Theresa Duncan was found dead on July 10, 2007. The official cause of death was suicide as a result of the combined ingestion of diphenhydramine and alcohol (Nytol & Bourbon).
Her longtime boyfriend and artistic partner Jeremy Blake killed himself a week later, having been seen by an anonymous 911 caller taking off his clothes and walking into the Atlantic Ocean near Rockaway Beach. His death was confirmed five days later when his body was found off the coast of New Jersey.
Friends of the couple say Jeremy and Theresa believed that they were being followed and harassed by Scientologists up to the point of their deaths.
Somewhere betwixt liberating my white-tailed deer 2008 mini-desk calendar and this Ypsilanti chill, I neglected to mention Theresa Lee Duncan's final posthumous blog entry.
We last heard from Theresa in late October when an unknown turned up on her site as "editor" and told us she had left a post to "appear automatically on this date". It was October 29 and it was a ghost story as told to Dick Cavett by Basil Rathbone, the British actor most famous for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. It was random but the story was quite creepy.
So then we were warned, if not teased, by the mysterious "editor" that Theresa had one last trick up her sleeve; a final post automatically set to detonate on New Years Eve. Well, it did. But I'm just seeing it now.
It's a long winding, albeit quite famous, quote from Mr. Thomas Stearns Eliot, and for the love of brevity we'll call him T.S.
Theresa has left us with an excerpt from Eliot's famous "Four Quartets" collection. The four parts being: Burnt Norton, East Coker, The Dry Salvages, and Little Gidding.) There is also a link to this poetry blog.
Eliot considered "Four Quartets" to be his masterpiece. It draws upon his study, over three decades, of mysticism and philosophy.
Each of the four poems, running to several hundred lines, is broken into five sections. Although they elude easy characterisation, they have many things in common. Each begins with a rumination prompted by the geographical location in the title; each meditates on the nature of time in some important respect - theological, historical, physical, and on its relation to the human condition.
Also, each poem is associated with one of the four classical elements: air, earth, water, and fire. A reflective reading suggests an inexact systematicity among them--as if they were verse essays; they approach the same ideas in varying but overlapping ways, and do not necessarily exhaust their questions.
Theresa left us with a piece from East Coker. East Coker is a village in Somerset, England from which Eliot's ancestors emigrated to Boston in 1660.
T.S. Eliot visited East Coker in 1936 and 7 and his ashes are buried in the churchyard.
Inside the church at East Coker is a plaque memorialising him. It contains the words of his chosen epitaph, the opening and closing lines from East Coker:
OK then, Theresa Lee. Rest well, won't you? Rest for the rest of us.
“In my beginning is my end
In my end is my beginning”.