August 31

A year ago on this date, I was all emotional, too. A year ago today, a dear friend of mine who I met online (and never met in real life) died after a battle with Pancreatic Cancer.

Donna was one of those people whose online voice was so kind, so inspiring, so playful. She was the master of the pun, and she made me laugh all the time. She was also an incredibly talented artist, and she inspired scrapbookers all over the world with her phenomenal gifts, as well as her willingness to share.

She found out she had pancreatic cancer in June, shortly before her daughter graduated from high school. She was hospitalized in July and August, and lost her battle on the 31st.

I remember that her memorial service was on September 3, at 1pm. So all of us online scrapbookers were going to light a candle in he memory at 1pm in our timezone. September 3 is my birthday. I lit a candle. Alice was napping, but Helen was still awake. She sang “Happy Birthday” to me and didn’t understand why I was crying.

Today, I cry not only for Donna but also for the thousands of people unmet who have been struck by Katrina’s violent swath through the southeast.

Princess Diana died on August 31 in 1997. I remember that day, too. Why is it that some days just tend to have tragedy connected to them, year after year? I realize that Katrina hit two days ago, but it seems that only today has the news been able to say more than “Oh, my God, this is horrible.”

And yes, I’ve turned the TV off.

I’ll go light a candle for Donna. I’ll go light a candle for the people of the Gulf Coast. And maybe Helen will sing to me again.

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