I’ll have more to say about this year’s Sirens Conference another time, but I have to start with this. Sirens will understand why.

I’ve spent most of today unpacking all the signs of a wonderful conference. The heroine capes and inevitable books, the glitter and ideas and memories.

Then the card Sabrina signed to me.

The shirts that match hers.

The sweater she laughed when I purchased; remembering how easily she laughed.

The conference was wonderful. The conference was devastating.

These statements are both true.


Sabrina Chin was the Huffliest puff to ever puff. She would have been deeply touched, I think—and possibly surprised, because she took “unassuming” to extremes—by the outpouring of tears and tributes on her behalf over the last week, after she suddenly passed away in her sleep mid-conference. She certainly would have hated being the focus of all our attentions, which almost makes me laugh.

In the memorial journal, I wasn’t sure how to convey what Sabrina was to all of us at Sirens. Ultimately I wrote that Sabrina was our heart.

This is a statement which is true and yet entirely inadequate. I can only hope that on some level, she knew. I hope that collectively we were anywhere near as good to her as she was to all of us; that she knew that we saw her, and loved her, and will always.


We were together in our grief last week, which I’m grateful for. Now I’m grateful to be home, to take a breath; to slow down. She would have wanted that for us, I think.

I’m home, and that means I have the space and time to think and feel, and in those moments when I hold still I can’t help but focus on what I otherwise might wish to distract myself from, except that her memory deserves my attention.

I’m home, and my skin holds together. But when I clench my fists although the skin holds, you can see the bone underneath, showing white against glaring red. My fingers are cracked.

I open my hands, and it’s no longer visible, but I know the truth underneath. Some metaphors are too obvious to avoid.

Sabrina was our heart.


Sabrina loved Sirens, and she loved the community. She put so much of herself in that we will never be able to replicate or replace, but that will echo in our futures.

For those who would otherwise have sent flowers, in lieu of that her family has asked that “a donation be made to the conference that she poured her heart and soul into.”

They knew what Sirens was to her. We know what she was to us.


My love to everyone who is also grieving; it is an odd comfort to know how many of us are united in this. Take care of yourselves while you do. You know she would have wanted that.

We’ll take this breath together, and then we’ll pick up and move again and carry the light of her spirit forward, together.

She was proud of us. We will continue to be worthy of that.

These statements are both true.