June 30, 2002
I hope Danielle knew everything that I am about to say. Words always seemed inadequate to describe how strongly I felt her affect. Simply, she blew me away. I offer thanks for her life and for having walked with her for part of it.
I always thought it significant that Danielle was born on the longest day of the year. The sunshine, the year's lightest day--that's no coincidence. She offered love and friendship in abundance. Her presence was like a searchlight, bright and intense. She entered my life at a time when I felt detached and cold. Her exuberance reminded me that things were still fun. Under her instruction, I thawed little by little. Her affection was sincere and unconditional. Just one of her hugs was like a toasty vice grip. Her heart was big and she wanted to share it.
My friend once said, "Danielle would push people out of the way to get to you." And she did. And she certainly has done the same for the many people she felt kinship towards. Her tribe was big and she was always eager to welcome more. Danielle was wonderfully approachable. When she first crossed my radar screen, as a near celebrity at Smith, I thought smugly, "Now there goes an unavailable and aloof person!" I have never been so wrong, and Danielle was hurt that I would even think that about her. She spoke with honesty and humor to people she had only just met. It was a singular talent, and I feel certain that she would have gladly chatted with every human on the earth, given the chance. Her interest in people and friends was always genuine, and her attention felt like a warm glow. Her fans were many. Danielle's energy was totally captivating and difficult to duplicate. She had a recipe for humor, charisma, friendship and loyalty that fit neatly into an adorable package. How many people admitted to having crushes on her? Only she knew, but the number is probably staggering. Her appeal did not go unnoticed.
I hope Danielle knew how much she opened my heart and lightened my life at that time when I especially needed her. She loved and trusted me so completely. It was a tremendous gift she gave without reservation. And I loved her back, in a way I didn't think possible for my closed and cranky heart. She gave me new hope in myself and my ability to be soft and vulnerable. And Danielle stayed in my life. We philosophized about eccentric topics, and often she made me laugh out loud with her right-on-target analysis. I never knew what was going to come out of her mouth, and I enjoyed the surprise. Her sharp mind and wholehearted laugh will be dearly missed.
I wish comfort to all of us who feel her loss. I offer deepest sympathy to her family, to her parents, siblings and their families. I know you have lost an irreplaceable family member. Danielle was a blessing and a joy to so many of us and we will all take a bit of her light with us as we continue living.
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