I learned from a good friend that David G. Hartwell died in a freak accident in his home on Jan. 20 at the age of 74.
David was a frequent attendee to Philcon and Balticon conventions, and it was a pleasure to see him time and again.
David would send me galleys of many authors to read. He would often suggest some great books to read when we would visit the dealers at the conventions. He recommended very highly the re-release of the “non”-SF of Philip K. Dick. I kept all of the Dick books that David was so high on.
God, the tragedies.
Losing the beautiful and talented Philadelphia broadcaster Jessica Savitch to a freak, stupid car accident in New Hope on Oct. 23, 1983; Isaac Asimov to AIDS as a result of a blood transfusion on April 6, 1992; and Hartwell, from falling down stairs.
From Kathryn Cramer, his wife’s, website, with the entry, “Til Death Did Us Part”:
I just awoke from this horrible dream that David Hartwell, my husband, had fallen down the stairs and died. And now that I am fully awake, it is still true, and I am still a widow.
It is something that cannot be true. It is as though one of the seasons, or one of the directions, up or down, has died. It lacks grammatical sense. Winter cannot die. Up cannot die. David cannot die. He just is.
Apparently, David fell from the top step backward and the trauma created brain hemorrhaging.
Kathryn wrote: “An artery in his brain had blown out, causing a massive brain bleed. He never regained consciousness. The glass of the door didn’t break.”
The idiom to “lose” one’s husband has in the past seemed to me so euphemistic, but I feel it’s reality right now. It’s like I’ve lost my car keys or my wallet. He’s here somewhere, if I just look for him. He’s got to be here.”
Somebody like David just doesn’t die like that. There has to be dignity to a death, a time, a place. Not this way. Not for David.