Leela Francis, ‘We Don’t Say Goodbye‏’


Dear Sister,

I’ve spent much of the last 2.5 years courting my mother through the end of her life. Besides making peace with letting her go, I’ve been dancing with the reality of cancer touching one so close to me, accepting that there are indeed some things I cannot control, let alone understand, and trusting that even in this there are gifts.

In the end, after phone calls and visits, bedside vigils, and years of coming and going since I moved away from Montreal when I was 19, I arrived at the deep deep knowing, that we don’t, after all, ever really say goodbye.

The last times I spoke with and held mum’s hand, I told her that we would always be together, that no matter where I go or she goes, we would always, in our hearts be with each other. This is the gift of living so devotedly to the power of love. After my own lifetime of leaving and bidding farewell at airport security checks, and after major milestones in my mother’s life like when she was separated from her parents to be placed in foster care in Switzerland during the Nazi invasion of Paris, her hometown, and the sudden loss of my father when he died of a heart attack on the dance floor 31 years ago, Mum and I finally made a pact not to ever have to say goodbye again. The french expression, au revoir , is a good one. Rather than focusing on good bye, it expresses instead the intention to be together again.

One of my dear Vividly Woman sisters told me that when her mother passed away, she felt closer than ever to her. It was sharings and wisdom like that, that I was loved and supported with these last years from so many women in the Vividly Woman community, that in such a profound way helped me to make my way through this difficult time. All the circles that held me and rocked me through this initiation are forever a precious part of the dance of my mother’s passing.

I’m navigating my way well through the loss and bittersweetness of grief. I’ve been blessed to be with family and spend lots of time in my mother’s apartment cradled by her things and the little universe she created. Tomorrow I head back to Mexico where nature’s loving embrace inevitably holds more healing gifts for me.

Thank you for being a Sister to me. Yes I will always only have one mother, but I have been blessed by so many dear, dear Sisters.

Love and sisterhood,

Leela Francis [email protected]

Rosette Donenfeld

DONENFELD, Rosette (née Steingart). Rosette was born in Paris in 1936, daughter of Mary Altman and Israel Steingart. She passed away on Thursday, February 23, 2012.

She was adored by two men in her lifetime, her devoted partner Ben Sperer and her first love, Louis Donenfeld (deceased in 1980). She was deeply loved by her family, Nancy and Moti, Alan and Alia, Peggi (Leela) and Greg; Liohn and Dara, and Benjy; her sister Charlotte Adelman, and Gaby, Stephen, Yoni and Maya Sperer. We will forever cherish our time together.

Our sincere thanks to the staff of the Palliative Care Unit at the Jewish General Hospital for their tender care. Contributions in Rosette’s memory may be made to “The Louis and Rosette Donenfeld Memorial Fund for Oncology” c/o the Jewish General Hospital Foundation, (514) 340-8251.



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