Rest in Peace, Trish Creekmore

Trish Creekmore, tattooed and underwater, just like she liked itThis morning on Facebook I learned that my friend Trish Creekmore (pictured above) lost her long, fierce battle with cancer, leaving behind a devoted husband and two school-aged girls. What a trail she blazed for them, dancing fiercely as she did with her ugly disease, managing to spin life still into something full and beautiful. She and her husband documented the chapters of their cancer saga online, along with their determination to travel to globe with their girls while they still could; in the past two years alone, they ventured to Costa Rica, Africa, Peru, China and more. For a heartbreaking, life affirming, dazzling read, take some time to explore their site, It's a Creekmore World.

I wish Facebook created an archive of our status updates and the comments they inspire, because the last thing Trish ever said to me was through a comment there. I had just blogged for the first time since giving birth to Alison, and she wrote that my post was beautiful, and captured new motherhood so well, and that she couldn't believe she'd lived to see me become a mother. When we first met, I was sure I didn't want kids, and was also a fairly anal, type-A workhorse who stood in stark contrast to her cool-customer, take-no-shit self. It's amazing to look back on myself then, and see how much I've changed and grown. I hardly recognize that 20-something girl, though actually, I guess I feel a certain tenderness for her. There was so much she didn't know. And Trish by contrast knew so much, and I didn't realize it at the time. She was my boss for a time at PBS, and in my first performance review, she said her only real piece of advice for me was to relax. What a thing, for a boss to say to an employee! She was right. I needed to take it down a notch. It was the best piece of advice I received in my 20s, though I didn't realize it til my 30s.

Trish and I didn't see a lot of each other but met up for lunch at SXSW a couple times in recent years. The last time I saw her we were eating Korean food at a place called Koriente. I told her Jordan and I were thinking we might want to have a baby - maybe. She nearly jumped out of her seat, screaming. She couldn't believe it. She was so happy for me. 

I remember being with Trish on 9/11. We were at the office, and were processing what we'd just seen on the news. She almost started hyperventilating, thinking about her the fact that her daughter's daycare was located in the same building as a satellite company, and could that be a target?

She used to always say "me and Cindy did such-and-such" instead of "Cindy and I," despite her masters in journalism from Columbia. I don't know why that sticks with me so much, but it does - when I hear her voice in my head, I hear her saying, "me and Cindy..."

Trish came to an improv workshop that Jordan and I led at SXSW, and when we needed volunteers, she raised her hand high, and jumped right up, her bad-ass bleached-blond post-chemo self, punk to the end, and said that she'd never done improv comedy before, but had done plenty of improvised dance. She was a dancer to her core. Her husband, David, posted this article by Helen Hayes on the healing power of dance to Trish's Facebook wall recently, saying dance had been such a source of strength for her; apparently Trish studied with Hayes directly.

Here are other things I know about Trish:

  • She loved David and their girls fiercely (there's that word again, "fierce" - it just suits her)
  • She lived in San Francisco before it got corporatized in the dot-com boom, and was a dancer there.
  • She was a travel writer (for Let's Go, I think) and did it only so someone would pay for her to travel. I've never known anyone with such a ravenous appetite for travel.
  • She was passionate about scuba diving and loved heavy metal and video games.
  • She loved the trapeze.
  • She was one cool cat.

Rest in peace, Trisha. Me and you will see each other on the other side.