It’s taken me a while to get back to musing on a Monday and I apologise. It was a fabulous but busy Christmas period with the fun of what I called The Suitcase Hop, visiting family and friends in the UK. So, in total contrast from Terry Anne’s gloriously decorated house, I confess to doing nothing, nothing more than buying a poinsettia and a Christmas cactus and putting up the cards that arrived. I’m a lazy old so-and-so at times but not being in our own home over the festive period never fills me with enthusiasm to deck those jolly old halls either.
But something else happened that robbed me of my festive spirit. It happened on the 12th of December, a day that was slated my sole day of festivities in Holland that year. At noon it was the Christmas lunch of the fabulous professional women’s network to which I belong. Then, by six, I was drinking prosecco and listening to a live band at the start of Ian’s work Christmas dinner. It’s rare I have a day when I have the need to reapply make up and sort out a second posh outfit, but this was one. But then things took a chilling a turn.
I do not approve of folk who look at their phone during meals, particularly celebratory ones, but around 8 pm, as we waited to be waited on with our starter, my phone pinged. No one was looking, so I hoisted my little purple handbag from the back of my chair and took a peek at my phone down on my lap.
Dear Jo, didn’t know the best way to reach you. Have you heard the dreadful news about Lindsay? it was Ilana, author of Expat FAQs, Moving to and Living in the Dominican Republic. Lindsay de Feliz, another of our authors, was her friend. Ian’s colleagues and their wives didn’t seem to have noticed my rudeness.
No! Not sure I can bear for you to tell me… I replied, hurriedly replacing my phone in my bag and turning to smile at the chap who was placing my salmon mousse in front of me and continue my conversation with the lady on my left. I wasn’t really listening. Lindsay? Lovely, funny, strong, patient, determined, Lindsay? I went cold. My phone pinged again. I simply had to pick up.
She’s went missing Tuesday and today we heard the terrible news she had been murdered near her home.
For the rest of the meal I was incapable of conversation and sat there, pushing salmon then venison round my plate desperate for the coffee course so we could leave. I’m Lindsay’s publisher. I worked with her closely on the manuscript and knew her well. This wasn’t social chitchat. It was serious and I had to tell the rest of the team who had worked with her and loved her too. They’d want to know before the press started calling them.
Before the end of the meal I had decided how to honour her. Lindsay had come to us in 2011 with an amazing story and no experience of writing stories. But boy oh boy did she have a story to tell, quitting her marriage, career, home and life in the UK to teach diving in the DR, she had gone on to fall in love with a local and get embroiled in local derring-do. First, we published What About Your Saucepans, and later its sequel. Her book reached bestseller status on Amazon and Lindsay created an impressive social media following. We would create a new writer’s bursary in her honour. We would help another new expat writer to get their memoir into print.
And so, less than a month after that fateful series of messages, theLindsay de Feliz New Writer of Expat Memoir Award is open for applications. Ilana is one of the judges.
I hope that, in some small way, this will help Lindsay to live on.
Rest in peace, wonderful soul.