OBITUARY

ERIN MICHELLE GILMER

September 27, 1982July 7, 2021

What happens when space is created? Connection, compassion, comradery.

Erin opened so many spaces. She filled them with brilliance and hope and despair and advocacy and love. She was treated unfairly again and again, in immense pain, yet she still made and held space. Space to listen, space to teach, space to create and build. She built so much: The Rights of People with Diabetes, Tips on Testifying, The Research Loop and Preface to Advocacy - to name just a few.

Her knowledge and desire to see health as a human right become a reality encouraged so many to do so much more. She had an incredible ability to push people's thinking and to circleback to fiercely loving those people and pets (Elliott and Kennedy most of all). Erin held pain and hurt and trauma. She taught others how to create space for that, and she kept holding her own pain, yet still had a wealth of compassion for the pain of others. She shouldn't have had to hold so much.

There are really no words for the injustice of her experience or the unsayable wonder, connections, and good she brought to this world. We are holding you, Erin, as all that you've given lives on and will continue to impact lives for the better. Now it's finally your time to be held - without pain - in the infinite space of the universe.

Written by Elizabeth Pfiester who also included this accompanying poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29

Quiet friend who has come so far, feel how your breathing makes more space around you.

Let this darkness be a bell tower and you the bell. As you ring, what batters you becomes your strength.

Move back and forth into the change.

What is it like, such intensity of pain? If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night, be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses, the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you, say to the silent earth: I flow. To the rushing water, speak: I am.

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Memories

ERIN MICHELLE GILMER

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Anne Marie Mercurio

July 17, 2021

Erin was a fearless advocate and fiercely protective of those she loved. She was a dear friend and I will miss her terribly.

She had remarkable insights and a way of speaking before groups both large and small, that drew you in, forced you to think more deeply, challenged you to be better. Erin, by using her authentic voice, has helped many to speak their own truth, to be vulnerable and to be brave in the face of adversity.

May we have the same strength to carry her memory and her legacy forward for the days ahead, and for generations to come, with the grace and dignity that she always displayed. May she rest in peace, and in power, and free of all pain.

Erin had more of an impact than she ever realized and impacted more lives than any of us will ever fully appreciate. If there was any doubt, here is a link to the obituary written by Clay Risen for The New York Times.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/17/health/erin-gilmer-dead.html