Val Camilletti

When I heard that Val Camilletti died, I actually felt a gripping fear in my gut: “Oh, no. The wise elder woman is gone.” It had that kind of tribal or village experience of losing an important woman who held space, who held court, so to speak. We knew where she’d be. We went there to buy things, to ask questions, and more importantly to talk about very important things. We respected what she had to say. 

Our culture is losing these kinds of wise elders, these unique people and this important village experience. I’m deeply concerned since our culture seems to be moving into a detached, machine-like way of being where one’s phone seems so important. As my husband and I say, “We fear for the Republic.” We were blessed to have Val for so many decades.

I also want to celebrate Val’s courage to not do anything extraordinary when she found out about her condition. She allowed a natural process, had a wonderful quality of life, and, gratefully, we hear she didn’t suffer too much or too long at the end of her life.

The celebration of Val at Fitzgerald’s on Sept. 16 was wonderful. It was so very “Val” — creative, joyful, fun, funny, musical, interesting, eclectic and full of wonderful people. 

Val, we will miss you. There’s no one who can take your place.

Gina Orlando

Oak Park

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