Betty Rothenberger

"I have known Daphne longer than anyone. Daphne and I sit in circle together. Daphne has liver cancer. She has chosen not to have medical treatment, and we are watching and sharing her journey toward certain death.  We are listening attentively to her as she tells us how she feels the afternoon we are gathered in her living room.

I remember when she said, “I had an overwhelming sense of JOY as I woke today”.  She is thinking of her late husband, Otto, and how he is waiting for her. She says tears fell as she lay back on her pillow.  Daphne says she has found a large silver cross he had bought her in Sweden, and it’s by her bedside.  She asks one of us to get it for her and bring it to the circle.  It is quite a lovely design, actually three crosses of heavy silver superimposed, one on another.  We each hold it in our hand and feel her energy.

Daphne has a spiritual director from Hospice.  They have short walks and long talks.  Daphne is taking 12-hour pain release pills that cause her to slur her speech when we visit on the phone.  Daphne reads me Psalm 84, “How lovely is thy dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!  My soul longs, yea, faints for the courts of the Lord: my heart and fleshsing for joy to the living God.”  I tell her that she was the first person to greet me on my arrival in San Mateo, and that I expect her to be the first person to greet me on my arrival in Heaven.  She will say, “Come on in, we’re having a party.” My heart is breaking, but the circle is holding us both.   Writing now I like saying her name, I like saying her real name, Daphne, it keeps her with me."