10/1/18, The Rose and the Thorns


Hi Everyone,


I hope you’ve had a good week. I’ve had a long crazy one, travelling again, and my travel day this time consisted of TWO, not one but TWO cancelled flights, and 7 hours in the airport between them (with my 3 dogs), only to go nowhere and go back home that night, unable to get a seat out for another 2 days. It’s fairly typical travel hell nowadays, but it sure isn’t fun when it’s happening. And I think cancelled and delayed flights happen a lot now. In the end it took me 4 days to get home, instead of one. It’s all part of the complicated landscape of travelling now, and challenging at best. I was exhausted by the time I got home.


Two hours after I got home, I celebrated my daughter’s birthday with her, and some friends. It was a really fun evening, and her birthday was the reason I came home. I would have swum home if I had to, not to disappoint her.


And the next day, I had some sad, bad news. A friend had gotten sick a few weeks ago, seemed to be coming out of it and recovering, and this morning at barely 60, he had cardiac arrest and died. I was stunned when I got the call. It just didn’t seem reasonable or possible. We had spoken only a few days ago, and emailed regularly. He was a wise, intelligent, extremely kind person who had been very helpful to me, always willing and quick to go the extra mile to help. He was a truly lovely man, with strong protective instincts. I always felt safe when in his presence, as though nothing could harm me when he was around, which is a rare feeling. I met him many years ago, and our paths crossed again earlier this year. The friendship picked up then for the past several months. I saw him twice this summer, and as usual, he was wonderful to me. We exchanged some emails, just chatting, and three weeks ago, I learned through one of my children, he was ill in the hospital, and wanted to hear from me. So I sent him an email, and we began talking. He was suffering from the illness he had, but he was determined to beat it. And he assured me only days ago that he would. While he was ill for the past few weeks, our correspondence became voluminous and intense, as I tried to encourage him, and hoped he would get well soon. I sent him some prayer cards, and some religious things, including a medal from a convent near my childhood home in Paris, and some books. And our email exchanges were fun too. I was always happy to hear from him, and he was grateful for the support. The thought that he might not get well seemed remote and unlikely, and he said that he was confident that he would. We spoke a few days ago, and he was “confident that he was getting better”. And then one morning a few days ago, that terrible call, that he had died suddenly, and was gone. It left an instant void, and an overwhelming feeling of sadness, and I was stunned all day after hearing about it.


The concept of birth and death has always been a mystery to me. It always struck me when I was having a baby. One moment you are X number of people in the delivery room, and minutes later, there is one more person in the room. How did they get here? It is utterly remarkable to me that a person can be added or subtracted at a moment’s notice. And similarly, death makes no sense to me at all. People you love and care about and know, see regularly or once in a while, and suddenly that person no longer exists. Game over. The person you loved or knew is nowhere to be found on this planet, you can’t talk to them or see them, and never will again. Vanished. Gone. Whatever they were doing before, and in all the places where you used to see them, they are no longer there, and you will never hear their voice or see their face again. It seems incredibly cruel, especially with our loved ones. Now you see me, now you don’t. And we are left with the memories of time shared with them.


I’ve often said that some books are shorter than others, and it applies to people too. Some lives are shorter, and they are not meant to go the whole long distance. But for those of us left with our memories, and not with the person we loved, it’s hard to understand why this happened, and what it means to us.  I will miss talking to my friend, and reading emails from him, the exchange of laughter, the comfort and the reassurance of his emails. Why destiny chose to make our paths cross again this summer for these few months, I don’t know. And I know even less how such a lovely person, anxious to help anyone he could, should die so young. I’m grateful to have known him, I will cherish the memories of who he was and what he shared, and the example he set for kindness in this world. He always went the extra mile for anyone.  I will miss his smiling face, and so much about him.  He said to me the last time we spoke, that he preferred to focus on the roses in life than the thorns. He was certainly a rose in many lives, and I will long remember and cherish his friendship.


Have a great week!!


love, Danielle


Leave a Comment

If you would like to make a comment, please fill out the form below.

Name (required)

Email (required)


7 Comments so far
  1. Laura Jammal October 1, 2018 6:28 pm

    Dear Ms. Steel, I read eagerly your books and wait anxiously for your blog every week. What you wrote today are the exact thoughts that were going through my mind. I lost my mom a few months ago and I am still wondering how can we go on without ever seeing that someone we loved almost every day…Now you see me, now you don’t. Faith is the only way and I don’t know where we would be without it. Thank you for all what you give to others, your thoughts, your wisdom and your books…They keep me going.


  2. Sue Radford October 1, 2018 11:02 pm

    Hi Daniel

    I’ve read nearly every book you’ve written, and I have to say, I really loved ‘Past Perfect’. That little bit of light hearted fantasy took me away from all the negative depressing things I read on the internet. I’m almost at the point of not watching the news, but then one would be totally ignorant, so one must persevere….I was saddened to read about your friend and as long as I live, I’ll never understand why so many good people die young, when seemingly awful fiends go on and on like the energiser battery, never getting sick then slip off this mortal coil in a gentle manner! I justify the inequalities of life with the belief that a decent person will enjoy a happy eternity and I hope this will be the case for your friend. Looking very forward to some more light hearted fiction in the future, should you feel inclined to occasionally go that way.

    All the very best,


  3. Camille October 2, 2018 6:48 pm

    This story reminded me what the saying in French: ” J aime les roses mais je crains ses epines”… or :” La dialectique de la vie et de la mort”.



  4. Stephanie Oeyen October 4, 2018 7:17 am

    Dear Danielle,

    I’ve read lots of your books one of them more than once “Palomino” is one of my favorites because he restored my hope for my personal situation.

    I’m sorry for your loss. It’s true we don’t understand we people have to die. Why some lives are shorter than others. I’m not really a religious person, but I do believe everything happens for a reason even if we don’t always understand why so maybe destiny made you paths cross again for you to two to pick up your friendship again and for you to tell one another what needed.

    Your friend might be gone physically, but he’s still there somewhere, watching over you as long as you think about him, talk about him, he’ll still be alive. The love once we’ve lost are always we us in one way or another and will always be in our heart.

    Wishing you all the best even through these difficult times.


    Le ciel a une nouvelle étoile. C’est ce que j’aime me dire lorsque une personne que j’aime disparait.

  5. PJ October 5, 2018 1:15 pm

    I share your feelings concerning death.
    My Mother died when I was 10 years old and I was an only child. Although I believed strongly in God, I didn’t understand death then and 40 years later still struggle with it. I’ve asked those in my church who believe “there is no death” to explain it to me and I still don’t get it.
    Sorry about the loss of your friend, and am grateful you were able to re-connect with him last summer.

  6. Edward October 5, 2018 3:57 pm

    Hello Ms. Danielle steel I would like to congratulate you on your success and all your publishing and movie adaptations.
    However, U do have one of your book HRH and it has a double plate error. I was wondering if you’re aware of this from Penguin Random House Publishing.


  7. marian mcdonald October 5, 2018 8:06 pm

    I just finished reading your book ECHOES, it was a book I’ll never forget. It was
    very emotional, I cried a lot. I read many of your books, this was exceptional, so so emotional. I’ve never felt the need to write an author before, and I’ve read hundreds of books and different authors. I felt I had to tell you how much I enjoyed it, I mean loved it. Fantastic story.