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posted by alleycat01 at 8:32 AM on November 13


Thoughts from one long timer to a departed one.

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posted by josher71 at 8:42 AM on November 13


This is awful. I'm so sorry for your loss, gingerbeer. Rtha was an amazing person and this site and the world have lost something irreplaceable.

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posted by East14thTaco at 9:13 AM on November 13 [2 favorites]


So sorry to hear this. I'd always looked forward to meeting rtha in person. This is a great loss for all of us here.
posted by vacapinta at 9:17 AM on November 13 [5 favorites]


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posted by of strange foe at 12:42 PM on November 13


I'm so sorry for your loss, gingerbeer. My heart goes out to you.

I met rtha and gingerbeer at a MeFi meetup a few years back, when I first moved to SF. I always meant to go back because they were so lovely and friendly to a relative stranger, but didn't find the time. I regret that now.

Thank you rtha, for being such a wonderful part of our community.

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posted by so much modern time at 1:02 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]


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posted by Halloween Jack at 1:32 PM on November 13


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posted by churl at 1:47 PM on November 13


I'm so sorry. I loved her comments. I feel lucky to have met rtha and you, gingerbeer, at aubilenon's Scotch meetup years ago. Later, rtha helped me ID an owl in my backyard as a Western Screech Owl. I quote her at people all the time. ("I know someone online, her username is rtha, that stands for Red-Tailed Hawk cuz she's a serious birder, anyway, about this issue, she said once that...")

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posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 3:33 PM on November 13 [4 favorites]


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all my love and my fullest condolences gingerbeer
posted by jasper411 at 4:02 PM on November 13


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posted by pb (retired) at 8:31 PM on November 13


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posted by MsVader at 9:19 AM on November 14


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posted by NOFL at 10:04 AM on November 14


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posted by dawkins_7 at 11:29 AM on November 14


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posted by Thella at 12:14 PM on November 14


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posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 12:30 PM on November 14 [1 favorite]


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posted by ambrosen at 1:13 PM on November 14


Oh I’m so sorry gingerbeer. rtha was one of the first MeFites whose name I recognised. I never met either of you but reading about her death was like a kick in the guts. God knows how you’re feeling, I can’t even imagine your loss. It’s so sad to lose such a presence, I always experienced her through her comments as wise and grounded, and funny. One of the people you’d like to meet and have a drink with. I’m sad I’ll never get to and I’m sad for you being left without her. Sending my love to you, and to rtha.

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posted by billiebee at 1:39 PM on November 14 [2 favorites]


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posted by Frayed Knot at 1:41 PM on November 14


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posted by col_pogo at 5:29 PM on November 14


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Fuck cancer.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:00 PM on November 14


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(One of those moments where this little tradition doesn’t feel like enough)
posted by nubs at 6:14 PM on November 14 [3 favorites]


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I'm so sorry. I saw quite a few Red-tails perched on the poles along highway 1 on the way down to Santa Cruz this weekend and thought of rtha each time.
posted by gyusan at 7:18 PM on November 14


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posted by gudrun at 7:22 PM on November 14





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posted by jenquat at 10:31 PM on November 14


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posted by kalessin at 10:34 PM on November 14


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