In loving memory: My sister Denise passed away on Sunday after a 5.5-year battle with cancer. She courageously endured unspeakable treatments, multiple hospital stays, and, towards the end, almost constant pain. “I’m still living,” she would tell us. She crammed more into these past few years than many people do in a lifetime, continuing to be active in her congregations (two!), playing fiddle in her klezmer band (What the Chelm), working, and even leading a team of knitters for Keep the Fleece (a project sponsored by Heifer International, one of her favorite charities). She loved folk dancing and ethnic music, and was thrilled to have survived long enough to dance at her son’s wedding. She expressed her creativity through natural textiles (mostly spinning, weaving, and knitting). Three weeks ago, I watched her spend an hour in a natural dye shop—she was still eagerly planning new projects and looking forward to experimenting with these plant dyes.
I am grateful that I was just there and had a week with her. The chance to say a proper good-bye is a real blessing.
This picture was taken half a year before her diagnosis. With her is her husband, Doug Dodd. In addition to our parents, myself, and our sister Tracy, Denise is survived by her two sons, Tavi and Noam.
The tradition of reciting the psalm eishet chayil is especially appropriate for Denise, because she truly was a woman of valor.