Helena the Fortunate (Hélène McNeill),

March 26, 2016, Baud, Bretagne, France
Buried in that town

Mistress Helena the Fortunate died in France, her chosen land. Helena started as a teen, in Caid, and later moved to The Outlands, where she held offices and autocrated and organized special events within events. She was cheery and bright. She was made premier of the Order of the Stag (Outlands kingdom service), a Mistress of the Pelican, and received other awards for service and for being an exemplary member of the group.

"My device is a heraldically 'natural' rainbow which means should have six bands.
The orange and purple are missing here."

"She changed my life in a number of ways, not the least of which was helping me learn the joy of service. She was unique, she was amazing, and she will be missed."—Master Balthazar

"I'm glad we got to hang out with her when she was so wildly energetic and happy. Lucky all of us!!”—Sandra / Ælflæd

Notes and some images: Mistress Helena Gabrielle the Fortunate


Notes for myself, mostly, but many shared with SCA household members then:
This is a debrief of a sort. I wrote what’s below to Annaliese, and thought some of the others of you might want to know. I’m putting the dates in now, for when I find it later myself.


I've known since late last Monday [March 21, 2016] that Helena was awaiting a liver transplant, for cirrhosis. I had not heard from her for a while, and had written to her sister a month before that to ask what was going on.

Veronique saw the message, but didn't respond. I waited a while, and then asked more pressingly.

She said Helena didn't want people to know, but she was going to tell me anyway. Veronique and I spoke by phone for quite a while. Helene stopped drinking last November. She had been drinking quite a bit. Wine. With the stomach bypass surgery she had years ago, it was particularly bad for her to have been drinking so much.

When I visited [Helena’s family in France] in 2011, Veronique had asked me, before I went, to see if I thought she was drinking too much. She was. But she was happy, and loved being in that town.

I was trying to get Holly an invitation to Jasmine's wedding. Some of the last correspondence I had had with Helena had been about that, but not recently. No go on that; they had a small package for relatives only. (Veronique checked and got back with me.) Now Jasmine's wedding will be postponed, I guess, as it was to have been April 8 (?) [I think April 9; it was in the phone conversation].

Veronique had said [on March 21] that her dad [Clayton Booker, Helena’s dad] wanted to call me, too; he was too sick to go to France to help care for Helene while Leon and the other kids would be here for the wedding.

He didn't call, though, and I had thought about it and so wrote this to Veronique this last Tuesday night:

I'm thinking if Helene didn't want me to know, it might be kinder for me to know very quietly, and not contact her, for now.

I can totally understand sometimes wanting people to leave me alone, so I don't mind if she'd rather have privacy or fewer witnesses or commentors.

Because Veronique didn't share the cause of death [online], I didn't either. I probably will on my obituary page, and I'll share what Balthazar wrote. Now that I've written this all for you, I think I'll send it to a few other people I haven't contacted yet. . . . .

Veronique's response, to what I quoted of me above, was this, on Wednesday this week:

Sandra, you are awesome. I just think she's so cloudy in her thoughts now. But she's got a great chance to recover. It's hard having a chronic illness. I know she'll write to all of her peeps when she's focused more.
Teresa McHarney is Helene's best friend. I called today, but she was out. I spoke very briefly with Andrew. He said Teresa was in communication with Jasmine.


So… Jeff, please share with Jennifer.
Wendy, thank you for calling me. I said Wednesday, but the conversation with Veronique was first late Monday night, and some more Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

I hope you’ll all understand, from this, why I didn’t tell you what I knew. It wasn’t mine to tell. She didn’t even want me to know.

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