Danielle was going to save the planet and make the world a better place. Even though she only lived 23 years, she truly did just this. She was serving in the Peace Corps in Africa teaching chemistry and biology in Gulu, Uganda. She was loved by all the people she came in contact with and easily picked up the local language. She was also working hard to stamp out malaria and to educate the locals on how to avoid malaria.
I am very proud of all she was doing as an adult, but my favorite memories are from our growing up days. We vacationed nearly every year with her and her family and nearly always even shared rental cabins with them. She was actually born on August 20th, 1989. Lo and behold my mom had my youngest sister exactly a year later on August 20th, 1990. Talk about fun birthdays! Plus I never had to worry about forgetting Danielle's birthday.
If I had to pick my favorite memory of Danielle, it was the story of when she went to get her kindergarten shots. My aunt told me and I have never forgotten. Danielle loved the movie Homeward Bound and liked Chance in particular. Well when they took her back and went to give her the shots she started screaming "No, no, no. Please. Just let me dieeeee!!!!" like Chance did in that movie. My aunt was mortified.
I remember she loved Barney and Thomas the train as a child. She was a goofy, free spirit than and now. She used to be the Beast for my younger sister who was Beauty Belle. They would dance together like in that movie. I remember a particular home video where all the younger kids were saying Cheese over and over and over as my uncle Tom video taped since they thought it was like a camera. What is so funny is Destructo does this. Destructo acts a lot like Danielle did as a child and I am thankful for that since it seems like a bit of her memory will always live on in the antics of my wild child honey badger.
Another favorite memory of Danielle was when my Uncle Tom took Danielle, her sister Samantha, and my sister Dayna row boating at Taqanamenon falls. I am sure I butchered that spelling, but alas I am too lazy to look it up right now. He had never row boated before and ended up floating downstream towards the caution rapids signs. We made up a song and years later Danielle was the only one that could remember the entire thing. Since I heard of her passing, I have been trying desperately to remember the entire song. So far all I have come up with is about half of it and this make me quite sad. It started like: Let me tell you a little story about Uncle Tom, he took his three nieces out on the pond, next thing you know he saw a danger sign, and he told his three nieces prepare to die. Rapids that is, big rocks, and fast tides.
Uncle Joe (more words I can't remember) went to save the girls, left Uncle Tom to float. Before Uncle Tom could shoot off his flare, out came the ranger with a Deadly glare. Rapids that is, big rocks and fast tides.
The ranger jumped in to his motor boat, but (insert words I can't remember here) the motor began to choke (and a bunch of words I don't remember.)
Just after noon they finally reached the shore, the crowd stood up and began to roar, everyone wanted to know who's this Uncle Tom? He's the mountain man banned from the pond. Okay rest of my cousins and sisters, fill in the words if you guys remember them. We need to finally get that song down in writing.
Danielle and I shared a love of animals, biology, and acquiring useless degrees that didn't really get you a good job down the road. She was free spirit who wasn't afraid to go against the flow. I will forever remember her hatred of plastic water bottles when you can use reusable ones. We both had the love of saving planet Earth and I am sure she is smiling down at me from heaven as I use reusable baby food pouches and I am even going to invest in some of the cloth snack bags in her honor to go one step further.
Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers this weekend as we lay Danielle to rest.
"And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."