My friend Daphne passed away Sunday morning. It was not unexpected, as she'd been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer over a year ago, but she had a relatively slowly-progressing case and had done reasonably well for quite some time. Word came from her sister Sheila a week ago that Daphne had decided it was time to stop eating. She had struggled with nausea caused by the cancer for months, but she had finally had enough and made the decision to go on her own terms.
At the time of her diagnosis last year, I was particularly worried that she would not survive or be healthy enough to attend my and David's wedding the following June. Pancreatic carcinomas are notoriously nasty cancers, and hers was invasive enough by the time it was found that it was inoperable. We felt very fortunate that she was, ultimately, able to be there, as she was instrumental in our finding the venue for the wedding (see this post). Also, the B&B where the wedding party stayed and where we held the reception used to be a cabin owned by her father.
Daphne had cerebral palsy and fairly severe scoliosis, but she never slowed down. She sang in choirs, lived very independently, led an active social life, served on the board of the chapel where David and I got married, and for many years was the postmistress for the seasonal post office serving the little summer colony where she was one of the few year-round residents. I knew her for several years from a Maine lgbt listserv but didn't meet her in person for the first time until just a few years ago. She was the kind of spirit, though, who really made an impression on everyone around her, and the world is ever so much better for having had her in it.
Here's a photo of Daphne from this past July taken at a get-together that I wasn't able to attend, as it was just a couple weeks after the wedding. She was nearly 11 months post-diagnosis at this point and had lost quite a bit of weight, but the joy that made her such a treasure to know is still so clear. She will be missed, but she'll live on in the hearts of all she touched, which is the best possible tribute to her life.
If you want to read a bit more about Daphne and another life she touched, Mary-Helen also has a lovely tribute to her.