karlht: (Default)
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Ten days ago, I was sitting in my mother's living room, listening to her tell stories about her mother and worrying about the pain she was in from a compression fracture in her spine that was not healing quickly enough to suit her, while a dear friend of ours was cooking for us.

A week ago, I was sitting at dinner with my wife and a friend, when I got a call from my cousin. She said, "We're at Sonoma Valley Hospital. Janet has leukemia."

Last night, just after midnight, I got a call from Marin General Hospital. My mother had slipped away in the night, sparing my cousin and me the agonizing decision of how to let her go when it was clear there was no hope.

This is what I wrote in the immediate aftermath:

If I have ever been gentle with you, ever been kind to you when you needed it, been a friend or a support or an ally to you, then raise your glass tonight and drink a toast to the woman who taught me how important it is that we love one another, that we keep one another as safe from harm and as cherished as we possibly can. Remember the good she has done in the world, and tell stories of it to your children and your loved ones. And go forth and make your love manifest in the world — love daringly, defiantly, completely and totally.

Thank you, Janet, for giving me life, and love, and for teaching me to cherish others as you have cherished me.

RIP Janet Roberta Barnes Thiessen. Born December 30, 1940, in Kentfield, California. Died June 13, 2012, in Greenbrae, California. Loving mother, devoted daughter, stalwart friend, passionate believer in justice and fairness, and all around hell of a human being.
karlht: (Default)
RIP Dennis Allen McDaniel. Born Nov. 12, 1941. Died at home, Dec. 16, 2011.

My wife's family has always done an extraordinary job of loving me for who and what I am, and Dennis's matter-of-fact acceptance of me as a worthy husband for his step-daughter and a welcome addition to his family was always at the forefront of that love. I could ask for no better model of humanity, decency, and dedication to making a marriage work in the face of everything this unfriendly world throws at us. May memories and stories of him gladden our hearts for many years to come.

June 2015

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