I woke up early this morning, and given that there's been smoke in the high air from fires in California, expected a spectacular sunrise, so I drove down to the Golden Gate to watch the sun greet the morning and see the colors. However, the clouds didn't cooperate, and though there were some minimal pastels far beyond the city, they were too subtle for the cameras to pick up, and the day started out grey.
I suppose it's fitting that the first day after Diana's passing had a little less color in it. I've always been a little pissed off when I've heard Dylan Thomas urging us to not go gentle into that good night, to "rage, rage" against the inevitable, and I hope that when my time comes I've the strength and dignity to face it as Diana Debardeleben did, with a quiet acceptance that the cancer that took her wasn't as much about death as it was a shorter life.
She'd been diagnosed with cancer probably a year and a half or so ago, probably had it for a while longer than that, had undergone treatment, and in the respite had decided that it was time to do what she wanted to do, open a tea shop in which she could purvey her chocolates. I'd helped her last year make a few hundred truffles for the Taste of Marin event, and recently was working with her to get her new chocolate tempering machine up to speed in the commercial kitchen down at the Lagunitas General Store. I guess I knew the cancer had come back when she called me up and put the chocolate efforts on hold.
And a few weeks later she died, the cancer having taken away her ability to breathe.
Others will eulogize her more eloquently than I, but I count one of her sons as a friend, I admire the others, I appreciate her contributions to my community and will bemoan her cheery voice and the "Diana's Delights" cookies and truffles in the various valley stores. I'm glad she got a chance to open the shop that was her dream, even if that tenure was brief, and my life is richer for having known her.
Though she accepted the inevitable with grace, she bemoaned that she still had things she wanted to do, and most of those things were about ways to make the world around her that much more pleasant.