Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Your friend gets the news thirteen months ago.

You think to yourself, hey, this is wrong, someone’s made a huge mistake: she’s a life long vegetarian, an emergency room nurse, a volunteer, a great woman to all who knew her, her sons are still too young and she's just within seconds of having an overdue retirement.

Where she can travel a bit to her family in Nova Scotia, maybe visit me for a week or three; the plans are rich, expansive. Kayaking, she loves kayaking. And hiking, boy, she really leaves us eating her dust when we’re out. She's lost her dog in the last wee while, was planning on getting another one. See? She'd far too much on the go. It wasn't time.

Always good at advice, one of those who’s very unobtrusive. But wise. She’d throw lovely little parties with unusual ice creams and organic cakes and candles everywhere. Even on her small deck. She was like that. She could be relied upon to bring something interesting to the Annual Ladies’ Brunch that I hold every year in Toronto. And she’d present you with flowers out of the blue. Because.

Her last emails were full of the harvest on her balcony. Clipping her lettuce. Watching her Japanese maple grow to 9”, gathering her tax papers to ship to me, doing her meditations.

Inoperable fucking brain cancer.

She died at 10.00 p.m. last night.

RIP dearest Diana.


A little poem I wrote which was read at her memorial service:

For Diana

Death is only for the living:
The bereft standing there
Embracing the sharp edges
And chilling silence
Of your vanished vitality.


  1. What can I say? Life is stinking unfair. It grabs those who least deserve it and takes them away from us forever. You have my deepest sympathy. Some things are to awful to know, aren't they?

  2. Thanks GSW, it's sure knocked the stuffing out of me. How short and sweet life is, eh?
    I'm still in the angry stage of this.

  3. Diana sounded like a wonderful flower in the garden of your life. May her soul be free for kayaking and hiking in a pain free realm.

    My heart goes out to you in your loss.

    Lán grá

  4. I am so sorry for your loss - sending you loads of hugs.

    She sounds like an amazing woman.

  5. Sorry to hear that. So very sad. It makes you realise that life should be lived to the full while you have it, as you never know what's round the corner. And she clearly did just that.

  6. oh god i am SO sorry. god damn cancer. it is so incredibly prevalent.

    when my father was diagnosed with brain cancer (much older than your friend, but still too young) we tried to understand the cause. there's no understanding. sunshine, we were told. (he loved to lie in the sun and read, all his life.) alcohol, we were told. (he did drink too much.)

    but there's no understanding. be angry! just don't stay angry.

    i am so sad for you.

  7. My sincere sympathy to you WWW.
    She was much too young to go like that - and the thought that she missed her potentially wonderful years of retirement must be very hard to take.
    Hugs coming across the ethers to you and all her friends and family - from us.

  8. Having lost my brother in law to that demonic scourge just three weeks ago I have an inkling of how you must feel . My little sister is devestated by her loss.She will get over it someday but meanwhile she suffers. He was just about to turn 60.

  9. I am so sorry for your loss of such a wonderful friend. She sounds so full of life. No justice. My mother was a health nut: pancreatic cancer. There's no protection, we're all vulnerable now. And yes, it shouldn't have to be that way, be angry. I'm sorry.

  10. Life is unfair especially when those who deserve to be here longer leave us. You wrote a lovely tribute. Thank you for sharing her with us. I send you a cyberspace hug.

  11. You have beautiful memories and that is what matters. Don't be angry, be glad that you were blessed enough to have known her.

  12. My sympathy and loving thoughts go out to you on the tragedy that came to your life. With all the millions spent or misspent on Cancer research I get impatient with the unaccountability & results. I am sending a hug & a wish for your healing. If prayers are loving thoughts to ease the pain, I'm sending an armful. Rest in peace Diana.

  13. Poor bugger. I am sorry for your trouble WWW, as we Irish say.


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