Today a comment arrived on the Loom that deserves a post of its own. It concerns a death of a reader of this blog.

But first, some background:

In April, a reader named Abigail sent in this tattoo, with the following description:

My first year of college, I wanted to be an English major, and I took Intro Chemistry to fill the science requirement. The brief unit on thermodynamics made me fall totally in love. Entropy made sense to me – scientifically, philosophically. I became a Chemistry major and love every second of it. I got the tattoo to mark my rite of passage – Entropy going both ways, with its symble delta-S in the middle, all supported in the roots of Yggdrasil, the world-tree of Norse mythology (harking back to my English-lit days).

Today, Abigail’s mother sent in this sad note:

Abigail is my daughter. I was with her when she got this tattoo last March, several months after she turned 18, while she was attending Reed College in Portland. It was an adventure for both of us. She came home for the summer in May, and four days later was in a fatal car accident.

I will be getting this same tattoo next week – Abigail’s personal design – from the same artist. It will memorialize both my daughter and her intellect and passion for science and philosophy.
The world has lost an incredible mind. Thank you Mr. Zimmer for displaying this artwork and sharing it with visitors to this site.

All great human passions have the same thing in common: a possibility to live on, in the minds of others after their original mind has passed. A tattoo is an outward sign of that inward connection. We will remember Abigail, and we will give her mother our deepest condolences. May Yggdrasil‘s branches continue to grow within us all.

0 thoughts on “Requiem

  1. The Rotary Club of Wickenburg and Tamara Thomas, mother of Abigail Garcia, have partnered to create and manage the Abigail Garcia Memorial Scholarship fund. Contributions can be made to the Abigail Garcia Memorial Scholarship Fund c/o Wickenburg Rotary and sent to P.O. Box 1018, Wickenburg, AZ 85358, or contact Thomas at 231-1415.

    Donations have poured in from many sources, both to the account that Thomas set up for the scholarship and directly to Rotary. The fund has grown significantly; the annual scholarship amount could reach $3000 or more. Combined with the strength of the existing scholarship program of the Wickenburg Rotary, the Abigail Garcia Memorial Scholarship should provide assistance to deserving students for many years.

    See more of the story at:

    All our best Abigail and Ms Thomas, you remind us to always strive to our own.

  2. My thoughts are with Abigale’s family. She sounds like an amazing person and I would have been honored to know her. She also wins kudos with me for combining the beautiful Norse Mythos with her love of science. May her example inspire many others.

  3. How incredibly wonderful of her mother to take into permanence that which her daughter cared for enough to do the same.

    My best wishes to her family and friends.

  4. How very sad to lose such a young person whose intellect was starting to open to the world like a rosebud. My condolences to her family and friends.

  5. Intelligent, imaginative and creative. And that’s just from looking at the simple photo of her tattoo. I’m sure there was so much more. I’m sad for the world’s loss of this bright young woman. My condolences to her family and friends.

  6. I was moved to tears just from reading her description of her tattoo and falling in love with the idea of entropy and chemistry–I’m a poli sci/philosophy major in the same situation, as I find myself falling in love with quantum particle theory and theoretical astronomy.

    And then I read her mother’s note, and wept.

    Abigail, wherever and however you may exist now, you are an inspiration.

  7. Thank you for this website article. I wanted to share another side of Abigail, whom I only just “met” today. On May 23, 2008, my mother had a double lung transplant. On May 23, 2009 we celebrated her one year birthday with a new life. At this time, my mother initiated contact with her donor’s family (via her transplant team). Today, I learned that Abigail was my mother’s donor. What a beautiful letter Tamara sent. It was a little story of who her daughter was and through her words, I felt as though I had a little glimpse of her daughter’s spirit. What two amazing women. One taken far too early in life and one to live on alone, but obviously imprinting that spirit in everything she does. When my mom finished reading the letter, of course crying the entire time, she said, I feel so honored to have been chosen to recieve such an amazing child’s gift. We feel truly blessed, and honored, to have been given a second chance. I say we, because I am her caregiver and I went through every step of the transplant process with her. I can promise you, this gift will not be wasted. My mother seems to have a very similar spirit to that of Abigail and Tamara. She is overly friendly, kind, generous, smart and funny. We now feel a deep connection to the young girl who gave her life so my mother could live. We are forever grateful and could never say thank you deeply enough. We are truly, truly sorry for your heartache. God Bless you in every way.

  8. Today, I randomly stumbled across this website, hardly expecting to find this distinctive picture of my friend Ava’s tattoo. Ava, the name Abigail gave herself at Reed, was truly a pleasure to know. She was a kind and remarkable girl, and I consider myself so lucky to have had her as a friend. I remember how excited she was about this tattoo, and it has always been one of my favorites.

    I think it’s beautiful that Ava has given life to others, and the donation of her body to science and medicine embodies the selflessness with which she carried herself every day.

    I miss her constantly, and I will be carrying her with me when I cross the graduation stage this spring that she, too, was supposed to pass over.

  9. I never met Ava, although I have met and assisted thousands of students in my nearly twenty year career as a university employee and now college programs manager. Ava was affiliated with a program that I now oversee and I had occasionally run across her name on historical lists in my files. All I knew about her initially was that she passed away while traveling to her internship at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station. Then today, a rather dissatisfying work day, I again ran across her name on a list. And of an unexplainable reason, I decided I wanted to know more about Abigail Garcia. What I learned in reading brief information on only a couple of sites was that Abigail “Ava” Garcia was nothing short of truly exceptional. In her brief and amazing life she demonstrated the power of intellect when combined with curiousity and passion; something not commonly found in today’s youth. I smiled when I read that she had found an intellectual and emotional home at Reed College. I can only imagine how happy she must have been to be surrounded by others just like her–smart, inquisitive, and engaged in learning. And I could not help but cry at realizing all that was lost when she died. I wonder what she would be planning for her life at this time, the weeks before her graduation from Reed. Whatever it would have been, it would have been extraordinary–as was she. — Thanks to everyone who shared their story.

  10. I revisited this site today for the first time in almost two years. What beautiful comments and connections! Tears (which are never very far) flowed freely. Thank you all for your tributes to my amazing child. She lives on in so very many important ways. She is constantly holding my heart, hand, and head….

  11. I now share my daughter’s tattoo. The symbol she designed marks the headstone of her grave. It will be three years this May that she left me, and the pain and loss is still fresh. I am grateful to have connected with some of her organ recipients; I have met the man in whose chest my daughter’s heart beats. I have started writing about what I’ve termed my “grief journey” in hopes it might help others. There’s not much out there for parents who lose children. Shoot, there’s not even a name for us — not widow, not orphan — why is English so lacking here?

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