|What to say, who to say it; Dianne was to be standing here, not me; hopefully sometime in the distant future, delivering this message. Well, as
usual, Dianne had a hand in everything. She had her beautiful, loving hand in every aspect of my life.
|Her hand made the selection of her casket. The selection of her casket was made so easy, as it is created from sycamore, the trees that she loved so much that surround the banks
of her beloved Frio River as it flowed through our place in Leakey.
Even in the last minute selection of her place of rest, Dianne's hand was there. The spot spoke to Jonathan, Chris and I immediately as she will rest between two oak trees; one of
great majesty and one newly planted.
Even the obituary, that was written by me in just a few minutes, one draft, following one dream, spoken to me by Dianne. So, just as she made my life so easy, so wonderful, so
comfortable, so supported, her hand guided mine in writing those words.
Her hand guided me in my asking Sarah Bentley to walk us through this ceremony. She told me so, once again in a dream just the other night.
The music for today's celebration, oh how easy. You rarely, or perhaps never, saw Dianne and I dance in public. However, we danced our lives away at home. Further, she had a
particular distaste for her own public singing. However, know that the songs selected for today's service; all we have heard, and all we will sing; she and I have played and sung
together in the privacy of our home. And on several occasions, we very painfully tried to harmonize. Trust me, you would not have wanted to hear it.
So as you can see, her hand is most definitely present. Well we know Dianne had a hand in everything.
It was Dianne's hand that was the glue, and I think her family of origin would agree, that held her family together. It was her loving hand that made her such a wonderful
daughter, and sister, and mother, and friend and my best friend, lover, and partner.
It was her hand that was so observed by my mother, who she loved so dearly, that allowed my mother to state that Dianne was the doer of our family.
It was Dianne's hand that guided the two of us as new parents in the nurturing and rearing and raising and loving of our boys, Jonathan and Christopher. And what a good hand
that was. She loved them so. She is so proud. There is so much of her in Jonathan and Christopher; a certain tenderness and gentleness. And the boys were so happy to not only
have their mother's hand but also her chromosomal gene for height.
And their wives; Claire and Jennifer. She was, we are, so blessed. You know how much she loves you both.
And the newest additions to our family, Jeb and Grace. What love for them she has and what love she is still receiving from them, and I think it fair to say that Nana's hand is
there as well, assisting Claire and Jonathan with that new journey into parenthood.
Nana had an incredible hand in being creatively manipulative for her adoring grandchildren. I had seen an ad in the paper for a sandbox for Jeb, and suggested we go purchase it.
We went to Toys R Us to buy a $30 sandbox, and came out with an $800, 5000 piece play scape requiring two months to assemble. While her hand guided the selection, I did notice
that it mysteriously disappeared as I joyously suffered through the assembly stage. She did lend the continuous verbal hand, "Jerry, you are doing such a good job, Jeb and Grace
are going to be so happy, keep up the good work". She had her hand in every gift.
If you have ever received a gift from Dianne, it was always well thought out. There was always a history, a story, her love in each gift. Dianne's first Christmas gift to me was a
photograph of a majestic lion that hangs in our home to this day. More majestic than the lion is the journey, the story of how the gift was thought out. At the time she was
working for Neimans, she called one of the photographers from the Dallas Morning News, and the two of them went on an excursion to what was then Lion Country Safari just
outside of Dallas. They searched for just the right lion, just the right position, hence the photo. She then carefully selected the leather matting to best fit what I held to be true
burnt orange, and finally the photo and the matting were taken to one of her friends at Neiman's, Mr. Rose, the Neiman's framer, to beautifully put the finishing touches on her
gift of love.
It was Dianne's hand that gave me my first and only surprise birthday party. We had been dating for some months in the fall of 1971 and she had listened to my constant
complaining of being the poor boy whose birthday was on December 22nd and always getting lost in the Christmas holiday. On the evening of the 22nd, upon arrival at her
apartment, I was greeted by more friends than I could imagine, some of whom are here today, crammed into that small one bedroom apartment. There in the center of her small
coffee table rested a beautiful chocolate cake decorated with circus animals and cowboys and Indians circling the outer boundaries. And Dianne, her hand ever so thoughtful and
clever, had thought to select the appropriate ingredient for the cake itself. As I cut into the cake I quickly realized that the cake itself was made out of cardboard. So well
thought-out, the cardboard was taken from the fronts of different soap boxes of the day. So appropriate for that time in my life; a symbol not lost on my friends.
While Dianne loved all of nature, she had no particular fondness for pecan trees. While I felt that we needed at least one in our front yard, after all, it was the state tree. Dianne
felt that God somehow had made a mistake, and forgot to tell the pecan trees to leaf out in the same sequence as all other trees and thus were not in sync with nature. I finally
negotiated one and only one. It has never really lived up to my expectations; however, she has tolerated it. But more importantly, my beautiful squirrels which I feed daily like a
herd of cattle began to harvest and plant the pecans. And as the volunteers began to appear each spring; she had a firm hand in their pruning, however she never once laid a hand,
or ax to one of these volunteers until my eyes had gazed upon them.
Dianne always had a hand in our travel. Our three upcoming trips had already been booked to Amarillo to spend time with the grandkids, to Galveston to celebrate our 39th
wedding anniversary, and then appropriately, on to Zion where we had walked the Narrows so many times and were to climb Angel's Landing.
When Dianne departed for France just a month ago, her gentle hand reached out to express her love for me in such a Dianne way. Upon dropping her off at the airport, which was
more difficult for us than we imagined, I had handed her a gift to hold and touch to comfort her along her way. (A small cross that I carried with me every day, a gift from Kevin
and Beverly years ago). And thinking that I had really outdone myself, I returned to my car and turned on the radio, where she had set the CD to play Alan Jackson's, Remember
When. And then that evening, upon returning home after work, there was a bouquet of flowers and a lovely and tender love note waiting for me on the dining room table. And
upon retiring to bed, as I walked into our bedroom, she had affectionately placed Jeb's Tickle Me Elmo doll on her pillow, carefully tucked under the blankets as well.
Her hand is all over our home, our gardens, our yard. The essence of Dianne is ever present. She was the consummate landscape artist and somehow had the finesse to know how
to direct the hired hand to provide the manpower to shape her works of beauty. When we moved into our home, there were well over 100 cedar trees in our yard. Today, there are
none. She lifted her hand to hand me my chainsaw, and said, "Jerry, you do such good work".
And of course her most visible hand is expressed in her beautiful works of art. While she was a fragile, tender and private person, she allowed herself to be exposed in the most
intimate of ways; her very soul expressed on canvas. Her landscapes were so serene, so lovely, so peaceful. It is fair to say that Dianne, in her body, soul and hand, maintained that
strength that passes all understanding.
Finally, please know that Dianne was extremely happy. She was healthy, vibrant, alive. She called nearly daily from France, simply filled with a childlike giddiness. She spent 10
wonderful days there, painting in the fields east of Paris and the same gardens as Monet.
The two of us had relaxed just this last weekend in Leakey, living and loving. By fate or by chance, or the hand of God, we spontaneously drove down the Guadalupe river road
through Hunt, stopping at every low water crossing, Camp Mystic, Criders, Lynx Haven, and the like, reminiscing every step along the way; a road that just the two of us together
had not traveled in over 35 years.
And her seven new paintings, all here in the foyer, she had just completed in the last week prior to her death. She was indeed filled with energy and love and vitality.
And not the least, she was so happy when she was outdoors, so we know her last moment was also one of happiness. We will all miss her presence, but she is here. In her children,
her grandchildren, her family, friends, her art. And please know, she loves you all so.
Even though Dianne never liked funerals, she would have loved today's celebration of her life because the family and friends she loves so dearly are all gathered, the flowers, the
hymns, all of her favorite things. To all of this she would say,"God is good".