Dear St. John Community,
I learned about the passing of Gail Geiger when I sat down at a picnic table in Cruz Bay Monday evening and opened this community newspaper and read about it. It was hard to take in the black and white, stark account of what had finally happened. Hard to believe I had not heard through the coconut grapevine, that Gail had taken her life.
She called around the time of her death to discuss assistance with a housing opportunity. We talked about her most recent struggles, and the concrete resources available to her here in the USVI. We made specific plans about getting these resources on board in the very near future.
Gail mentioned how good it was to “have a real person on the other end of the phone line.” It wouldn’t be right for me to elaborate on all that she was faced with here. In spite of her social and medical challenges her sense of humor was in tact, and we had a laugh or two. Several St. Johnians were also involved with offering help to Gail.
I met her during Carnival when she worked as a food vendor for the yummy, new vegetarian restaurant. Gail worked for much of her life as a nurse. When she told me her last name, I naively asked if she was related to David Geiger.
We talked about her life on St. John, whether she would continue living in his former home, etc. While she seemed a little sad that day; she was also bright, witty, a hard worker, and it seemed to me, trying her best to “make a go” of things. She let go of the rope more than once during our brief acquaintance, but she kept reaching for it — kept trying to want to reach for it. Gail spoke lovingly about her daughter several times, as well as her nephew. She made it quite clear she was extremely proud of both of them.
Gail was thrilled when Hermon Smith told her about the existence of the St. John Geiger tree! Of course, being Hermon, he actually took her to a standing Geiger tree. It really tickled her, and she showed me the “start” from the tree he had given her. She couldn’t wait to share this with her off-island folks back in the states. It was the happiest I ever saw her. She was just beaming about it.
My only purpose in writing this simple letter is to honor the struggles Gail faced, and the person she wanted so much to become. It doesn’t matter who wrote this. It matters only what was shared.
Name Withheld Upon Request