Gramercy Park, This is an Emergency! Our Ellie is gone…

Where are you sweet Ellie?!!!!   You left without saying goodbye!!   What the heck?! This is not the way it was supposed to be!!  You fought so hard, for so long, you kept your cool and kicked ALS’s arse so many times that I thought you were going to be THE ONE, the freaking one to beat it! … You deserved it, You earned it !  What the bloody hell! …. YOU DID!  You know what I mean?!

I was waiting for your next stories… you said you had so much to tell us… you promised! …or did you?  I thought you did…  Your last post was so beautiful!  It took my breath away! “The Journey Home” … what a gift you gave us!  -perhaps you knew?  I’m sure you knew it wasn’t this home you were talking about, that’s why you had to come back so desperately… –  The post was magnificent,  just like you my dear, witty, naughty, irreverent you, incomparable and unique YOU, dearest Ellie…  THANK YOU!    God Bless you!!!-   I’m so glad you got to do that, I’m so glad you left France on a high note and I’m so glad you had that magic opportunity to reconciled with your beloved Provence… It couldn’t have been any other way!  You were able to have everything you always loved and enjoyed so passionately and fiercely, in one magic place for one last time … I’m grateful you made it home to your precious Santa Barbara, I’m grateful you made it to “Merica”, that’s all you wanted!

Are you running in Gramercy Park now Ellie?  Are you finally carefree, blissful, unafraid?!  Are you jumping up and down, and skipping over the cracks of the sidewalk, peering into the bottom windows of the brownstones you wanted so bad to be able to afford?  Are you doing all that like you said you would?!   Tell me you are spinning around in circles, hair floating, arms stretched as far as possible, head in the clouds like you always had, face lifted towards the sky staring into heaven with eyes wide open … Please… let us know you are!

I wonder….  If we were really careful, and would pay really close attention, and would keep really quiet … I wonder if we would we be able to hear your laughter mixed with the wind blowing through the treetops and among the roses…

I think you are in Gramercy Park right now…I can almost see you…now you don’t need to bargain with God for five more minutes of freedom anymore my dearest and bravest Ellie, YOU GOT IT … you are finally free, unbounded and limitless…You are finally Home.

Here is one of my favorite post of yours, “Don’t Mind if I Do, Gramercy Park” one that moved and touched every fiber of my soul. I want people to read it and get to know you, I want everybody to have that joy….

What are “We”, your “imaginary friends”  -like Gracie used to call us-   going to do without you?!   It seems like we were part of something special and magic that others won’t be able to understand…  I’m going to miss people I don’t even know!  I’ll especially miss   Penelope Bianchi,  Stephen Andrew,  Heather of Lost in Arles, La Contessa , Hollie of The silver Pen , so very dearly, and others I got to know over there in your brilliant, hysterical, smart, emotional, profound, refreshing, and freakingly honest BLOG  Have Some Decorum

I guess is time to say goodbye … but it seems I’m not able to do that just yet … I’m not ready…it’ll only have to be  à bientôt for now…   I LOVE YOU sweet Ellie O’Connell, and I’ll be seeing you in my dreams.

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And here you are, for those of you who don’t know you, with your husband David, the French guy.   Ashtonishingly  beautiful !

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And here You are with Gracie, Amazing Grace, like you liked to called her!

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…. and here you are with mom… “Look, I can walk!” That’s what you said about this picture!! You blew my mind !  You really never lost it….  you were the coolest chick in town, and still are,  your spirit keeps going on for ever ….

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Don’t mind if I do, Gramercy Park…

 

In Manhattan, New York there is a very special park called Gramercy Park. This park is so special that it’s private and can be only accessed by those #LuckyDucks who live on Gramercy Park. And they get a key. The golden key to Gramercy Park. Be jealous, be very jealous.

But, guess what? As part of an old New York charitable holiday tradition, the gates to Gramercy Park are open to us losers on Christmas Eve! The Gramercy Park church, Parish of Calvary St.George, will also be having carolers starting at 6 PM in the park. This is absolutely not to be missed!

You may be wondering why I am so excited about this. Well, it’s hard to even write this without crying, but Gramercy Park happens to be the last place I was before, minutes before, I was diagnosed with ALS. I thought that I would let you guys in on a chapter of my book about it. I should have my book finished by March but I thought you guys would like a preview of the Gramercy Park chapter.

Here it is…

Gramercy Park

Gramercy Park on the lower East side of Manhattan has always held a special place in my heart. The name alone just sounds cool. Then there is the Gramercy Park Hotel designed in part by one of my favorite artists, Julian Schnabel, with its amazing color scheme of rosy reds, Fire King green and sapphire blues. Then there is the architecture of the brownstones around the park. A little village within a big city. And then there is the garden. The secret private garden to which only a lucky few hold the keys.

I always feel like a little part of me is still in Gramercy Park. Like a little bit of me is still wandering around the park… The part of me that doesn’t have ALS.

As I walked out of the offices of 1stdibs on my lunch break casually walking to the neurologist office for what I thought would be a quick appointment, I never imagined that this would be my last carefree walk. Physically it was not a carefree walk because I had a strange limp and I was worried that every crack in the sidewalk would cause me to fall flat on my face. Mentally, all I was thinking about was the beautiful park.

I walked past the church at the corner of the park and I remember saying to myself, “On my way back from the neurologist appointment, I need to stop at the church and check out their little thrift shop.” I was thinking that I needed to come back to the Gramercy Park Hotel for cocktails later that week with my girlfriends. I was thinking, “God, I wish I could afford one of these brownstones around the park.” My mind floated around thinking how beautiful and lush the little garden was and if the residents who held the coveted key to the garden could grow tomatoes in there.

What I was thinking about was just… Nothing. Now all I think about is… Everything. That five-minute walk in Gramercy Park was the last trace of who I used to be. That girl was like you… She had worries but they were just regular worries. Can I pay my rent this month? Is Gracie getting good grades in school? Does David love me more than his ex-wife? Why are my friends such bitches? Will I ever forgive my father? You know, regular worries. My days were normal…wake up, deal, go to bed. I walked around Gramercy Park that day with my head in the clouds and what I would give to go back to that day.

Sometimes I close my eyes and try to remember that moment in Gramercy Park before I walked into the doctor’s office. I can see it, feel it, smell it and almost taste it. I want to remind myself of who I was before and what it felt like to be carefree. I haven’t been carefree since that day. I want to cherish those few moments and have them emblazoned in my soul so I don’t ever forget what it was like… Before.

Sometimes I beg God to just let me have those few moments of liberty back. Let me just walk around the park again without knowing my fate. Let me be ignorant, let me be blissful, let me be unafraid. If I could just have back a few moments… I would run around that park smelling every flower letting myself get pricked by a rose thorn. I would pop into the hotel and grab a cappuccino. I would peer into the bottom windows of the brownstones. I would skip over the cracks of the sidewalk. I would walk down the tiny broken steps of the church thrift store and pick things up and put them down at my leisure. Hell, I might even stretch out my arms, lift my head to the clouds, start spinning around in circles and sing a little song. At the end of my allotted time, I imagine I would try to renege on my deal with God and I would ask for more time. Don’t make me go forward to my life with ALS. Let me just stay in this park without ALS. Just give me another few minutes… This time I will cherish it, I promise.

So I encourage all of you to get over to Gramercy Park on Christmas Eve…

 

Ellie xoxo

25 thoughts on “Gramercy Park, This is an Emergency! Our Ellie is gone…

    1. Thank you! I feel lost, as weird as it might sound, I haven’t been able to shake this feeling since yesterday, we really are going to miss her. Aren’t we? Remarkable spirit, beautiful warrior, finally home with the Angels.. Thank you for your comment

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  1. I am heartbroken. I think we were all hoping for a miracle, even though we knew it wasn’t likely. Ellie touched all of us very deeply and there is a sigh around the world in her passing. She will be dearly missed.. An antique French bamboo hall tree stands proudly in my home. I bought it from Ellie’s store and it came all the way from Paris seemingly wrapped by elves. I had wanted something tangible to remember her by. I am so happy to come upon your blog post. I know there hundreds, if not thousands of us around the world connected by the thread that is Ellie.

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    1. Thank you for those words Laura, they describe how we feel so well, you add fortunate to have something so beautiful and tangible to remember her by… I wish I had bought something, now we have our collective memories and the changes she inspired and started on us…

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  2. Thank you for posting this. I have been meandering online looking for more of Ellie. Isn’t that strange? I will go back to her blog at some point. For now, I will be glad for living/walking/breathing and this weekend I will, at least once, spin. Here’s to Ellie and her soaring spirit. ~Nicole in CA

    p.s. The link to your favorite blog post of hers appears to not work. If you mention its title I can search for it myself. Thank you.

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    1. Hi Nicole! We Are twin sisters on the feelings and about what we want to do! Let’s spin and twirl around for her and hopefully with her! I’ll check the link when I arrive home but in the mean time it’s the article I included at the bottom of the post about Gramercy Park. It made me cry and leave my room on a day I was feeling sorry for myself… Let me know what you think about it… 🙅🏼🙅🏼💗

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      1. Of course, the blog post is right there. Sorry to have you go to the trouble of pointing out the obvious to me! It’s so intimate -how generous is her spirit- and it is so moving, full of emotion, we can feel the immediacy of her wanting to go back like wanting summer when winter is nipping at her toes. She was compelling by being real. Thanks for pointing out this one. It’s beautiful.

        p.s. I did spin once already and I wonder if Ellie was giggling when I stopped and I realized the slight dizzies – I giggled too as I grabbed the door frame!

        Spin safe! xoxo, ~Nicole

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  3. This is a beautiful post for a friend that most of us have never met but love her and will miss her so much. Thank you so much for this … I absolutely loved every single word and loved you for writing how uniquely special she was to all of us. xo diana

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  4. I will miss her so very much! Thank you for this post. Have you seen the post from this evening on Adrienne Carrere’s (Ellie’s Friend) Instagram account? Such a beautiful tribute…

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    1. Hi Renee, thank you! I’ll look for Adrienne’s post right away, thank you for letting me know and for sharing your feelings here .. . I saw Adrienne’s comment about Ellie’s passing in Heather’s blog (from Lost in Arles) or in Stephen Andrew’s blog. I’m looking for “Her” everywhere as well… Many hugs xoxo

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  5. Thank you for posting this. I remember the cozy evening I read this on her blog. My heart literally seized and then broke. Her words were so descriptive, her thoughts so generously raw, and heart breakingly touching. On the flip side, she could make me choke on my chardonnay laughing!
    What are we going to do without “our” Ellie?
    I’m still grieving. Still re-reading her blog, still looking for her…
    Is that weird? I’ve never had my heart touched so intimately by someone I’ve never met. xx

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    1. Hi Kate! You are describing my sentiments exactly… It’s not weird at all, I’m doing the same thing you are doing and this is proof of us being energy and spirit, not the outer limited shell. We are looking for each other, people from all over the world with the common thread that is Ellie, she connected us kindred spirits! A big hug to you and thanks for stopping by. xx

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  6. We could all see the end coming, but were hoping against all odds that she would pull through just one more time. Ellie was a shining light in the blog world and all of us who “knew” her (yes, I felt like she was a close friend – just like the other Idontknowhowmanythousand followers she had) are better people for having had her in our lives, even if for only for a few months/years. Thank you for your touching tribute.

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    1. Thank you @Zsuzsa for those heartfelt words about our Ellie, we undoubtedly miss her… I hope she knows that, I feel that she was the spirit that bonded us together and now that she’s gone we are lost and alone, more than ever… Xx

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  7. Was this your last blog entry? I follow you on Instagram as I also live in Miami and I am an Ellie afficianado who admires your sensibility and style. I do find myself so drawn into her world, and it’s not one that can be easily explained to the uninitiated!

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    1. Hi Valerie, thank you for following, I believe it was my last entry, every time I think about Ellie I feel so embarrassed for stopping but I didn’t feel like writing any more, maybe I’ll give it another try very soon. I’m glad to know you are in Miami, maybe we should organize a get together for all of Ellie’s friends who live in Miami or even in Florida!

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