We are saddened to report the passing of Adrienne Colan, wife of Gene Colan, over this past weekend. Clifford Meth, pictured here at right with the Colans, adds this personal note for his friend.
The news hasn’t been great in the Colan home these last few months. If you’ve followed it, and if you’ve read between the lines, you’ve weeded out a kernel of truth and likely a whole cob of mistruths. And none of that really matters, now. It was all rubber-necking anyway.
But there are truths I’d like to share about Adrienne Colan, and chief among them was her and Gene’s love for each other. It read like an epic poem. The hardships and tragedies and obstacles were too numerous to count, but for half a century they remained at the center of each other’s universes. For richer or for poorer. In sickness and in health. For better or worse.
The Adrienne Colan you met at conventions was the real McCoy. She was tough and funny and uncompromising; warm and intelligent and spiritual. And her sense of humor was splendid. I think that’s where we met—at that dark crossroads where everything was tragic-comic. Our friendship existed outside of my friendship with Gene; we corresponded for decades, sharing dreams and fears.
And I guess I loved Adrienne. Now that the end has come amidst ashes and tears, I owe myself that honesty. I loved her attention, loved sending her a new story and when she got something I’d written and dissected it (and me with it); loved that she was intellectually curious about everything I shared and painfully honest with me…and with herself.
“Something I find fascinating about you is how you came to give yourself permission to live by your own standards without alienating those that love you and
you love,” she wrote to me last December, following a personal tragedy. “How and where does one go inside to know they have that right to live by their own truth? I’m so interested in this because I’ve always had a POV about how I need to live my life but continued to allow myself to be crushed by [others]… I’ve allowed their version of right and wrong choices to annihilate my world view. That’s what the weight is about. And I can’t begin to tell you dear Clifford how awful it is [for] one’s psyche to still be crawling my way out of that at the age of 67. At this age I feel I acquiesced to letting myself ‘die’… But I’m responsible, so I eat.”
And there it was—that dark humor inside the sadness. So I eat. You could hear her say it.