Friday, April 23, 2010

Tribute

Tribute to Diane

Diane is such a cherished loved one and friend for so many reasons that it’s impossible to speak in one place or one time to every remarkable quality that she shared with the rest of us. That is why we will continue to remember and talk about her for the rest of our lives.

Today it is difficult to talk about her without tears flowing because we are going to miss her. Our tears honor what she has meant to us. Washington Irving said, “There is sacredness in tears … They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief … and unspeakable love.”

So while we can never fully convey what Diane meant to us, we can focus on some of her unique and lovely qualities that will touch us forever.

First of all, Diane was the essence of femininity, a self-described “girly girl.” She liked softness, pink, sparkle and flowers. She loved babies. She possessed a gorgeous smile set off by cheery dimples. A tall, beautiful blonde, she was so willowy in high school that the Centralette uniform she wore was extra eye-catching. Although her appearance was stunning, she was modest and humble. But when Diane entered a room in her naturally graceful way, everyone noticed; she was truly captivating.

That softness was balanced by a fierce and tenacious will, however, that saw her through many rough times. Diane embodied the essence of the phrase, “Steel Magnolia.” She was soft as a velvety peony petal on the outside, never hesitating to hug anyone, but she had a formidable inner strength, as well. She never wavered in her moral convictions, never gave up on important goals and handled life on her own terms, in the way she saw most appropriate. She had complete integrity and held herself to high standards. Her courage, especially in facing this disease head-on, left us astonished and inspired.

Diane was a respectful, devoted daughter. She shared recently: “I always knew I was loved by my parents. They would do anything for me.” Her parents were there for her in good and bad times, particularly as her father, Dean, vigilantly looked after her every need or desire during this illness. Surely Diane learned about devotion, service and concern for others from Mr. and Mrs. Gosnell. They raised a wonderful daughter who loved them very much.

She was both younger sister and older sister, speaking so often and with such pride of her siblings, nieces and nephews that her friends felt as if they knew them, too. Deanna, Darlene, and Doug, we know that you each have memories you will carry in your hearts forever. From your earliest years through the last weeks, your memories are ones only siblings can know and treasure.

As a student, Diane was serious and focused, but she was quick to point out that her good grades were achieved by a lot of hard work on her part: “I got good grades, yes, but they didn’t come easily. Let me tell you, I worked for them.” She earned every grade and honor she received, and her yearbook pictures and organizations prove there were many.

As a nurse in Ball Memorial Hospital’s Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit, Diane poured herself into caring for fragile infants and emotionally distressed parents. Nursing was a great career choice for Diane because she was a giver, always interested in the well-being of others. Even from her hospital bed, she rejoiced to hear about a friend’s sister successfully battling cancer. She remembered details about friends’ lives and their children’s lives, asking specific questions about how things were going. She embraced a lovely tradition from her mother of sending cards in the mail to friends. Diane would rejoice with you or cry with you. Empathy made her a great nurse and friend.

Speaking of friendship, Diane knew how to share life with friends. She encouraged you when you were down and made you feel as though your feelings were legitimate and that you weren’t crazy. Diane had a great sense of humor and even joked with us girls when we had our weekly “Girls Group” around her hospital bed. Recently, while a nurse was administering medicine, Diane told her, “If I could tell you something useful to you at your young age, I would say, ‘Grab a hold of a faith-based group of friends. It makes life wonderful.’”

The most defining role for Diane, though, was motherhood. She was completely dedicated to her family. When her children were little, she was a firm and consistent disciplinarian. She was fierce in her protection of them and taught them to be well-mannered and considerate. Ann and Luke shared that she pioneered the idea of sneezing into your inner elbow rather than into your hands or the air. In fact, when one of them would begin to cough or sneeze, Diane would command: “ELBOW!” and they knew what to do!

Her conversation was full of what her children were up to and achieving. She simply adored her kids, and Ann reminded us that we have hundreds of photos to back up that assertion! Diane wanted to capture every moment in their lives. In fact, it’s a family joke that there are many pictures of Luke running away from her camera, as he did not exactly care to have his life documented in photos. Too bad, Luke!

Luke describes his mother as energetic and someone with good manners. She was a second mom to all of his friends, and many girls at prom time wanted to have their picture taken with Diane because she meant so much to them. She never stopped being a social butterfly.

Ann recalls how Diane did special things for them when they were younger, like create signs with fancy handwriting for their door announcing whatever was happening in their lives, whether it was a sports event or honors or birthdays. She will always cherish the memory of sharing ice cream together every day of every summer. And she has expressed her gratitude for Diane’s help and support during all of her wedding preparations. By the way, Diane claims that she “picked out” Andrew for Ann because she pointed him out to her once before they started dating. Ann and Andrew laugh at this, but anyone who knows the power behind Diane’s will might be inclined to believe her! Ann says she cherishes the honest but gentle way her mother communicated with her, exhibiting the character of Christ in her speech and actions.

Most importantly, Diane laid a great foundation for Ann and Luke in the Lord, and her greatest hope is that they will always walk with Him through this life and that she will see them in the next.

Diane’s resolute, unwavering faith in God throughout this illness has inspired us beyond what we can express. Occasionally, we hear of such quiet strength and endurance in the face of great physical and emotional challenges; now we have witnessed this first-hand. Diane has demonstrated to us how to face the most challenging circumstances without becoming bitter or hopeless.

Ann shared recently how Diane told her and Luke, "God never said life would be easy, but He did promise He would be there." Oswald Chambers wrote, “A life of faith is not a life of one glorious mountaintop experience after another … but it is a life of day-in and day-out consistency … a faith that has been tried and proved and has withstood the test.” Diane’s faith has most certainly been tried and proven, and she leaves a legacy of genuine faith for us. Because of this, we know the Father has already spoken the words over her, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Diane Ross:
Full of grace, elegance, beauty
Soft and feminine, yet strong and resolute
Loving, devoted daughter
Beautiful wife
Caring servant
Loyal sister
Friend to many
Consummate mother
Abounding in moral strength and indescribable courage
Daughter of God, faithful follower of Christ

Diane, we know that you are waiting for us, and that while you may seem far away, you are near, and in a very short time, in just a breath, we will see you again. Until then, we will always cherish the sparkle in your eyes, your dimpled smile and enthusiasm for life. Thank you for sharing life with us. You made it wonderful.

36 comments:

Rebecca Jo said...

What a beautiful tribute! Sounds like this is one special lady - who touched MANY in her life... & that's the legacy she leaves. Lots of love!

So sad when we loose a friend in this world... but comforting to know they'll be waiting for you when you arrive in Heaven!

Kelly Combs said...

A blessing to have known such a wonderful friend. A very hard loss. May God bless you & her other family and friends during this time.

Debbie said...

What a loving and touching tribute to your friend. She sounds like a true angel of the Lord. I hope that when my life is through I will have made such an impact on others as she apparently did for those around her. My prayers are with you and her family during the rough stages of temporary separation. But as you said, you WILL see her again.

O Mom said...

Your video from yesterday, even though it was completely silent, left me in tears. Your friendship came through loud and clear.
This tribute to your dear friend is just so special. Thank you for sharing her.
I'm going right now to call my best friend and just tell her I love her!

STILLMAGNOLIA said...

Wow that was an awesome tribute. I have friends much like Diane that I am truly blessed to have. I hope someday someone talks about me like this. Praying for you and her family....consider yourself hugged.

Kay said...

Very beautiful. I'm so glad you had the wonderful privilege to know someone as amazing as Diane. She will surely be missed by many.

Sweet Tea said...

Applauding.
And also holding my dear group of girlfriends even closer.

sara said...

this is a beautiful tribute to your friend! what wonderful memories you have to hold on to and to smile about. praying for you.

Baba said...

Dear Linda, thanks for sharing your friend Diane with us..She sounded like such a caring and loving person and nurse...I feel a closeness to her with us both being nurses who have taken loving care of God's little ones..Bless her and her friends and family with love!! Baba

Carmen said...

You've described her so well and so completely, that I wish I had known her. What a wonderful friend she must have been for you! What an incredible loss! Take courage Linda, she has shown you how. Blessings!

Heidi... said...

Beautiful!

Praying for you,
~Heidi

Debbie @Like a Rose said...

A wonderful tribute. You are in my thoughts & prayers.

skoots1mom said...

“Everyone leaves footprints in your memory, but the ones that leave footprints in your heart are the ones you will truly remember.”
Nicholas Sperling
:) << lifting our hands in prayer for you

skoots1mom said...

“Everyone leaves footprints in your memory, but the ones that leave footprints in your heart are the ones you will truly remember.”
Nicholas Sperling
~:)<< our hands are folded in prayer for you...

Betty said...

What a moving tribute! She was a very special friend and I´m glad you had those last moments together. I´m thinking of you Linda!

Sh@KiR@ CK said...

What a beautiful tribute to celebrate her life.
I will be praying for you, Ann and Luke.
R.I.P Diane.
You shall be missed but never forgotten.

hugs
shakira

Ginger said...

Sounds like she was a wonderful friend who was fruitful in all she laid her hands to. You have such a way with your words that we can feel like we knew her through them.

Ginger

Jenny said...

A very beautiful and touching tribute Linda. So sorry you lost your friend.

Hope said...

Praying for you, the girls, and her family. Love you!

Mocha with Linda said...

You were blessed with Diane's friendship. And she was blessed with yours!

I'm guessing you are at the visitation right now. Been thinking about you lots!

Jeanie said...

I hope that writing this beautiful tribute to your friend provided a lift for your heavy heart. I love that you talked about her in all the aspects of her life. I hope her children will have a copy of this to keep forever.

annette said...

What a tribute to your dear Diane. With tonight's visitation and tomorrow's funeral, I pray you have time to honor and celebrate her life. In your loss, I pray your pain is relieved by the amazing love you shared. She would want you to smile when you remember her. Though the walk has been scary, I am sure it was life-altering for you and for her family who witnessed Diane's amazing courage and faith.

Tears with you, and hugs, Annette

ineverhavetheanswer said...

Beautiful

Darlene R. said...

I am so sorry, Linda. I haven't stopped by for a few days, so I didn't realize that Diane had passed away. I will keep you and her family in my prayers, as I'm sure the weeks and months ahead will be hard. It is so comforting to know that she is in heaven with her Lord. How exciting it will be to meet her in glory some day! Thank you for sharing her with us. Your tribute is beautifully written.

Prairiemaid said...

I know this is a difficult time, but when someone like this, who has touched so many passes away, Isaiah 57:1 always comes to mind ~ "The righteous perishes,And no man takes it to heart; Merciful men are taken away, While no one considers That the righteous is taken away from evil."

I realize this is poor timing, but you have an award over at The Prairie Maid. If you do not want to mess with it, please don't worry. I understand. Just needed to let you know.

I hope this weekend brings joy, peace and comfort to you and to all those who were close to Diane. May her memory live on in the hearts of those she loved.

Blessings,
Cheryl

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

What a beautiful tribute...

Barbie said...

This is very beautiful. She sounds like a very loving and warm person. It's hard when those we love dearly leave us. But we long and look toward the day when we will see them again. Strength and peace to you my friend.

Barbara said...

Such a wonderful tribute to a loving friend. God bless you, and praying for you, Hugs Barbara

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

You have been in my prayers.

This was an awesome tribute to a dear friend. As I read it I could really feel the love and friendship that the two of you shared.

I know you will miss her.

Blessings
R

Out Back said...

Lovely tribute...

Best wishes,
Tania

Susanne said...

Linda, what a beautiful tribute to a wonderful lady. I am a country away from you and don't know Dianne at all but she has been an inspiration to me in the way you have written of her. Praying for all your girls and Dianne's family today.

Lea said...

Oh, what a beautiful tribute to a precious friend. Thinking of you this day and praying God's peace and comfort over you. Abundant blessings to you as you adjust to life without Diane.

Jewel said...

What a lovely and heartfelt tribute to your friend, Diane, Linda. Written so beautifully, so beautifully.
We will be praying for comfort for you and her family as you go through this time of loss, Linda. ((HUGS))

Pat said...

Such a loving and beautiful tribute to your friend. My heart goes out to you and her family...and all her friends. It is so very difficult to lose someone so dear and I offer you my condolences. Words are so inadequate at a time like this ~

Sending you comfort, peace and strength along with virtual hugs.

Blessings,
Pat

auburnchick said...

Oh my, but I am crying now.

What a lovely tribute. I think that we, as humans, want to leave a positive mark on this world.

Diane most assuredly did.

Hugs to all of you during this most difficult time.

Lelia Chealey said...

I'm so sorry Linda. What a loss with much everlasting depth. You can just tell that her life will never be forgotten. I wish I would've known her too.
Love you,
lelia