Goodbye My Friend: Dianne Anderson

Susan Clarke first published this tribute to Dianne Anderson on her own blog. Dianne passed away on August 9 and will be hugely missed by many people.

Today my good friend Dianne passed away. I got a call about her death just after finishing a yoga class. I cried, laughed, cried and laughed. I wondered about my response, judging myself for feeling such joy and laughter just after hearing she had died. But as I sat and started thinking about Dianne and our many moments together I knew that really the tears were just for me knowing I would miss my friend and the laughter was my joy that she was free at last.

Of course I am sad that Dianne is gone and I will miss her laughter and physical presence the next time I am at The Haven for a Come Alive or any other program. However, Dianne has been struggling in her physical body for a long time and today I had a moment when I thought for sure I could hear her laughing and playing somewhere out there; as light as a feather and without a care in the world.

For me, Dianne was such an interesting person. She in many ways was one of the most grounded, direct and straight-shooting people I have known. I could call her up and start telling her some saga in my life and she could quickly call me on all the many blocks and screens I might toss out there to avoid looking at my own stuff. She could do that with me and she could do that with pretty much anyone who showed up in a group, defended, resistant or overly self-involved. There she was, this over-weight, quite unhealthy woman, who was brilliant with group process and making contact with those folks who most would have given up on. Even the last time I saw her and she wasn’t even able to get out of her chair, I found myself just loving talking with her. It was easy to connect.

Sure I was annoyed that she never took care of her own health and that she loved reading much more than walking. I was furious that she would eat cake and too much food yet I still loved Dianne. Her body was always a paradox for me. There she was doing just about everything she could to kill herself and yet her inner world, her spirit was something truly special, a gift for all who were willing to deal with the paradox and get to know Dianne in spite of the war-zone that represented her body.

Even as I write this I feel badly saying negative things about her body. However, that’s just it – she was such a paradox. I loved her deeply and over the years wrestled with how to stay connected even though I had judgments and didn’t like the way she took care of herself. Still I loved it when she was in a group with me either as a participant, an assistant or a leader. I loved working with her. She could be brilliant and many, many times she reminded me why I loved The Haven, the work and what really mattered. Dianne was the essence of the Velveteen Rabbit – she was worn and torn, the stuffing was coming out but she was REAL and she was LOVED!!

Today I imagine much like the story of The Velveteen Rabbit – Dianne is able to jump, leap and let her spirit soar!!

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