A Toast to Diane

by Elouise

Diane A

Diane, 1954?

And to sisterly conversations.  My Number One Unplanned Series.  Early last July, I decided to engage Diane in sisterly conversations.  Here’s what I wrote back then in Starving for Sisterly Conversation | Part 3:

During the ten years Diane lived with ALS, we had multiple sisterly conversations about real life.   It was more than enough—more than I ever thought I would experience with her.  And it was never enough.  I always left hungry for more.

When Diane couldn’t speak or control what appeared on her computer screen via body movement and electronic tools, conversation became laborious.  Only eye signals worked–one letter and one key word at a time.  Sometimes Diane had questions or topics she wanted me to talk about.  Sometimes she just wanted me to sit with her or get her nurse or a family member to come.  Diane was in charge.  My job was follow her lead.

So I’m going to do just that as part of this blog.  In addition to my own journals, a few written pieces about Diane and notes from here and there, I have a set of short pieces.  Diane wrote them using computer-assisted devices that translated hand or head movements into on-screen text.  More than enough to suggest an agenda.

I’m not sure what form this will take, but watch for pieces from time to time. I just need to follow Diane’s lead.

In more ways than I can count, I’m still following Diane’s lead.  Especially as I age and become ever more reflective about my life.  I still mourn the loss of my sisterly soul mate.

Thanks to the repressive dynamics of our home, we hadn’t enjoyed private conversation when we were growing up.  Yet I found in her someone who ‘got it.’  Though we didn’t share the same personality type, once we connected in our 40s, we found our way back home to each other.  Not without struggle, but always in surprisingly affirming ways for each of us.  We had already lived fairly lonely lives as sisters, and as professional women operating in predominately male institutions.  We were beyond ready for each other.  When Diane died I mourned loss of personal history about our family and about me, as well as a safe haven.

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What comes next?  We’ll see.  Right now I’m celebrating this unexpected gift that dropped into my lap, and which I’ve enjoyed sharing with you.  In fact, one of her writings is my #1 Top Post of 2014!  It’s a beauty.  If you haven’t read it, waste no time doing so.  It’s vintage Diane!

Here’s a toast to my courageous Sister #3 who, against all odds, still shows us how to live and how to die.

And just for you, here’s the post you don’t want to miss:   Why did I come? | Dear Diane.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 30 December 2014