It is with great sadness that I share the news that SPNFamily member and The Winchester Family Business writer Gail Dunn passed away on May 15, 2021. The cause of death is not yet confirmed, but Gail tweeted just three days earlier that she had been diagnosed with Covid, asking the SPNFamily for “positive thoughts.”
Gail lived in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada where Supernatural was filmed. She was a frequent visitor to location sets, and loved attending the Supernatural convention in Vancouver. August, 2019 was her 5th and last VanCon weekend.
Gail had been part of The WFB family for many years, as she was always excited to share that The WFB was the first site she followed once she discovered Supernatural. Gail joined The WFB team in 2018, in response to our advertisement for new writers. She contacted us with the following enthusiastic introduction on Thursday, October 11, 2018. It was clear immediately that she was a wonderful writer and a beautiful person.
“Good morning, and Happy Season 14 premiere Day!” she wrote. “I’m a great fan of Supernatural and the people associated with the show. Among many other positive things, the show has allowed and inspired me to reconnect with my creative side. I am a self-published author who has written a book series on www.fanfiction.net under GailDunn2. There are 42 books, with more to come. I would invite you to have a look at my body of work, of which I’m quite proud. I have readers in 60 countries internationally.”
Gail ended up publishing 47 multi-chaptered, Supernatural books on FanFiction.net. Castiel was “her guy” as she put it, so all of her stories centered around her favorite angel in one way or another.
However, she also wrote about Castiel’s favorite brothers, Sam and Dean. Gail’s goal was to write 50 books. The ending to her on-going saga, that we will now never read, was already written.
From December, 2018 to February 2020, Gail wrote a dozen extended fan fiction stories about Sam, Dean, Castiel and Jack for The WFB. Her stories were engaging and always light-hearted. She gave Sam, Dean and Castiel the vacation in the sun they never had. She gave Jack his first romance. She gave the entire Winchester extended family a Merry Christmas in the bunker. For 16 months, Gail filled our imaginations with wonderful images of Team Free Will 2.0. In her spare time, she also helped promote The WFB website on Twitter. She wrote humorous, creative tweets about our Caption This game and Motivational Posters. During holiday seasons, she helped advertise the wares of SPNFamily artisans who sold their crafts through The WFB Supernatural Marketplace. Gail had a way with words that always made you smile.
For personal reasons, Gail needed to step back from writing for a while, but we stayed in touch as she always intended to return to it one day. Writing was her expression of herself. She was rightfully proud of it as her contribution to the SPNFamily.
Prophetically, the last story Gail wrote for us is entitled “Learning to Let Go… of Supernatural.” It’s an emotional, sensitive tale of turning to Sam, Dean and Castiel for adviceon how to let go of something you love dearly. I knew it was a very special piece the first time I read it, so I convinced Gail to allow us to publish it. To this day, I can’t read it without crying. Its poignant insight into the hearts of Supernatural fans gently nudges and comforts us when we have to deal with loss. Let’s allow Gail explain it:
This is a very personal story I wrote the day after it was announced that Supernatural will end next year.
At least, I thought it was personal. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it’s not just my story. It’s a story for all of us in the #SPNFamily. I believe it’s how so many of us feel about the impending loss… But we’re not alone in the way we feel, are we? We have each other. No matter what, at the end of it all, we’ll still have each other.
This is a story about love and loss, it’s true. Ultimately, though, it’s really a story about so much more: Hope, strength, dreams, and imagination. After all, as a certain angel might say: Imagination is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? Boundless in its scope, and limitless in its possibilities.
There are no better words than her closing to describe how we now feel about losing her.
I’m not ready to let go.... but I will. When the time feels right, I will. But I’ll never let go of any of them, or of any of the many memories I have of the show, or the conventions, or of the friendships I have made. The #SPNFamily. All of the chat groups, the polls, the hashtags. All of the passionate debates about continuity, canon, and plot lines will wane and maybe even disappear altogether once the show itself is gone. But I know that the next time I go to the bunker in my imagination, the guys will be there, waiting to find out what sort of adventures we’re all going to have, in the future.
And when that time comes, I’ll smile. Because when that day comes, I’ll know that I’ve learned how to let go.
From my heart to yours,
Castiel’s words to Gail are now Gail’s words to those she leaves behind:
Love and loss, human emotions.... it’s all very complicated. One day, you will reach acceptance. But no one is saying you have to let go of us. You have to let us go, but you don’t have to let go of us. Does that make sense?”
Fly on the wings of angels to the boys’ bunker in Heaven, Gail. You will be dearly missed, my friend. The world has lost an innocent soul that was filled with grace. Rest in Peace.
Gail’s family is not asking for gifts or charitable donations at this time. If enough people are interested, The WFB will set up a gift to Misha’s Random Acts charity in Gail’s name.
If you wish, you may share your thoughts in the comments below.