I’d like to start by saying that Allison Kathleen is a personal business and a complete representation of me; creating and evolving everyday. I know it’s not necessary to share my entire life on the internet. But at this time, I’d like my experience of the past few months to live here on my very own website.
Three weeks ago today, my mother passed away. Her courageous and inspirational battle with cancer came to an end while our entire family surrounded her with love. It was the most emotional few days of my life. But I am filled with gratitude every time I think of her. She ruled. I was fortunate that she provided an office space for me at her house because I got to be here with her while she was home every day for months. (Obviously that meant that being at “work” didn’t always mean I was working.) But I was exactly where I needed to be. I was recently reading through some documents my mother had filled out and for one response she wrote, “my daughter is here as my companion.” I don’t know how to express what came over me when I saw that. But I can say that I wouldn’t change a thing about the time I spent as her companion, and her mine, these last few months of her life. I will forever be inspired by her strength, and ability to find and spread the joy in every day.
Two weeks ago, I delivered the Eulogy at her Funeral. She was there with me the entire time. I occasionally thought I had lost my place, or fumbled over a word; but miraculously held it all together just like she would have. I’m proud of her life well lived, and I know she’s proud of me. Feel free to read my Eulogy below; and know that my mother has already guided me into a new and exciting direction! So while we’ve lost her physical presence, and things are a bit quiet around my office now, I wanted to share that I’ve gained an energy source and a strength that is already leading me to be more of myself than I ever have been before.
All my love,
Carole A. DiMaggio
12/9/56 – 10/27/15
As I reflect on the extraordinary life my Mother led, I have found solace in the abundance of words she shared and that all of you have shared about her. I was raised with the strength to do everything I ever want to – and feel overwhelmed with honor that I can stand here and share her story. I am full of certainty that all of us will leave here today inspired by her wisdom, grace, and acts of genuine kindness.
I grew up in a house where the doors were always open. Inevitably our neighbors became our family and we had more parties than I can remember. At the center of it all was a mama who could whip up a feast at a moments notice, keep a clean pool for the benefit of all, a fully stocked cabinet of beverages for the adults to enjoy, and enough couch space for every kid to sleep over. She always entertained with a contagious desire to find all the fun.
We believe my mom chose to begin her new journey on the day of the Travel Moon, because seeing the world excited all of her senses. I was fortunate that she enabled me to do the same. At twenty years old, I was both excited and nervous about spending five months in Italy. My mom always had words of advice ready to roll off her tongue. She looked at me the night before she brought me to the airport and she said “Allison, Life is about everything you’ve ever done and everything you’ll ever want to do” and she gave me a large sum of money she had just come into. Any dream of mine was a dream of hers, so she was delighted to see me afford to experience such great adventure. Wherever Joey or I had the will, she helped us find the way. From my witnessing of her relationship with many of you, she lived and breathed the Giver’s Gain mentality throughout every aspect of her life.
I’d like to describe a scenario that many of us may have in common; one that will remind us all of her impeccable hospitality. It’s Sunday Funday and you’re heading downtown to see Mark’s band, Lonesome Jukebox. You know it’ll be crowded, but you decide to share a cocktail or two with local friends who feel like family. So you walk through the door of T-bones, and the first person who catches your eye is well dressed, her makeup and hair are perfect, and most importantly her smile is a beam of light aimed directly at you. You see her say “heyyyyyy!” with a wave from across the room. She makes her way through every dancing fan and finds you the seat you didn’t know could make you feel so welcomed and comfortable. It’s only a matter of minutes before she asks to take your photo. Old friend, or new, she loved and accepted you, she lifted you up with compliments and encouraged you. She made time for you, and she believed in you. But she would also let you know that to have shared your life meant that you had enriched hers and she was grateful.
Upon diagnosis with cancer, my mom immediately opened her heart to advice from everyone she knew. She read articles, visited many doctors, talked to friends, and educated herself in every way possible. How fortunate are we that as she became enlightened by her own journey to the soul, she so openly shared it all with us? I would like to end with a medley of her own words so that we may hear, feel and share the music of her spirit with all of those that we encounter.
I’ll begin with what she posted on Easter two years ago: “[I’m] so grateful today that Jesus was able to rise from death to eternal life, and be an example to all on the power of our beliefs. Everything I read these days shares this message of eternal spiritual life and the power of our thoughts. Our earthly experience is just part of our eternal being, and that to live fully we must follow our passions, accept others as they are, and let the love in our hearts direct our thoughts and actions.”
“I am grateful for everything. I am grateful for everyone. My life has been amazing, and I have learned so much from it. I have had fun. I have found the good in all things. I have learned how to see myself in everyone. I have learned to love myself, and therefore to love everyone. This journey through cancer has been one of the highlights of my life, as it has helped me see the wonder of it all. There is no fear of death when you are at peace with who you are, for death is the transition to spirit and another life of light and love. Energy does not die. We enter another place. We are eternal. Give thanks each day for the chance to play in our world. It is the highlight of our lives.” And “In the end, we all speak the same language in our souls.”