This cake is so bright in colour, joyful, and I loved making it, hoping it would put a smile on the recipient’s face. But now when I look at pictures of it, I can’t help but have tears in my eyes. I made it for John, on his 41st birthday, just two and a half months ago. John passed away this past week on September 1st, one year after being diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer – sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma. John was a dear friend of my sister’s, and the decades-long best friend of her husband, so I knew John over many years, but not closely – I’d see him at a party or at my sister’s house. It was only after his cancer diagnosis that we became friends via email, as those diagnosed with cancer often do – you tend to gravitate towards each other, grasping through the haze and daze of fear, strength, doubt, sickness, hope.
In our emails he would always ask ME how I was doing, even though I knew he wasn’t feeling well himself. I would check in with him and see how he was feeling, or try to send messages of encouragement. He once told me he was inspired by me and happy to see how strong I was feeling. I remember crying after reading this, just so hopeful that he would be okay.
The last time I saw him was just after he was diagnosed, and we ran into each other at the cancer agency. I was in for my daily radiation appointment and he was there with his wife Trixie. He was a tall man, dark haired, athletic, handsome, and I recognized him immediately through a sea of shell-shocked patients. We hugged, with tears in our eyes. Why us? A shared fear and a sense of support. The unknown can be a gutting place. I have always admired Trixie too – strong, blunt, funny and beautiful. John was such an awesome person, adored by so many. I remember him being easy going, incredibly likeable, the type of person you like to be around. He was a powerhouse athlete – a star basketball player, and in more recent years, a marathon runner – he qualified for, and ran the Boston Marathon only three years ago. He was an amazing husband, and incredible father to three growing boys.
Rest in peace, John. You will be missed by so many friends and loved ones. To read more about John, visit here. To support John’s family and contribute towards a fund dedicated to the future education and endeavours of his three sons, please visit Support John Dumont. xo Lyndsay
In Memory Of My Poh Poh
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Earl Grey Blackberry Cake With Torched Meringue (Inspired by Andy Bowdy)