Monday, September 17, 2012

Daniel Saraga - the Herring at the Haggis and Herring

It is with a broken heart that I write this.

My beloved Daniel passed away suddenly on Friday night, surrounded by his family.  In true Daniel style he had just finished barbecuing dinner for everyone.

I wanted to share the eulogy that gave at his service yesterday.  There is a hole in my heart.

I have to apologies to Daniel for the COMPLETE lack of editing. I know it's an insult to post something so lacking in proper editing on your blog - but I am so tired and I need to this.


My Darling Daniel.   That’s how I addressed all my cards to him and he called me his one and only.  And I know that’s true - he lived it and proved it everyday.

I needed to speak today because I need all of you to understand what the world has lost.  What his parents and brother have lost, what his children have lost and what I have lost.  A few people thought speaking today might be too much for me - to that Dan says “have you met my wife?”  

Daniel was the single greatest person I have ever met.   I loved him and I hope he knows and understands that. We had a lifetime planned but only got six years.  Luckily for me I have my children for that lifetime. 

Daniel was a son, father, brother, cousin, nephew, son-in-law, brother-in-law, grandson, friend and my husband

I fell in love when Dan on our 3rd date.  That day he showed a strength of character that is rarely seen.  The third  time we were supposed to go out I tried to cancel because my brother Jeremy’s cat was dying in Burlington and I needed to go and be there.  Dan immediately told me he would drive me.  I protested that it would be an odd situation because of the cat and that my mother has no idea he existed.  He said it would be fine so I accepted.  He drove out there, watched as I held my cat, brought flowers for my mom, and then when we had finished dinner he realised Raffi had died.  He immediately consoled me and took me out for a walk.This sound small but showed a tremendous amount of compassion for a person he barely knew who was devastated over the death of their cat.  That is who Daniel was. I knew immediately that I would be able to count on him no matter what - through what ever happened.  And I was right. That is what makes this especially hard.

The greatest gifts he gave me are our three children and he was an amazing father.  They made his face light up.  And you all know that thousand watt smile of his.  

Jacob- You are so like him in many ways. I see his generosity and compassion in you. The very first time I meet a your Dad he showed me a picture of you and you should have seen him face when he showed it me.  He was was so proud of you.  Learning how to ride a bike this summer, reading Harry Potter with you was the highlight of his life for over a year, putting the duck away, your hats and the special sense of humour you shared.  For example. Labeling ice cream in the freezer “Babba’s Soup” so I wouldn’t know you two had bought it.

Jeremy- Your dad often would just spontaneously say - you are so darn cute. He delighted in watching you eat.  He actually often used to entertain people by feeding you various food and telling them to watch.  And entertaining it was. Not may under twos enjoy calamari, fish, jerk chicken, curry, haggis and herring etc the list goes on.  There is no doubt you inherited your dad passion for food and I can’t wait until you start cooking food for me.



J3- the one that Daddy only met through ultra sound pictures, my growing bump and the kicks that he finally got to feel on thurs night.  I know your daddy’s spirit will be with me everyday of your life.

I wanted to mention some highlights from Daniel life to show what an extraordinary individual he was.

1. Music - you can’t talk about Dan without talking about music. He loved music.I was amazed when I discovered what a talented musician Dan was.  He could play almost any song by ear on his clarinet. When he found out how impressed I was by that talent he said “should have done that on the first date- that would have been it.” 

2. Family- Family was everything to Dan. This included blood and non-blood related individuals, Dan bestowed the title family to many people. There was no differentiation between his side and my side. It was  a collective. He supported me through the passing of my grandparents. He called his Mother every morning. So his brother learned from him and called her every night.   His children were his greatest delight.  He would do anything for family.  

3.Travel.  Before we met Dan hadn’t had the opportunity to travel much.  I soon changed that and the bug firmly took hold.  We went on a cruise, then Aruba, Israel, Alaska, England, Calgary, Edmonton and the Dominican.  We had so many more trips planned.

4. Food.  The Haggis and the Herring. His blog.  Well not just his blog but our house.  We call ourselves the Haggis and the Herring - a nod to our heritages.  The night we went into labour with Jeremy we actually had haggis and herring for dinner. Certainly not your typical combination but at first glance neither were Dan and I.

I need to mention some imperfections - lest you all believe he was too perfect- or rather things that we had “discussions” about as my grandparents would say . His idiosyncrasy made much of how he was.  The pacing- something he and his brother share and something which Amanda and I hope I children DON’T inherit, he could be a dog with a bone at times worrying at something that long ago should have been dropped, his refusal to wear anything but jeans- we had a battle every single time a dress up event approached. My solution was to schedule a meeting with him in his calendar in advance to discuss his wardrobe.  He refused to understand that I wasn’t disorganised I just wasn’t his style of organized. 

Sensitive, compassionate, always ready to help. He lifted me up.  He believed in me and us and life when I couldn’t. When we lost our two babies, when we celebrated Jacobs milestones and Jeremy arrival and the hundreds of thousand little moments that we celebrated. and he was my rock.  That final Friday - his very favorite special night- we did get one great last moment- maybe half an hour before he died, where he told me he loved me and  that everything was going to be ok.  

I would like to read from our Ketubah- because this is really truly how we lived and sums up all I am trying to say about Dan.

"Today I love you completely, as I did yesterday and as I will tomorrow. I will be there for you when you need me most.” We will always try to be understanding and forgiving, sensitive to each other's needs and feelings. We will be there for each other in times of need as in times of celebration. We will share in each other's hopes and dreams and support each other to achievements great and small and through all of life's setbacks. May our hearts be united forever in faith and hope. Let our home be built on understanding and loving-kindness. May our home be rich with wisdom and reverence. May we always keep these words in our hearts as a symbol of our eternal commitment to each other: I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine.

Anee L'Dohdee V'Dohdee Lee




Recipes by the Haggis and the Herring: tasty world recipes tested in our kitchen
Try other tasty recipes

84 comments:

  1. My dear brother I will miss you forever and I will make sure your legacy of haggis and herring never ends.

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  2. Brother inlaw. Brother. You made no distinction. I felt as welcome in your home as I did mine. You made my sister happy and that was the only requirement for me. I'll watch over as best I can, but your legacy is the people you touched, who will support her, friends and especially family. Thanks to you, I've tried so many new foods, and I will endeavour to take a page from your book and try to eat healthier. Ellen and my love to you.

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  3. This is a beautiful tribute - so true

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  4. Dan you will be sorely missed... and Meredith you did an amazing job raeding yesterday. He truly enjoyed cooking! That is no lie!

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  5. I heard about your loss through a friend of mine who is also a food blogger. I am so deeply touched by your beautiful tribute to your husband and can only begin to imagine how sad this is for all of you. I hope your wonderful memories will bring you comfort in the days ahead. From what you wrote, Dan touched the lives of many and he will live on in your hearts. Take care and know others are thinking about you from afar. Mary S.

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  6. I am so sorry. Daniel was a supportive and wonderful person in the blogosphere, and he will be truly missed.

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  7. We are friends with Abisaac and Amanda ... and want to convey our deepest heartfelt condolences to you and your family. Your beautiful eulogy and tribute to the love and life you shared with your husband is deeply touching. Thinking of you all ... Sherri & Kevin

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  8. This was a beautiful eulogy.

    Dan, our tiny peanut has grown into such smart, generous, loving boy. We did this together. I am so grateful for the wisdom you imparted on him and the patience you showed him. He will never forget these things. I have so many memories to share with him. Jacob loves his Meredith & Jeremy & J3 (or D?) & the Saragas. I promise to lovingly support and nurture each relationship.

    For my mistakes I am truly sorry. Love.

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  9. Meant to say "and the Saragas and Burbidges."

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  10. Meredith, that's a lovely tribute to Daniel. I have not met you or Daniel in person but as a long-time reader of Haggis and Herring, his love and passion towards his family (as well as food) has always shone through his writing, and his contribution to the blogosphere will really be missed. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    Jenny x

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  11. The life of one can touch so many. I am a friend of Abisaac and Amanda, and though I have never met Daniel, the loss resonates even among those who didn't get the chance to know him. I am so sorry for your loss, my heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with your family. -Dani

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  12. Meredith, this is so beautiful. My thoughts are with you.

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  13. I am so sorry for your loss. Please accept my sincerest condolences and know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

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  14. I am so sorry for your loss. The words were beautiful and emotional. Truly a man who will be missed. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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  15. My heart aches for you and your family. What profound and loving words you have written. It lets me know just a little bit more of him. I'm the "Group B" hostess for the Secret Recipe Club. I've always appreciated Daniel's willingness to help and his dedication to the SRC and to his love of cooking. Many prayers. He will be sorely missed!

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  16. My thoughts and prayers are with you during your time of sadness and grief. I'm so sorry to hear of Daniel's passing.

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  17. This was a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man. I always enjoyed seeing what you guys put together on this blog. Know that we're all here for you in any way that you need us.

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  18. I'm so sorry for your loss and to hear of Daniel's passing! (I'm in Group A/SRC, but "knew" of him before with all his knowledge on our food bloggers chats in Yahoo and such. What a great man! What a great write up you have done.
    Again, so sorry to hear! Peace be with you and your family!

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  19. I am so, so sorry for your loss. It sounds like he was an amazing man! We will miss him in blogland.

    Prayers to your family!

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  20. I'm so sorry about your tragic loss. I hope that your many wonderful memories will help you through this incredibly difficult time.

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  21. A beautiful eulogy. So sorry for your loss and Daniel will be missed by many in blogland too.

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  22. Oh Meredith, what beautiful words and wonderful tribute to Daniel. He was such a helpful and supportive blogger, paying special attention to those that were new to blogging. He was always willing to help and share his knowledge. I am so sorry for your loss, may he rest in peace. May you find peace as well and my prayers and thoughts are with you and your family. God bless.

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  23. Dear Meredith,
    I am so truly sorry to hear of Daniel's passing. Sending virtual love and light to your family at this difficult time.

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  24. Meredith,
    I knew Daniel only through blogging. He was always so helpful to me when I had a blogging problem or question that I thought of him as a friend. I am so sorry to hear of his passing and for your loss. Your tribute to Daniel is beautiful. May God be with you at this difficult time.

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  25. Daniel Saraga — my cousin — was a kind and gentle person. He had a warm infectious personality which always made me smile. I have only the fondest of memories of him. I will miss his very much.

    Jimmy

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  26. I am so very, very sorry for you and your families loss. He was a joy to have in the Secret Recipe Club, and his kindness and tasty recipes will be greatly missed. RIP Daniel.

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  27. Although I didn't know Daniel personally, I felt as if I knew his positive spirit through the blogger-sphere, through his comments on my blog, and through the food that was posted here on this site. Please know that you have my condolences.

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  28. I am so very sorry for your loss!

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  29. I am so very sorry for your loss. I'm another SRC member and know that Daniel could always be counted on to help with any blogging questions and always left such positive feedback in SRC posts. I pray that your family finds comfort in this difficult time

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  30. Meredith and Daniel's family,

    I am so sorry for your loss. Many of us came to love Daniel through the blogosphere. His passion for food was apparent in every recipe he shared, every article he wrote. We are all better people for having known him.

    The SRC will be honoring Daniel with a special day on Oct 1st. We hope that this will help expand his reach and keep his memory alive.

    Thank you for sharing him with all of us ...

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  31. I am so very sorry for your loss. I only knew Daniel through blogging, but his wonderful personality shone through in his writing, recipes, and helpful comments. His warm and gracious spirit will be missed greatly. I can't even imagine what you are going through right now and my thoughts are with you.

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  32. may G-d hold you in the palm of His hand and offer you the everlasting gift of peace. May your memories hold you together and may you find joy in bringing a new life into the world. Wishing you a long life.

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  33. A beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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  34. Although I msy not know you personally, I feel connected through thre bloggy world. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May god give you strength to overcome this grief and cherish the wonderful memories that will always remain with you of your time shared together.

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  35. Im.really sorry for your loss Daniel was and special and nice man.
    Youmade a beautiful tribute Meredith.and my thoughts and prayers are with yoi.

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  36. Daniel was a true light. In the time, I knew him online, he often helped me. It was just last week that we had a talk. He was a person, I looked up to and liked.

    I know there is meaning that this happened right before Rosh Ha Shana. I don't know what it is but I choose to believe it has something to do with his greatness as an individual.

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  37. I haven't visited your blog in a long time...but I had to offer my deepest condolences on your loss, Meredith. A beautiful tribute Your children will treasure the words you shared about their father. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

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  38. Meredith, I left you out and right now, it is all about you and how you will manage. I pray that you have the strength and the people around you to help you. You will keep Daniel's memory alive and we all will remember him, even if our relationship was simply through blogging.

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  39. I am so sorry for your loss. We were in the same group of Secret Recipe Club and he was one of the first bloggers I met. Always commenting on everyone's blogs with such kind words. We will miss him!

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  40. I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. I am a fellow Secret Recipe Club member and foodie. I didn't know your husband but he sounds truly remarkable, and your tribute is beautiful.

    Prayers for you.

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  41. I am so sorry for your loss. I only knew Daniel through the SRC and I have always known him to be the first to help out and answer questions about blogging. Your tribute was beautiful. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

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  42. I am so sorry - I could always comment on a supportive comment for Daniel after every reveal. My heart goes out to your and your family.

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  43. Deepest condolences for your loss Meredith. This is a beautful post in honour of Daniel.

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  44. Deepest condolences for your loss :(

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  45. I'm so sorry to hear of Daniel's sudden passing. With a heavy heart, I extend my deep condolences to you and your family at this difficult time. What a beautiful letter.

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  46. I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute this is. Wishing you love and strength and support at this unimaginable time. My thoughts and support are with your family.

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  47. I am so saddened to learn of Daniel's passing. I pray for peace for the entire family. Daniel's impact on the blogosphere did not go unnoticed and he was a wonderful, supportive fellow blogger who always had a kind word for everyone.
    My thoughts and prayers go out to your entire family.

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  48. Meredith, I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. Your eulogy is absolutely beautiful and something that you and your children will cherish forever along with the wonderful memories you all shared. I pray that you all find comfort and strength in each other and by the love that completely surrounds you. Big hugs.

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  49. I first "met" Daniel when I featured your blog through the Secret Recipe Club. I am truly saddened to read of his sudden passing. May you find strength, peace, hope and comfort in Him, who watches over us. My deepest condolences.

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  50. Meredith, I only know your husband through your blog, his blog, but I wanted to express my sincere condolences and admiration for your beautiful eulogy. For being under 40 I have already had two close friends lose spouses. And there are never the right words to say that can convey that depth of loss. You said it perfectly: he was my rock. But know - at this time when you can feel anchorless and lost, you can find solace in your memories, your children, and your friends. Daniel will always be with you through those.

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  51. I'm so very sorry for your loss, Meredith. Like most of the other commenters, I also knew Daniel through the SRC, where we will all miss his kind and helpful words.
    I can't even begin to imagine the depth of your loss, but I hope that your memories of Daniel and the family you built together will help you through this difficult time. Keeping you and your little ones in my thoughts today.

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  52. I am so sorry for your loss...Daniel was clearly a wonderful man, husband, and father, and he will be missed. My heart goes out to you as you work through your grief. Keep those memories close and cherish the time you had. It's never enough, I know, but it's all we can do. My prayers are with you and your family.

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  53. Meredith, your words are a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man, husband and father. I am so sorry for the loss that your family has suffered and hope you can find solace in the wonderful memories you have.

    I only "met" you and Daniel because of SRC Group B, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading Daniel's posts and his thoughtful comments--always making a point to say something positive on nearly every post. The world is a little less bright without him, but I wish you peace as your work through this troubling time.

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  54. Meredith, I got to "meet" your husband through food blogging, as you imagine, he is a member of The Secret Recipe Club.

    I was shocked to learn of his death, and still am. I read your tribute choking down tears, even though I don't know any of you personally. I imagine your pain, your suffering, but I can see why Daniel would say "have you met my wife?"

    you come across as strong, powerful, loving, and special.

    May you surround yourself with friends and much affection to help you through these rough waters.

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  55. I'm so sorry for your loss and all of ours. I'll miss Daniel's wit and passion. Thank you so much for your amazing tribute. And may you and your children continue to gain strength from his memory.

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  56. My heart is breaking for you and your family. I hope you find strength in them to help you through this.

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  57. I have no words to adequately convey my condolences. I looked forward to Daniel's comments on my site and enjoyed all the recipes he posted. He introduced me to a lot of new flavors. I cannot think how I would be feeling if I were in your shoes. You are brave and the eulogy was beautiful.

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  58. I'm so sorry to hear of Daniel's sudden passing. With a heavy heart, I extend my deep condolences to you and your family at this difficult time. That is a beautiful letter.

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  59. Meredith and Family,
    My heartfelt sympathy to you at such a time of great loss. Daniel was such a kind man and always willing to help or try and make someone feel better. Your eulogy was beautiful about a wonderful man and the deep love of his family and friends. May God be with you in the days ahead.
    Miz Helen

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  60. I was so sad to hear this news. My deepest sympathy to you and your family, Meredith, but especially to you. Daniel's love for his family shone through in every post. Your brave and wonderful eulogy is a beautiful tribute to him. I am praying for you and yours.

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  61. My heart and prayers go out to you and your family during this time, Meredith. Though my interactions in the blogging world with Daniel were limited, he struck me as a kind man whose family came first in every way. I am very sad to hear of your loss, and pray that you find light and solace in the days to come.

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  62. I'm so sorry for your loss. What a loving tribute.

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  63. I knew Daniel through The Secret Recipe Club and I will always remember how helpful Daniel was whenever I had a question or problem. My deepest condolences to you and your family.

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  64. Meredith, please accept my condolences. Daniel was a wonderful presence in the blogosphere and I can only imagine the wonderful person he was. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

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  65. Such a moving tribute; I am so sorry for your loss. You and your children have my thoughts and prayers.

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  66. I am so sorry for you and your family's loss. My thoughts and prayers go out to you all. This is a wonderful tribute. The food blog world will truly miss Daniel.

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  67. I am so shocked to read this and incredibly saddened for you Meredith and your children. There are only a handful of people I felt a connection with through blogging and Daniel was one of them. I pray for your comfort at this time and strength in mourning.

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  68. I'm so incredibly sorry for your loss. I knew Daniel through Secret Recipe Club;he was an inspiration, supportive and fun part of the club and blogosphere. You and your family will remain in my thoughts and prayers.

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  69. I'm so very sorry for your loss. May you find the strength, through your family, friends, neighbours, your extended family here on the blog and friends and your love for your beloved Daniel, to help you through this incredibly painful and heartbreaking time. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  70. Meredith - I heard about your blog and Daniel's passing through a mutual friend. My deepest sympathies. Your eulogy is beautiful and I'll be back to visit your blog soon. I hope that you find comfort in the many words and thoughts in these comments from friends and even strangers like me. We're all with you.

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  71. Abisaac, I heard about your loss through a friend. My condolences to you and your family. Denuja (from GS Henry)

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  72. I am so sorry for your loss. Dan sounds like he was a wonderful man, husband and father. Your eulogy was beautiful. I wish you and your young family well. As you know, tomorrow an entire group of food bloggers will be paying tribute to Daniel by making dishes of his off his blog. I am one of those bloggers and made his bangers and mash last night. We made a toast in Dan's honor before sitting down to eat. The meal, his meal, was outstanding!

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  73. My heart breaks for your loss. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

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  74. I heard about your loss through a mutual blogger, Gloria ~

    My deepest condolences ~ This is a very touching post ~

    Blessings ~

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  75. Dear Meredith, I do not know how to console you for your loss, I came to know about Daniel through SRC, I was amazed to find out his love for cooking and blogging, what a versatile blogger he was. I was shocked when I got the mail, My love, thoughts and prayers to you and the little ones, he will always remain in our memory.
    My tearful and heartfelt condolences to you and to your family. Hoping and praying that the Lord gives you all the strength, Hope and power to go through this difficult time, Let HIM carry you in his Heart and not just walk with you but carry you in his hands, take care Meredith.
    with lots of love
    Jayasri

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  76. I am so sorry for your loss. Your words made me cry but I am sure that does not even come close to the sorrow and the loss you feel
    Sending you a big hug and I just wanted you to know you are in my thoughts and prayers

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  77. We tried so hard to meet up with both of you last summer in Toronto but time and schedules did not permit. It was with a heavy heart that I heard about Dan's passing today on another blog. I am sorry that I have never known the man you describe in your lovely tribute and he will be truly missed by family, friends and extended family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you throughout this time.

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  78. Just came through from a blogger friend's page to say how sorry I am to hear about your loss.I never knew Daniel but he seemed like a very nice and a genuine person.Sending you hugs and praying for your family.

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  79. What a beautiful eulogy for an obviously wonderful and truly loved human being. I can tell he touched the heart and souls of many. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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  80. Dearest Family, there are no words of comfort that anyone could say.The Love and JOY that were shared by all the people
    that knew him.The most beautiful love story you two had people only dream about. Your beautiful children will get through the days a head. They will keep you so close.
    God Richly Bless you.

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  81. I didn't have the fortune of knowing daniel or you or the blog until today. I saw a meatball post on twitter from one of your blogging friends. I am so sorry for your loss but so moved by your words and the person that daniel is. The world and anyone who knew him are the better for it. may you continued to be blessed with his presence and memories and may you always feel his soul with you.

    Peter @Feed Your Soul

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  82. I just stumbled across this website and realized that Daniel was the son of my most favorite grade school teacher - Rochelle Saraga. I'm not sure if you will see this post Mrs Saraga but I do want to express my condolences for your loss. I actually remember meeting Daniel when you were my teacher - we were very close in age. Many years have passed but I have many wonderful memories of what a caring teacher you were at General Mercer Public School.

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  83. Hello,
    My name is Trista and I went to university with Dan. Dan and I were pretty good friends for the three years he was in school at Trent. I remember the crazy pacing, the year I was sick in bed and Dan ran out into a blizzard and flipped out on the ice trying to get me help. Sigh! And the homemade cous-cous and the mazzah ball soup. And the time I went home and forgot to turn off my alarm. I came back to find about 20 or so sticky notes on my door saying BEEEP BEEEP BEEP.
    It is with my deepest sorry that we have lost Dan, a true friend and mentor.

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