My friend Diana Fong died yesterday. It is a strange feeling when death comes: for me it is equal parts familiar and foreign, because though I have lost people before, each person leaves a unique hole.
I got to know Diana first as “Princess”- her name at Koinonia, the camp she worked for and also, in many ways, called home. Through friends we were introduced to the camp built on a hill beside a pretty lake called Haines. For years we’ve spent a week as a family there. Camp Koinonia was host to The Dale at the beginning of July and where Cate and two of her friends went yesterday to stay for a week. I imagine that it is somehow fitting that Diana died on the first day of Kids Camp, the place bustling with people. I think I will always look for her sitting in her spot in the lodge, overseeing the comings and goings of campers. She loved that place.
In 2012 The Dale (at that time PNC) needed help. We were rapidly running out of financial resources and needed to re-jig much of what we were doing as an organization. I put out an impassioned plea for bookkeeping assistance. Diana responded immediately. Until she fell ill just a short time ago Diana remained The Dale’s volunteer bookkeeper. It is not an overstatement to say I’m not sure what I would have done without her.
Diana and I did not always see eye-to-eye on things. We quite often had debates about the direction something like The Dale’s fundraising efforts should take. One of the things I will always appreciate about our friendship was the way we knew when the disagreement had gone too far. Diana and I learned how to talk things through and apologize to one another. There was something deeply real and good about our relationship.
Diana will be missed by many people. It was not unusual for Diana to respond as quickly as she did when I needed help at The Dale. Diana loved to help and was generous with her time. There was an abundance to Diana exhibited in her desire to support others, including the many children who she became a surrogate-like parent to. My condolences extend to her family, her friends and the many communities that she touched.
You will be missed Princess.