Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

She was grand. She was a novel native of today

[Amil Imani, that courageous Iranian patriot who Helen considered to be one of her dearest friends, sent me this email and asked me to post it. The beautiful poem seems to capture the essence of that bright star that was Aussiegirl.]

This poem is by one of Iran's best contemporary poets, Sohrab Sepehri. He died of cancer in 1981.

I would like to dedicate this poem to my everlasting friend, Helen, whose memory will remain with me until the end of my time.

Amil Imani

She was grand.
She was a noble native of today,

She was grand.
Her realm was all boundless spheres.
And she sensed, so intensely, the ways of water and the earth.

The tone of her voice pictured
the anxious sadness of the truth.
Her eyes recalled the live direction of the roots.

And her hands, one day,
waved tender steam of generosity
and floated us in the stream of care.

She played the intimacy of her soul,
And she portrayed the straightness of her love
in all sharp bends of her time,
for the mirrors.

She was alike the rain,
full of freshness of the flow.
She was alike the tree,
spread in the ease of lights.

She was always calling early years of the breeze
And she forever tied strings of her words
to the neat relevance of rivers.

One night, for us
she spelled so plainly the green prayer of innocence
that we reached out for the kind texture of the soil
and we revived alike refreshing accent of a pail.

Many times we saw:
with plenty of wooden baskets, she left
to gather bushes of golden plaques.

But it couldn't be
that she'd stand in front of crystal belief of the birds.
Thus she went to the limits of naught
and laid in the wake of white serenity of the lights.

And she didn't believe,
She didn't believe at all,
that within revolted intonation of the gates
we would be left massively alone.

Even to taste a piece of fruit,
we are now left extremely alone.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Aussiegirl's photo

I just discovered that the funeral home that will be conducting the
service for Helen tonight has a website, and Helen's photo is published

Here is the URL for the funeral home website.

If you click on "Sign & View Family Guest Books", you will get an
alphabet page. Clicking on "s" will get you to a list of names.
Clicking on "Schieber, Helen" will get you to the page with her photo.
The photo was taken at a favorite local restaurant on her birthday in 2003, hence a while before the need for oxygen confined her to her home. If I do say so myself, she looks radiant, a beautiful combination of beauty of face and soul -- with great intellgence thrown in.

There's also a guest book to sign if anyone feels so inclined. At
least now you can put a face to Aussiegirl!


[Here is an email I just received, which ties in with what I just posted above. I'll try to add more photos of Aussiegirl to this blog, but, since she isn't here to show me how to do it, it may take a while.]

David, I also would like to thank you for continuing to post any of Aussiegirl's writings.

I have two requests. The first has been asked by someone else as well. Would you consider posting pictures of Helen, maybe through her life, on this blog? Also, an idea: what if all those who were connected to Helen, personally, or through her blog, wrote a little something about their unique relationship to her and how it affected them?

I will be dedicating my next blog to her this weekend. Thank you so much. Strength to carry you through!

Lady Liberty

Aussiegirl, a shooting star

[Paulette MacQuarrie, one of Helen's many Ukrainian friends on the internet, sent me this email, which with her permission I am posting.]

David, thank you for carrying on Helen's blog. It will be bittersweet to read posthumously what she had written while she was with us, but still, perhaps it will be healing. And I'm sure she would have approved.

If you get a chance to read it, I posted a tribute to Aussiegirl at my blog

Words are so inadequate to describe how special she was. But as one of the many bloggers whose lives she enriched and illuminated, I managed to come up with this, which I posted as a comment at cybercossack.com. If you would like to post it, feel free. Regardless if you do or not, I hope that it will comfort you at least a little bit.


Every now and again a shooting star appears in the darkness of the night sky, and those who catch a glimpse of one consider themselves very privileged indeed.

I have never seen a shooting star. But to me, that is what Aussiegirl was in my life. I didn’t know her very long, in fact, had never even met her. Our friendship began, and grew, in the blogosphere. She helped me overcome my fears, gave me writing and technical tips, and encouraged her readers to visit my website and my blog.

How she found the time, while battling such a debilitating disease, to send encouraging and supportive emails and also share her thoughts and feelings, is a mystery to me. It just speaks to what a rare and precious gift she was.

I shall mourn this loss. But I will also be forever grateful for having had the great privilege to experience the beauty that Halya brought into the world, for a fleeting moment in time.

Vichnaya Pam’yat, Aussiegirl.

Monday, January 15, 2007

BonnieBlueFlag remembers Helen

BonnieBlueFlag asked me, David, Helen's husband, to post her beautiful tribute, which I am doing here. It then occurred to me that, although Aussiegirl is no longer here to comment on the passing political scene, with side trips to literature, science, and religion, her unique voice hasn't been completely stilled, since I have found several drafts of things she had written and then not posted. I want to keep her memory alive as long as I can, which means keeping her beloved blog going as long as I can. So I shall be posting these writings, hopefully not against her wishes. In addition, I've found several emails she sent to herself on her MSNTV site, and I shall be posting them also. I figure that almost everything that Aussiegirl wrote was of value, because of her wit, depth of thought, and ease of expression. One more reason to keep the blog going is so that her readers can dip into her archives -- she began Ultima Thule September 19, 2004, and since then she managed to publish 2457 posts on a dazzling variety of themes, from politics through literature to music.
Judging from the response, some 150 replies, to Lucianne.com's Memorial Thread, Helen as Aussiegirl touched many, many lives, and I feel blessed to have lived with such a dynamic person for some 32 years. May she rest in peace.

Our Dear Friend, Helen,

by: BonnieBlueFlag

The glow of my computer screen has dimmed ever so slightly, it probably would not be noticeable to anyone else, but for me it has lost the warm glow of knowing that Helen is there waiting for me just beyond the azure blue desktop.

We met via e-mails regarding Lucianne.com, just as she had met so many others, but something clicked between us, and we formed a bond that would last for a long time. Somehow we seemed to cram the story of our entire lives into our e-mails. I felt that I knew Helen better than most of the people who had been in my life for many more years.

After our first tentative e-mails to be sure that neither of us was a 13 year old boy in disguise, we discovered that in spite of our extremely different backgrounds, we had much in common, along with a great many quirks, foibles, and funny stories to share.

I knew from the beginning that she was someone special and very unique. Her heart and soul were just bursting at the seams to be out in the world and to be part of the action. However, her body was never as strong as her spirit, and fortunately for many of us around the world, the miracle of the Internet and her computer keyboard brought us to her doorstep.

Those of you who know that I was originally a contributor to "Ultima Thule," may think that I have been suspiciously quiet the last few days, but I have been unable to write more than a few words at a time without breaking down in tears.

John Donne's words, ". . . Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." keep running through my head, because Helen was most certainly involved with mankind, and we have all been diminished by her loss.

And while my grief feels unbearable at this moment, I would never give up all the e-mails we shared, or the mutual encouragement through troubled times and good times. Helen is forever firmly ensconced in my heart.

Helen loved all of you who responded to her, and believe me it took all of us to keep her mind vibrant and occupied. She had so many talents and interests that no one person could keep up with her. In turn each of us was somehow enriched by having known her.

My deepest sympathies are with Helen's beloved husband, David, and to her sister, Julie. I know their hearts are broken, and their lives will never be the same without the love, understanding, and enthusiasm, that she brought to them every day.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Final Aussiegirl update -- sad news!

This is a sad day for Ultima Thule readers: its creator and guiding spirit, Aussiegirl, passed away this afternoon at around 2 p.m. The operation was successful, but unfortunately the cancer, which it turns out had been working away symptomlessly for months, had already spread and was attacking her organs. Try as they could, her excellent doctors couldn't bring her system under enough control to allow them to start chemotherapy.

She was only 59, and had many years of wonderful writing and thinking ahead of her. She was already planning an article about her stay in the hospital -- what a treat we were robbed of, with all the insights and witty writing that she could have so easily given such an article!

She was very appreciative of all the prayers and good wishes that her many readers, from around the globe, sent her way. The cancer was too powerful, but they still gave her spiritual comfort -- and Aussiegirl was a wonderfully spiritual person.