Just last week I got an invitation to a baby shower.
I had no idea that an event honoring a new life could be so bittersweet.
The reason for the sadness along with the joy is that my friend, Dianne, — better known as Di — is not alive to celebrate her daughter Nikki’s first child. And a girl, no less. She would have been ecstatic!
I had known Dianne for about 30 years. Her son, Josh, was the first to give my daughter, Lyndi, roses. Her son Derek and my son Jeremy were look-alikes all through Paddock Road Elementary.
Dianne was one of those larger than life people you meet so infrequently. Her personality was so outgoing and friendly that I can’t imagine anyone ever forgetting her. She always dressed to the nines with matching fake fingernails to go with almost every outfit. She had at least 50 purses to go with her vast array of clothing. Jewelry to match her outfit always graced her ears, wrists, and neckline. And let’s not forget the hundreds of pairs of shoes.
Not only was Di a fashion statement, she was the kind of friend that every woman wishes she had. She was generous, almost to a fault. If she saw something that she thought a friend would like, she’d buy it, even if money was tight for her. I still cherish a pitcher that she bought for me. Every time we had bunco at her house, Dianne, the bunco queen, would scour her closets to make sure she had a present for everyone.
Di loved life and enjoyed every day. She was devoted to her whole family, not only her three children. Her grandson Cooper, Coopie, was the love of her life. She adored her nieces, nephews, and her aunts. When her mom was ill, Di was over there every day and would spend most nights with her to take care of her until her mom died. She always did special things and went out of her way for everyone she loved.
She was always available. Di had a personal, special bond with everyone — family and friends.
Dianne loved to dine out. Not eat, but dine. Di, our friend Dee Ann, and I were eating our way through the alphabet. We started with the letter A and chose a restaurant that began with each letter. It was never a quick bite. Our monthly evenings out were at least three hours and included several courses and, of course, wine to go along with our entrees.
Since she’s been gone, our bunco group has continued the dining out. But it’s not the same without her. Actually, lots of things are not the same without Dianne.
I remember all too well when she passed away. I was in Kansas City babysitting two of my grandchildren almost exactly two years ago. I got a call from Dee Ann letting me know that Di had a stroke and was in intensive care. She lingered for four more days and passed away. Her funeral was two years ago yesterday. It was the day before her 62nd birthday. I remember it well. She is buried on the top of the hill at Resurrection Cemetery along with her mom and step-dad.
A few months after Di’s death, Nikki had a purse party celebrating Dianne’s life. All of her girlfriends were invited. We all picked a number, and starting with the No. 1, we all picked out a purse that reminded us the most of our dear friend. In the purse was also a piece of Dianne’s jewelry. I got a beautiful bracelet with red stones that I wear to every Nebraska home football game. She would have liked that.
Yes, Dianne is greatly missed, but she still lives in the heart of all her friends and family who loved her dearly.
Claire Flatowicz, 66, a retired teacher and grandmother, wrote this blog for momaha.
Read her blogs every other Tuesday on momaha.com
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