Good-bye My Friend!!

Today my good friend Dianne passed away. I got a call about her death just after finishing a yoga class. I cried, laughed, cried and laughed. I wondered about my response, judging myself for feeling such joy and laughter just after hearing she had died. But as I sat and started thinking about Dianne and our many moments together I knew that really the tears were just for me knowing I would miss my friend and the laughter was my joy that she was free at last.

Of course I am sad that Dianne is gone and I will miss her laughter and physical presence the next time I am at The Haven for a Come Alive or any other program. However, Dianne has been struggling in her physical body for a long time and today I had a moment when I thought for sure I could hear her laughing and playing somewhere out there; as light as a feather and without a care in the world.

For me, Dianne was such an interesting person. She in many ways was one of the most grounded, direct and straight-shooting people I have known. I could call her up and start telling her some saga in my life and she could quickly call me on all the many blocks and screens I might toss out there to avoid looking at my own stuff. She could do that with me and she could do that with pretty much anyone who showed up in a group, defended, resistant or overly self-involved. There she was this over-weight, quite unhealthy woman; who was brilliant with group process and making contact with those folks who most would have given up on. Even the last time I saw her and she wasn’t even able to get out of her chair, I found myself just loving talking with her. It was easy to connect.

Sure I was annoyed that she never took care of her own health and that she loved reading much more than walking. I was furious that she would eat cake and too much food yet I still loved Dianne. Her body was always a paradox for me. There she was doing just about everything she could to kill herself and yet her inner world, her spirit was something truly special, a gift for all who were willing to deal with the paradox and get to know Dianne in spite of the war- zone that represented her body.

Even as I write this I feel badly saying negative things about her body. However, that’s just it – she was such a paradox. I loved her deeply and over the years wrestled with how to stay connected even though I had judgments and didn’t like the way she took care of herself. Still I loved it when she was in a group with me either as a participant, an assistant or a leader. I loved working with her. She could be brilliant and many, many times she reminded me why I loved The Haven, the work and what really mattered. Dianne was the essence of the Velveteen Rabbit – she was worn and torn, the stuffing was coming out but she was REAL and she was LOVED!!

Today I imagine much like the story of The Velveteen Rabbit – Dianne is able to jump, leap and let her spirit soar!!

3 thoughts on “Good-bye My Friend!!”

  1. What a lovely tribute, Susan. I agree. And, I will miss her – she was so much a part of Haven. It is difficult to imagine it without her.
    Hope all is well with you. Best to Chris. Love to you both, Joanne

  2. Thank you Susan. I could not have said it better. (Neither could Kayte) You spoke my heart. I felt the same way. we’ll both remember her with fondness and sadness. Love to you, Susan.

  3. Thank you Susan for such a warm and loving Tribute to Dianne.

    I grew up with Dianne and her wonderful family in New Westminster ………… she was my cousin. And laugh we did on the many family “special holiday” dinners etc. that we all shared. Dianne was a few years older than me, but she always had a wonderful way about sharing her big beautiful life with all her family …… younger, sillier cousins included. Then years later, my dad died, shortly after Dianne’s mom died, and lo and behold, my mom and her dad (my Uncle Bob !) got married !!! So, Dianne, and her siblings became by steps ! I moved to Toronto for many years, so wasn’t in touch as much as I would have liked with Dianne, but she was always in my heart. I did have a wonderful weekend at Gabriola last summer, and I’m so thankful that I made the trip to see Dianne for my last time.

    Dianne will be missed by family and by all her very special friends that she gathered on Gabriola.

    Dianne ……. be strong and courageous, and know that you are well loved.

    With all my love and prayers,
    Barbara (Steveston. BC)

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