Abigail Stearns Freeman, December 8, 1976 – June 1, 2014
We remember Abby as beautiful, inside and out. She lit up the room. She connected with you. She had high intelligence, high elegance, and high climbs. Most of all, she was loving and caring.
She was that way all her life. Her passion and joy as a friend, performer, wife, and mother never diminished. Over her last year, she fought her disease courageously, and suffered terribly. Through it all she continued her loving attention to those around her, with true grace.
Not that there weren’t times of intense fear. The type of aggressive, chemo resistant breast cancer she had is still rarely stoppable, particularly if not detected early, which tragically was the case, due to initial misdiagnosis as swelling from nursing. By the time she got a biopsy, her prognosis was extremely poor. Nevertheless she and the rest of us searched for a way forward, to maintain hope. She kept wishing, she said, for a happy ending to this story, wanting with all her heart, as all of us did, to beat this beast so she could continue to be there for Merlin, Owen and Julia. As each setback dimmed her prospects, she told us to “keep calm and carry on”, and ultimately wanted us to accept, as she did, that even though it wasn’t fair, her present journey would end not in the natural course, but prematurely. Bearing the unbearable, we are carrying on for our precious family, but with sorrow beyond words. We miss her.
Abby felt that prior to her cancer she had had a wonderful life—growing up in a warm family and caring community who supported her in pursuing her career dreams; a marriage of true love; a legacy of two beautiful, bright children; a record of reaching for and finding an outer edge of artistic adventure and accomplishment all over the world. She said she didn’t have a bucket list. She believed there would be something next for her, and whimsically said she would like to return as a dolphin because they are so sleek and strong, and play so joyfully and freely in the waves.
Near the end I asked her why she had chosen to be a theatrical performer. She said she loved the expressiveness of it, and the whole physical and mental process of creating a production with her teammates. She recalled that as a young teenager she would dance in her room for hours to Madonna’s music. And then she recalled the time she woke up one night terrified at finding thousands of tiny spiders on the ceiling, and that I had used a vacuum cleaner to get rid of them.
For each of us there will always be such heartwarming recollections of Abby in our lives. How deeply we loved her, and always will. When I told Abby that her light was shining, that her love, her goodness, and her spirit would carry on in all of us, she put her hand on my arm and added: “Forever”.
- Jack Freeman