Eulogy for Diane Day
August 03, 2015
by Rev. John Partridge
This is the day.
This is the day that we knew was coming.
For months (or longer), we knew that one day soon, we would be here but no matter how much we knew, today still came faster than we expected and far faster than we wanted it to. Despite our knowledge and anticipation of this day, our pain is undiminished. Nothing the doctors said makes today any easier. And realistically I know that likewise, little or nothing that the preacher says is going to make it easier.
We have lost a friend, a wife, a sister, aunt, great-aunt, coworker, bowling buddy, and many other things. It is as if a light has been extinguished in an already darkening room. Diane Day was many things to many people, but to everyone who knew her, she was a light that brightened the room and the mood wherever she went. It was almost as if she was a star, and all of us who knew her had been pulled into her orbit. As she has been lost to us we feel as if we have been cast off in some way, we have lost the pull of her gravity, and we are adrift.
For Ronnie, Diane was his world, but much the same is true of Jan and Joan and the rest of Diane’s family. They have all lost the pull of her gravity, the anchor of her faith, the light of her smile and her sense of humor and so many other things. We will all struggle to find a new “normal” but the struggle will obviously be harder for those who knew her best.
Diane’s sister Joan shared this with me yesterday:
Diane was our older sister. I remember growing up always thinking she was the smart one. She did very well in high school; it seemed to come easy for her. She took French and many years later she could still speak it. Anything she wanted to do she would teach herself to do, sewing, cake decorating, canning, gardening, figuring out how to work the mechanics of things. She loved to read, loved the Indians, the Browns and always her cats. She was independent, disciplined, a hard worker, faithful to her friends and enjoyed cutting up with family. She was always willing to pitch in and help whatever the need. Her most outstanding quality was her love of her family. She didn’t have children of her own but loved all of ours. She took pride in her abilities to calm a fussy baby, crawl on the floor with the toddlers, play games with the younger, take the older bowling or play in the pool with them. My kids only saw her once a year or so but grew to know, love, and appreciate Aunt Dee. She is my big sister and she will always be loved and missed.
Diane’s niece Julie remembered that, on her wedding day, she forgot the wedding license at her house and it was Diane who, typically, volunteered to retrieve it. This, Julie said, “was the essence of Aunt Dee.” She was always giving of herself, always trying to help others. Several people told me that even though Diane never had children of her own, she loved on her nieces and nephews, all 13 of them, as if they were her own. Honestly, we saw the same thing at church. I don’t know of anyone who didn’t love Diane, or anyone that Diane didn’t like. Even when Diane was well, it took her a while to get in and out of the sanctuary at church because she had to get a hug from just about everybody. And during those times when Diane was not doing so well and was in a wheelchair, or simply not quite as mobile, everyone came to where she was. There was a line of people waiting to give Diane a hug.
And there is something else worth noting about that scene. Some of us realized just how much of an accomplishment it was for Diane to even be there. Each week, Diane wanted to be in church. Even during those times when she wasn’t doing especially well, if she cold possibly get out of bed she wanted to be in church. Ronnie would help her to get ready, help her to the car and bring her to church. At the back door Jan, or Wade, or both, would be waiting for them, help Diane to the door, up the elevator and into her spot in the sanctuary. Sometimes there were a few of the ushers and other folk who helped out too. It took a team effort of love to make sure that Diane got to spend time each week with her church family, but especially with her Jesus. No one on that team begrudged the extra effort it sometimes took because of all the love that Diane had poured into their lives over the years.
Diane had just a few great loves in her life, Ronnie (of course), for whom she would do almost anything, her family, work, bowling, and, again, her Jesus. Diane loved to work. Even when she didn’t feel well and when many of us would have called in sick, Diane pushed herself to put one foot in front of the other and went to work anyway. And when she was well, she was pretty much unstoppable. Regardless of what it was, like Julius Caesar, she came, she saw, she conquered.
And through it all, Diane loved her Jesus. I know I’ve already said that a couple of times but this is an incredibly important thing. Earlier I said that little or nothing that the preacher says is going to make it easier. But if I have anything helpful to offer, this is it. Those of us who have put our faith, hope and trust in Jesus Christ receive great comfort in knowing that this world is not all that there is. We know that the world that God created has been distorted and perverted by imperfect human beings. We know that the world that God created, and the world in which we will one day live, is a world in which there is no pain, no suffering, and no death. We know that Diane has gone ahead and is already in that place. Diane is no longer in pain, no longer suffering, and, if Jesus knows how to bowl, she has probably already challenged him to a line or two. Even more importantly, we know that if we have put our faith, hope and trust in Jesus, we will one day join Diane in Jesus’ house. In that place, we will all be reunited with the people that we love, and we will live there together forever. As we lose the pull of Diane’s love, may we all fall farther into the orbit of Jesus’ love.
I know that my words will not make your pain any less. But my prayer is that in the words of scripture, and the words of Jesus, we can all find hope. Diane believed that. She had that kind of faith and hope, and I am certain that she would want you all to know that you can too so that you can join her someday in her new, and eternal home.
Diane F. Day
December 16, 1949 – July 29, 2015
Resided in Massillon, OH
Diane F Day, 65, of Massillon passed away on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. She was born December 16, 1949 in Meadville, Pennsylvania.
Diane was employed by K-Mart in Massillon for 30 plus years and loved bowling. She was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church.
She was preceded in death by her father, Carl Rohleder and brother, Kenny Rohleder.
Diane is survived by her husband, Ron; mother, Dolores Rohleder; sisters, Linda Stanley, Joan (Ed) DesCombes and Janet (Wade) Gash; brother, Charles (Patricia) Rohleder; sister-in-law, Sandra Rohleder and a host of nieces, nephews, family and friends.
The family will receive friends on Monday, August 3, 2015 from 1pm to 2:30pm at Reed Funeral Home Canton Chapel, 705 Raff Rd Canton with funeral services to follow at 2:30pm.