Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Prayer of Gratitude for Delle Chatman

My beloved friend, writing mentor and Act One faculty member Delle Chatman died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. She fought recurrent ovarian cancer
for just over four years, and each year she rebounded and spent precious
time teaching at the opening retreats of our Writing Program. She
joined us as recently as this July to teach at the 2006 Summer Writing
Program retreat in Malibu.

I first met Delle at Northwestern University where she headed up the screenwriting department. I remember thinking on the first day of class with her, "This lady has got to be a Christian." She stood out from the bitter, intolerant nostalgic Marxists on the film department faculty there because of her grace and passion for beauty, and her genuine respect for each student.

Delle was an amazing person and absolutely defied any easy categorization. She was always kind and full of hope and optimism. I loved her and it makes me sad to think that I will have to wait who knows how long to see her again. Please say a prayer for Delle today, and her daughter and friends and family.

Below are excerpts from a recent email she wrote.


The time has come for me to begin my journey to God through the sacred
corridor of hospice.

The cancer has gotten so far ahead of us that the side effects from the
drugs we're using to overtake it have themselves become debilitating.
Rather than allow further treatment to beat me down, I want to invest my
remaining strength and time in Ramona, God, friends, and getting my
house in order so that my loved ones are not left with a monumental
mound of Delle-dom through which they must sort and sift. To complicate
matters more, because Medicaid has paid for two years of my medical
treatment, if things are left just so, they will come back after my
death and take much of what I hope to leave to the Remarkable Ramona.
This isn't news to any of you who have laid a loved one to rest. One of
my mantras is, "I will not leave a mess!" ...

So many have prayed for so long that I would be delivered from this
horrific disease. Thank you. Thank you for every last prayer and
please do not feel that those prayers have been in vain. I certainly do
not. November 5 is my ***fourth*** "cancer-versary" and for a gal with
Stage IV Ovarian, this has been an extraordinarily long haul. Not only
that. These have been wondrous years for me and Ramona and for me and
the Lord. He's still working with me, even now.

My other mantra is "I'm Yours, Lord. All yours!"

I catch glimpses of Him from time to time, eyes full of compassion and
mercy. He is beautiful to behold.

Pray that my faith holds, that my family's faith holds . . . and that as
the dust settles all will be well. ...

It has been a privilege to share this journey with each of you.



P.S. Remember, brothers and sisters, either we believe in eternal life
or we don't.

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