The Beautiful Donna Peach

Two weeks of cooking, two nights of holiday dinners, and the jumbled mess of my kitchen reflects what’s going on in my head today, as I fight back tears.

Last night I was at a friend’s for dinner. Between courses I took a peek at my phone to find a bevy of emails about the death of our remarkable friend Donna Peach.

Regretfully, I didn’t get to know Donna as well as I would have liked. But what I did know was magnificently, sparklingly beautiful. The one chance we met in person Donna filled the room – which is particularly impressive when you consider the room was a sizeable outdoor farmers market. That was just over a month ago.

In an earlier post I shared the story of our last #bcsm-LA TweetUp and how I had run off to help someone get into the parking lot and find a spot. That was Donna. Initially she called to tell us that despite having driven an hour from home, congestion was so bad she and Marvin were thinking of turning back. I urged her to wait, and they were heroic in their efforts to make it happen. Eventually we figured it out, and I am so deeply grateful that they didn’t give up!

Donna slipped right into our group, listening, sharing, and expressing gratitude for the simple opportunity to meet each other. And she shared stories…of dancing, of writing, of her involvement in the cancer community long before she was ever a patient. I think it’s fair to say she was a true renaissance woman, trying on all kinds of experiences on her life’s path of discovery.

I have quietly followed Donna’s beautiful writing, watched as her soul sang out loud, listened to her wisdom. Her love of Marvin, of dancing, of life were a sight to behold. In many ways, she was my metastatic role model…and my life is enriched for having crossed her path. That afternoon my biggest regret was that I had to leave. Family called, yet I hated walking away. Donna had so much to share and I wanted to drink it all in. Yet I left her and Marvin to their meal and I headed home.

As a group we immediately made plans for our next meeting to be in a place that would be far more accessible for Donna – and each of us. I was horrified by my own insensitivity of choosing a location that created such challenges. I wouldn’t let it happen again!

Last night just before dinner another guest received an email that her sister is pregnant; so many happy smiles over the excitement of new life. The writer in me, at first, wished the story had gone the other way, yearned for the poetry of one life lost, another arriving. But life isn’t poetry – it follows it own chaotic rules.  Sometimes, some of us are wise enough to make poetry out of even the darkest moments.

Donna will be deeply missed by so many, but her light will forever shine through.

Dance on, Donna…

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28 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. AnneMarie
    Mar 27, 2013 @ 12:08:51

    I thought of you last night when I read this horrible news, the photo from your tweet-up burned in my brain.

    Today, our group stands a bit closer together. And a lot more sorrowful.

    Love you, Lori….

    xoxox

    Reply

  2. Scorchy
    Mar 27, 2013 @ 12:31:02

    When I was told I had mets, Donna’s blog was quite posibly the first one I found with so much information. I clicked on every link–finding new blogs, learning about metastatic breast cancer, and following along as she met and overcame so many challenges. When she linked to my little effort I remember feeling so honored. She touched so many people. Donna is the first person “I” have ever lost since I started this experience and it’s difficult. I’m glad we all have one another. xoxoxo

    Reply

    • Lori
      Mar 27, 2013 @ 14:56:37

      I stand right there with you, my friend. Donna is also my first loss of someone I have the honor of meeting, and I think my mets diagnosis is hitting particularly hard today. Hugs and love….Lori

      Reply

  3. seaglassinthemidst
    Mar 27, 2013 @ 13:09:39

    Lori,

    Thank you! I have goosebumps reading that . . .

    I must admit, though I’m new to the cancer community and blogging forum, I fell in love with Donna from my first “read,” recently journeying with her—going chronologically through her beautiful blog to catch up.

    My heart hurt last night when I read the news, and honestly her passing has been sitting heavy with me all day, stirring in me an emotional mini-melt of sorts that had been building slowly.

    Though I can “poetically” express my belief that Donna is beautifully dancing on those golden streets in heaven, with that knowledge comes the reality of it all . . . the brutal reality of this ugly disease and how in the blink of an eye it can devour and destroy.

    Donna was indeed a renaissance woman whose light will most certainly shine on . . .

    5..6..7..8 . .

    (I just got a lump in my throat)

    Nicole

    Reply

    • Lori
      Mar 27, 2013 @ 14:57:53

      We suck you in quickly, Nicole. And we weather these storms together. I’m glad that you found us, and we you…

      XOX,
      Lori

      Reply

  4. Anonymous
    Mar 27, 2013 @ 13:56:57

    oh, Lori. I’m so sorry. What a lovely tribute you’ve given Donna with your post.
    Big, big hugs!

    Reply

  5. Kathleen Hoffman, PhD
    Mar 27, 2013 @ 14:25:09

    I’m so glad that you met her in person–she shines through her writing…thank you for writing such a lovely tribute.

    Reply

  6. vtashman
    Mar 27, 2013 @ 16:29:34

    Lori, you have so eloquently related ALL of our feelings about Donna. She was “magnificently, sparklingly beautiful.” And the thing that strikes me the most is the thing that Twitter lacks, seeing a person’s smile up close. Her smile was radiant and vibrant and I will miss her in our weekly chats. She’s definitely doing some kind of jig up there!

    Reply

  7. Susan
    Mar 27, 2013 @ 19:50:11

    I am very sad about Donna. Reading her blog every night, and following her from the first day you helped me type my first hashtag on Twitter and helped me get immersed in the blogging world. Yes Lori, there was so much to Donna that touched us and we were so lucky the way she continued to shine a bright light as she let us have a glimpse in to the beauty of dance within life’s moments. Her poetry and her acceptance of all that was happening around her as well as her passion for life….
    Whatever guilt you felt that day about having to take care of family – I am sitting in a pool of guilt. I knew the minute my dog was bleeding I could not be in two places at once. Yet thanks to you Lori, there was an incredible meeting. Thank you fearless friend.
    I have been crying all day since I found out that she danced in to the light. Damn this disease. All I can do is send prayers of light and love with virtual hugs……XoXoXo – Susan

    Reply

  8. DrAttai
    Mar 27, 2013 @ 20:10:49

    Lori, thank you for posting this – it was an amazing feat for Donna to get to our tweet up, and all of our lives are enriched for having the opportunity to spend time with her. An amazing woman who touched so many – and you have given her an incredible tribute.

    Reply

  9. Karen Sutherland
    Mar 27, 2013 @ 21:20:03

    dear lori,

    you have written such a touching, beautiful, and personally heartfelt portrait of donna. having been blessed with meeting her and marvin i know your heart is so heavy with grief. i am so very sorry for you and for everyone who was so inspired and so in love with her, mesmerized with that dazzling light that shined through her writing, her being, and all that she shared about trying to live with joy and appreciation. my heart aches for marvin, and i think donna would want us to celebrate that they had each other to love so deeply, so tenderly, so in tune with each other – 5.6.7.8.

    love, XOXO,

    karen, TC

    Reply

    • Lori
      Apr 02, 2013 @ 10:21:49

      I couldn’t agree more, Karen! Having met them, it was beautiful to see that the weaving of their lives shone even more brightly than Donna’s writing alone. I ache for him…

      Reply

  10. BlondeAmbition
    Mar 28, 2013 @ 00:03:03

    I met Donna in my early days of BCSM and although I did not have the privilege of meeting her in person, your recent tweet-up recap along with this tribute brought her personality to life. Locally, I’ve lost a few friends to this wretched disease — women that were there to hold my hand when my own story began. And Donna was able to achieve that same bond with so many of us simply with her Dancing Pen. Every woman we lose is one mother, aunt, sister, daughter, or friend too many. If I know this group at all (and I know I do) the loss of Donna will make us even more determined to make our voices heard and demand change. Heartfelt wishes to her beloved Marvin and their friends and family. 5, 6, 7, 8 and high kick! xx

    Reply

    • Lori
      Apr 02, 2013 @ 10:25:21

      I agree completely, but as much as I am relieved than Donna is no longer suffering, each and every death is a profound loss, a soul that can never be replaced. Loss and anger co-mingled…

      Reply

  11. jbaird
    Mar 28, 2013 @ 15:12:48

    I am so sorry to read about Donna. You have indeed written a beautiful tribute to her. She will be sorely missed. My prayers go out to her family and many friends as they mourn her loss. xo

    Reply

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  13. allan
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 01:26:32

    its always sad to hear of the loss of a friend of a friend.
    you expressed so nicely what she meant to you.
    and yes, life has its crazy roller coaster way of jerking our emotions around with good and bad news mixed together. and we are expected to roll with the punches.

    Reply

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  15. Gratitudenist
    Apr 07, 2013 @ 15:14:28

    So sorry for your loss, Lori. She sounds like an amazing person.

    Reply

  16. Nancy's Point
    Apr 15, 2013 @ 12:01:14

    Thanks for writing this, Lori. Thank you for attending Donna’s memorial service too. I miss her. We will not forget.

    Reply

  17. Anonymous
    Jun 05, 2013 @ 08:08:19

    She touched so many lives with her bravery and optimism.

    Reply

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