A Tribute to my Friend...

Donna Jean Hill-Dashley
March 29,  1955 -  February 5, 2000

This page is a tribute to my friend Donna. She lost her 9 year battle with Breast Cancer on February 5, 2000.  The term "friend" is a small word, but has so much meaning. I hope that I can find the right words to describe her and what she means to me. She had a brightness about her that shined through. The only term I can use to best describe that brightness is that is was her spirit touching our lives with a gentle hand of tenderness, but most of all with love and affection.

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished 
by people who have kept on trying
when there seemed to be no hope at all.
-Dale Carnegie-

She was a very loving, devoted mother to her children. She did everything for them. I know that the main reason she fought so long and so hard with her breast cancer was so she could stay just a little longer for her children. She loved her children that much, that she would fight the pain and the adversities to make it through another day, just to see them smile or laugh or comfort them if they were in trouble. To see that next softball game or next play at school or help them with their homework. To see them graduate college or see them get married or be there when the first Grandchild came. All those simple little things that we take for granted, she didn't. She fought fierce battles everyday just to have those simple little things. What love this beautiful woman had for her children and her Grandchildren. Donna provided daily care for her first Grandson up until the day she went into the hospital and then she left us shortly afterwards. What a priceless gift she gave to her first Grandson.

Donna was a dear friend to me. We met under unusual circumstance, but none the less she was my friend. She was kind, understanding and above all else loving to me. I valued her friendship so much in my life and she was so much a part of me that it seems strange to not be able to pick up the phone and call her to tell her what is going on in my life. To have her listen so carefully and tell me that I am going to be ok. To tell me how the girl's are doing. How they are doing in school. What the latest grades were or who was dating who. To tell me about her son and his new family. To tell me how proud she was of him and how much she wanted to see her new Grandson. To tell me what is new with Branden. Did he turn over yet. Is he teething yet. Is he growing out of all his clothes.  To tell me what the doctors said. To tell me how she is feeling today. To tell me how she wished I lived closer so we could see each other more. But the most important thing she would say to me was how much she loved me and was so happy that I was her friend.

I know that there are not going to be anymore letters from her. She always told me her greatest fears and concerns in her writing. I think it was  easier for her to put them on paper then to tell me on the phone or in person. I think in some way this was her writing to herself, by putting her  fears and concerns on paper, therapy for herself. Sometimes the fears and doubts and adversities over shadowed her at times. It would be my turn to listen carefully and tell her that everything was going to be ok. Tell her that I would help and take care of what I could. To try and take some of the burdens off her shoulders so that she could save her strength for the kids and Grand kids. The one thing that I would always try to tell her was just how much I loved her and how much I respected her, but most importantly what a wonderful friend she was to me. I think she knew, I hope she knew when the words failed me.

Donna's life had to many disappointments, adversities and catastrophes, as life often does, but still through all the pain and hurt and catastrophes, she shined like a rose blooming for the first time after a fierce storm. 

Her girls, have not known their mother, not fighting cancer and being sick in so many years. Cassie was about 4 when Donna first found about out about the breast cancer. Cassie is 13 now. Jessica was about 8 and she is now 17 with a son of her own. How scared and terrified they must have been, but how courageous they are to have stood by her through all of her battles. She loved them with all her heart and that shined through in everything she did for them and withstood for them.

Donna always protected her eldest child, Gary her son from the worse of the battles she fought. She knew that he, being the wonderful man that he is, would try to come to rescue her or fight for her. But she knew that no matter how bad the outcome of each battle, she had to fight each one alone. She loved him with all her heart, just as she did the girls and the strength that she used in each  one of her battles came from her love for her children.

I want to remember her as the quiet warrior she was. Her battles were many and fierce, but her glory, her triumphs were in her winning life each day for the last 9 years. I am honored that she choose to share those glories, those triumphs with me, by being my friend.


Isaiah 43:1-2

Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name; you are mine
When you pass through the waters I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you;
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
And the flame shall not consume you.
You are precious in my eyes, and honored,
And I love you.


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Page last revised 12-Dec-2000

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