lisibansenHave you ever had the sense that someone you love has died and any minute you’ll be receiving a call? That was how I felt Saturday morning before receiving word that Elizabeth “Lisi” Bansen died Friday from complications associated with being hit by a car as she wheel-chaired near a busy road in St. Louis, Missouri.

Lisi was one of the most remarkable people I’ve ever known. Her lightning-fast wit, her deep caring for people, her unwavering commitment to activism, and her true grace — even under challenging circumstances — changed everyone who knew her.

We were roommates for a time, fellow redheads with nothing and everything in common, and I saw her just before my son was born in 2004. She had moved to St. Louis, the community where I grew up, because it was more wheelchair accessible than her previous town.

Thinking about her death draws me through strong mixed emotions. I want to be somber but I can’t. I have no doubt that her passing took her someplace better and freed her of earthly constraints.

She has been wheelchair-bound for over a decade, the result of a brain tumor paralyzing first one side of her body (which she rehabilitated) and then another tumor that caused paralysis on the previously unaffected side. It greatly hindered both her movement and her speech. [She sounded a bit like Emo Phillips in slow motion.] She once confided in me that the hardest part of her situation was that her thoughts were so much quicker than her ability to get them out. I can only imagine how hard it must have been. She was so sharp, so perceptive, and so animated.

Today, now settled into wherever she is, she’s surely running around, singing at full volume, and making wisecracks non-stop. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she is also dancing.

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From the St. Louis Post Dispatch 11/7/05.
ST. LOUIS: Woman in wheelchair who was hit by car dies

Elizabeth Bansen, 40, died Friday at St. Louis University Hospital after she was struck by a car Wednesday evening as she was wheeling her wheelchair in the 2600 block of Delmar Boulevard, authorities said Sunday. Bansen lived in the 2800 block of Delmar.

The motorist who struck the woman said he did not see her. Police do not plan to charge him if a blood test determines that he had not been drinking or taking illegal drugs. Police said they did not know why Bansen chose to use the street rather than the sidewalk.

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NOTE: Interesting update from UrbanReviewSTL in 2007 after a┬ájury found the city responsible for Lisi’s death.

Lisi Bansen is Dancing
 
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