to the last breath… in memoriam masslass


Wending our way round the soft bends of the Jura mountains in eastern France, we find an even softer landscape there of sloping green fields, pine forests in hues of auburn and umber, and smoothed sedimentary stone struck in blue tones.

It is the stone, this almost 200 million year old Jurassic limestone, I find most intriguing. Rock of ages? I suppose that is so.

The stone has been shaped through eons, ages, and eras of landmass upheaval, volcanic eruptions, intrusion of glaciers, and the coming and going of creatures from dinosaurs to homosapiens.

This rocky region, described as lush during the Jurassic age, is yet verdant and abundant, and graced with blue-green lakes and a cascade of mystical majestical waterfalls. It was in the tiny village of Chaux du Dombief that we found an entrance to one of the Jura’s jewels: Les Cascades du Hérisson:


While the rushing water and its roar are captivating, it is once again the stone that takes my breath away. Its so old, so enduring and oddly comforting, helping me to breath, to think as Diana lays dying a world away from here.

I came to know her as masslass… ml… from the Pony Parties ek hornbeck started at Docudharma (DD). We both found our way to DD via Daily Kos, where she was known as lvillelass.  

We met twice… a weekend in Boston to meet up with undercovercalico (there for a conference) and Victory Coffee (there for school). She invited me, a stranger really, to stay at her home. We were meeting ucc and VC at a restaurant somewhere, so we hopped in her beloved BMW M3 and broke land speed records (I’m pretty sure we did) getting there. She found my fear hilarious and never let up on the gas, in case you were wondering.

And, if I remember right, we met a stranger, a gal who was by herself and at the same conference as undercovercalico… so we invited her to join us for dinner … this lady turned out to be just a little bit strange (which was oddly fitting for the whole experience) and certainly, it didn’t stop us from LOTS of political talk and LOTS of laughing.

The next time ml and I saw each other, believe it or not, was in Paris. She had sent me an e-mail: “will you be around in March?” I replied with “WHY?” Should it surprise me that she was going to be in Paris with her daughter on the very weekend I would be there with my friend Wendy? So yeah… we met up in Paris, had a great evening and delicious meal.

Next day, we hopped the speed train from Gare du Nord to the Netherlands; she spent four or five days with me and ej at our home in Leiden. We had a lot of fun and timing was perfect as we had dinners with some of our favorite people. And that walk around the center of Leiden was very special… sitting for coffee, a glass of wine… and the blue scarf she bought for me.

I’m pretty sure ml’s true friendships were like ours.. quirky, stand-alone, each of her friends feeling as though we’d known Diana forever… whether we met one or 100 years ago.

Amazing. Virtual friends made on a blog for god’s sakes. Maybe it’s a bit trite, but it’s hard not to list some of the names of those who shared the halycon days: undercovercalico, jessical, RiaD, fatdave, nocatz, Rusty1778, robyn, buhdydharma, On The Bus, 73rd Virgin, tahoe, Edger, Alma, brobin, flagpole, keirdubois, the shahs, ek (of course), among so many others.

I spoke to ml two weeks ago,  before ej and I left for France. We spoke for about an hour…  driven by politics and funny stuff, it was like all our conversations. She worked hard to find the breath for it, and I just didn’t really understand it would be our last… my last time hearing that great gravely voice.

Diana’s last breath was sometime during the day on 19 August. She was surrounded by her real-world family and by the energy and love of those of us she adopted online, especially her Wimpy Badgers.

I will miss her and those e-mails with all the funny or cute stuff she’d found and wanted to share…  I’d taken to saving those mails for my rainy days… when I needed a dose of Diana, I could just open a couple feel better or just feel comfortable.

She did this dying thing real well. Diana had more than courage. It wasn’t just being brave. She was confident and at peace. Her time was at hand and she was graceful and well, just Diana.

Love you honey… and my heart goes out to your kids and your husband and real-world friends, as well as to those of us who called you masslass……………

this was her last blog comment:

In the nick of time (3.00 / 3) [delete comment]

IP Address:

a perfect, peaceful poem   ..there’s something to be said for being peaceful… and drugs do help. plus that sweet zen spot.

Just so you know,I’m fine with this trip… and from the looks of things hte trip is easier than typing stoned.

The government does not run on unicorn kisses and/or butterfly farts.

by: masslass @ Tue Aug 16, 2011 at 01:10:03 AM EDT


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    • pfiore8 on August 24, 2011 at 6:42 pm

  1. all of it!  So fitting!

    How nice that you both met, in person, and shared so much . . . e-mails, etc.

    Trieste!  Brought tears!

    A heartfelt, beautiful memoriam to dear masslass!  

    • TMC on August 24, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Her passing is a loss to all.

    Blessed Be

    May the Goddess guide her on her journey to the Summerlands. May her family, her friends and the world find Peace.

    Blessed be


    • RUKind on August 25, 2011 at 5:28 am

    “Though we need to weep your loss,

    You dwell in that safe place in our hearts

    Where no storm or night or pain can reach you.

    Your love was like the dawn

    Brightening over our lives,

    Awakening beneath the  dark

    A  further adventure of color.

    The sound of your voice

    Found for us

    A new music

    That brightened everything.

    Whatever you enfolded in your gaze

    Quickened in the joy of its being;

    You placed smiles like flowers

    On the altar of the heart.

    Your mind always sparkled

    With wonder at things.

    Tough your days here were brief,

    Your spirit was alive, awake, complete.

    We look toward each other no longer

    From the old distance of our names;

    Now you dwell inside the rhythm of breath,

    As close to us as we are to ourselves.

    Though we cannot see you with outward eyes,

    We know our soul’s gaze is upon your face,

    Smiling back at us from within everything

    To which we bring our best refinement.

    Let us not look for you only in memory,

    Where we would grow lonely without you.

    You would want us to find you in presence,

    Beside us when beauty brightens,

    When kindness glows

    And music echoes eternal tones.

    When orchids brighten the earth,

    Darkest winter has turned to spring;

    May this dark grief flower with hope

    In every heart that loves you.

    May you continue to inspire us:

    To enter each day with a generous heart.

    To serve the call of courage and love

    Until we see your beautiful face again

    In that land where there is no more separation,

    Where all tears will be wiped from our mind,

    And where we will never lose you again.”

    (From To Bless the Space Between Us – A Book of Blessings, by John O’Donohue)

  2. …there was such a gentle, solid courage always with masslass.  I missed her when I didn’t see her on line for a while, after the halcyon days lapsed.  Then I found her again, briefly, on your site, pf.  

    But my own meanderings and weavings didn’t let me stay there long.

    I remember ru amd mass and I spoke of doing something to save the world or , at least, just go surfing.

    Blessings on your continuing journey masslass, and thank you for your on-line friendship.  

    • pfiore8 on August 26, 2011 at 8:54 am
  3. They never said where, but I think I know,

    It’s miles through the night, just over the dawn,

    On this road that will take us home.

    Love waits for us round the bend,

    Leads us endlessly on,

    Surely sorrows shall find their end,

    And all our troubles will be gone.

    And we’ll know what we’ve lost, and all that we’ve won,

    When this road finally takes us home . . .

    I hope we meet again, masslass.  Just over the dawn, in a better world than this.  You’ll know us when you see us, we’ll be the one’s with the keyboards and the petitions no one in power in this dark world ever bothered to read.      

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