I've gotten several emails and phone calls about Elissa's death and the lost Lenny music, and have new information for anyoe who happens upon this post needing it. It comes from Elissa's best friend Monica, and she sent me this:
Dear friends,She's going to email me soon on some of the details of Elissa's life in recent years to catch me up on some of the things I've mised out on knowing. Another friend, Tom Lewis of Tom Lewis Recording has been emailing as well. He's the one who initially told me that Elissa was gone, and it was at Elissa's insistence that Tom go out on his first date with his new bride Suzanne a little over a year ago. I found that info here Apparently they were working in 2001 on a new project called "Nectar", and in light of Elissa's death the musicians have decided to complete that work so that people outside the 10 or so that ever heard it can hear. I can hardly wait for that release.
It is with the heaviest of hearts that I email all my friends to let you know my best friend, Elissa Hadley, died today at 1:30 am of cervical cancer. Many of you met her at my bridal shower, wedding or baby shower. Elissa was the flame-haired bridesmaid who sang her original song "Day" at my wedding (and then later sold her CDs during the reception b/c she was bombarded with requests for them). She and I have been best friends since I was 6 and she was 7. Her parents still have photos, in frames on their bedside table, of Elissa and I as children. She is the Godmother to both of my children.
Elissa was 36 years old and had her cancer been caught earlier she might have beaten it.
In her honor, I want to impress upon all my female friends (and you men out there with daughters, wives, sisters, mothers) the importance of annual OB/GYN visits that include not only Pap Smears, but HPV tests as well. Paps are not enough! Elissa had a "normal" pap last November. Please talk to your doctor about HPV and cervical cancer. There are many types of HPV, some high risk and some low. Though the millions who have HPV won't all get cancer, your doctor can, via the test, determine your level of risk. I did this at my 6-week post-partum visit last month. Also, please try to get one smoker that you may know to stop smoking. It doubles a woman's chance of getting cervical cancer.
Elissa was first diagnosed in February 2006, treated for 6 weeks with chemoradiation and pronounced "cancer-free" in MAY. The last week of June, she spent the day at my house, seemingly completely healthy. Two weeks later, Elissa was readmitted to the hospital with a severe blood clot. Her cancer had metastasized and she was declared incurable 10 days ago and transfered to a hospice 8 days ago. And now she's gone...August 27th. It all happened so fast, which is very scary.
Here is a link to a very informative site regarding cervical cancer and it's link to HPV: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/HPV
Talking to your doctor and getting the HPV test is so simple. Please don't blow this off as something that happens to other people. I love you all and don't want anyone else I know to go through what I've witnessed over these past few months. She was like a sister and I'll miss her terribly.
Also, a mutual friend named Erin has put me in touch with Scott Simpson, the guitarist for Lenny and co-writer of these songs I adore so much. Scott didn't know she was sick as well, so it was also a complete shock to him. He is sending me a CD of Lenny songs, which elates me more than I can say in mere words alone. I cannot wait to hear it again.
I got in touch with two people from my past as well yesterday, my old friend Page who was the person that introduced me to Elissa for the first time and gave me my first copy of the Lenny tape. It was good to talk to her, but horrible to have to do it under those circumstances. She too had not seen Elissa in many years. It was also very strange to talk to her yesterday of all days as yesterday was the birthday of our friend Bennett, who died several years ago as a result of a diabetic seizure. Bennett was 6 months pregnant with her first child at the time and was alone when she died, so talking to Page on Bennett's birthday and remembering that the last time I saw Page in person was at Bennett's funeral was very difficult. To this day I have a difficult time thinking about that time because it still conflicts with the great memories I have of her. Sadness in general followed me all day yesterday, and I was determined that if Page were going to hear this news from anyone that it would be from someone she knew. It really did make me feel a lot better about everything stressing me out in general just to be back in contact with her.
Another very surprising thing was to find a post at a blog I read regularly called Firedoglake, (I linked to this yesterday) that was written by the blogger Thesaurus Rex - who just happens to be someone else I know from years back. He's possibly coming into Columbus this weekend from Athens to visit family, I really hope he does. I'd love to see him as well as hear the music he has from Elissa that he will bring down should he come my way. It will be really nice to get reacquainted with him, I regret not ever really trying to pursue a friendship with him when we were younger.
For now, I cannot bring myself to think about Robb or Frank, or Lynn or any of the other people whose deaths have just shocked me. But really, what a strange, small little world this is, and what an odd bunch of coincidences I'm experiencing. Here's another: Elissa sang on one of Billy Pilgrim's songs. Half of Billy Pilgrim is my friend Kristian Bush, who currently is half of Sugarland - the other half of which is my friend Jennifer Nettles. I wonder if they know about Elissa yet, I need to make another call later.
This weekend cannot get here soon enough.