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…