“A Difficult Life, a Difficult Loss ” – by Kennan Kellaris Salinero
I met Evelyn about seven years ago. I was interested in her Grandmother, Mileva Marić, Albert Einstein’s first wife. I contacted her because we were considering using Mileva’s name for our non-profit organization (Yámana Science and Technology.) But, we moved away from women’s issues in science, toward the whole system of science. We no longer needed to use Mileva’s name.
Instead, I found a person who suffered, as my two sisters do, from chronic illness. Evelyn was in a great deal of pain and was trying to keep up with her own needs while living alone. I could not help one sister, the one who lives in Australia, but I could help Evelyn. So I did.
Evelyn became like an adopted mother, or a favorite Aunt to me, overtime.
As time went on I became more and more central to her very survival. After she passed I found out how difficult this was for her, and that she struggled with this dependence on me. But we were close friends for the past six years. I am likely to be the last person who spoke to her. I ended our call at 10 PM on April 12th, the day before she died, with the words, “I love you.”
I treasured our friendship, though it created a heavy demand on my time and my family. I loved Evelyn’s curiosity and her gift of interesting, intellectual conversation. As Evelyn’s friend Ruth shared in her eulogy, Evelyn was a kind human being, with a great deal of compassion for people. She spoke often of her friends, many of whom are here today. Though in her grouchiness she would complain of their actions and failures, she would also keep up on what was happening in each of your families. She carried her concern and love for each of you in her conversations and in her heart.
I continue to be amazed at Evelyn’s fortitude in living with so much pain, in a life that I would not have chosen. We often spoke about this – it is my strong belief that Evelyn’s curiosity is what kept her alive. She was, in her own estimation, a deeply spiritual person.
I also feel that her spirit is embracing her beloved animals, most certainly her favorite dog, Rico, who appeared in her dreams throughout her life.
Evelyn deeply touched each of us, in a very complicated and sometimes difficult way.
I will miss her greatly.
Kennan Kellaris Salinero