An Angel was Called Home

Friends, it is with a heavy heart that I inform you that our dear friend and colleague Mrs. A.L. has passed away after a long battle with cancer.  She lost her battle with the “communist cancer cells” (as she called them) last Saturday, May 9th.  She died in the arms of her loving “husband person” Steve.

Many of you may have wondered why Mrs. A.L. hadn’t posted for the last few months… well, now you know.  All of us who knew about her condition had hopes that she might win this battle, or at least keep it in check for a while and that she would return to bless us with her musings.

Mrs. A.L. was in real life “Diane”.  Her handle was “Mrs. Always Learning”.  The kicker was that we all learned from her.  She had an uncanny ability to look at things with a perception that was unique to Diane. That, along with her ability to stay positive despite the horrors of her affliction, was a testament to what a special person she was.  She was always polite and positive, yet she was nobody’s pushover.

Most of us here at N&F have known her for over a decade, going back to the Townhall blog days when we began sharing conservative ideas and opinions during the Bush 43 years.  Townhall eventually became a slugfest with a plague of leftists, and after “the Won” squatted in the White House and the ensuing destruction of our country began in earnest, we all drifted away to our own blogs. After starting ‘Nox & Friends, I invited Diane to join our crew and she graciously accepted.  Her contributions were always stellar and thought provoking; she was a star.

Two years ago, while commiserating on an upcoming series concerning voter fraud we began talking on the telephone regularly.  Our chats became a fairly regular event and we grew to be close friends.  During these many conversations she confided to me the seriousness of her cancer.  I had no idea.  She never complained.  Not once.  Nor did she ever whine about the unfairness of it all.  (She chronicled her illness at her private blog which can be viewed here.)

During our chats, we laughed, cracked jokes, or bitched about the lefties and the latest outrage of the day.  Through it all she confided to me how she was being pretty much a test dummy for cancer research and how her trials might help doctors to help others. She hoped that her response to experimental treatments might help the fight against cancer and ultimately lead to a cure.  Think about that for a moment.  That was Diane, totally selfless.

About six months ago, she found that maintaining focus was becoming more difficult due to her intense treatments and that prevented her from continuing to write.  She apologized for being a slacker.  Again… typical Diane.

As the cancer took a firmer grip, our conversations became much more frequent.  I would check on her or she would report in after her latest dose of whatever poison they were injecting her with or radiating her with.  Her faithful husband Steve often kept me apprised of her situation and I remain eternally grateful to him for that. I know that Diane was pleased that Steve and I have become friends.

For a while, we thought that Diane might have those commie cancer cells in check.  She sounded great on the phone, spirits high, and full of grit… and of course happy to be alive and loving Steve for being at her side, sharing every second of the ordeal. She kept telling me that she hoped to return to blogging soon.  Then the real bad news came… she called to tell me she was in hospice and the communist cancer cells would soon be winning the battle and that she would die soon.


Mrs. A.L. (early in April) at the ready for the opening game of the Washington Nationals, her favorite team. Diane was a big baseball fan.

Friends, I can’t tell you all how many times she told me how thankful she was for all of her “fellow bloggers’ and visitors who would comment and share ideas, commiserate, or just bitch on our blog, and how she just loved it all.  She loved this country and loved all of us for loving it too.

Diane was a devout Christian; not the nutty type that would quote scripture at the drop of a hat (you know the type) … an honest to God real Christian.  She lived it.  I admired her devotion and her faith.  I can also tell you all she was at peace with her affliction and that she knew that she was going to heaven.

Diane posing with the flowers and the Teddy Bear that the N&F crew sent her.

While in hospice care, Diane visited with other patients and consoled them despite the agony she was suffering herself.  Again, so typical of Diane.  We should all hope to be such a kind and caring person.

Words alone cannot describe my sincerest admiration for this lovely and selfless lady.  They simply fail me.

The world was a better place with Diane in it.  She was pure sunshine.  We were blessed to have known her and her memory will forever live in our hearts.  Her motto: “Everyday is a holiday”.  That’s the God’s honest truth.

Rest in peace, dear friend.  We’ll all see you on the other side…

~ Hardnox

PS. – Please keep Steve in your thoughts and prayers as he comes to grips with the loss of his beloved Diane.


The following is a message from Diane’s husband Steve:

It is with a heavy heart that I write this.

Diane, my best friend, wife and companion for the last 16 years passed away on Saturday May 9th 2015.  Diane’s passing was peaceful, she quietly left my arms and took the Lord’s hand and went home.

Diane made the decision to fight this menace called cancer almost three years ago.  Her fight had many battles and a series of campaigns that left me in awe.  Her faith, spirit, determination and just downright grit serve as examples of how we live life and face death.  She faced every challenge no matter the pain or difficulty head on.  She demonstrated feats of endurance and mental stamina with a gleam in her eye and a smile, as if to say, ‘is that all ya got’.  While in hospice care she continued to amaze and for those of you fortunate enough to visit her there saw the Diane I lived with a vibrant individual who embraced death as she did life.

Diane donated her body to science with hopes that a doctor or nurse will learn something from her experience that may help another person.   Due to this there will be no formal funeral.  I will be holding several celebrations of her life over the next few weeks doing as she wished.

On her behalf I would ask that in lieu of flowers that donations are made in her name to the Blue Ridge Hospice.

Blue Ridge Hospice

333 West Cork Street, Suite 405

Winchester, VA 22601


Notice: In honor of our beloved Diane, this will be the only post today.

About Hardnox

Constitutional Conservative that Lefties love to hate.
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30 Responses to An Angel was Called Home

  1. Saltwater says:

    “Have a Nice Day”

    That was the message embossed in the Styrofoam box containing my take-out dinner. Those cheery words rang hollow as I read the email from Hardnox notifying N&F members of Diane’s passing. I realized that we lost the best person in my life I had never met.

    My association with Diane, dates back to those heady days at the now defunct Townhall blog site. Her sharp wit, inquisitive mind, and insightful commentary both delighted, and sent me scrambling in research. She chose the moniker of “Always Learning,” yet often as not, it seemed I was the one going to school as we discussed various topics of the day.

    However it was in Diane’s personal blog, chronicling her battle against that insidious disease, where I learned the true depth and breadth of her indefatigable spirit. Her words, and the contributions of Steve, bolstered my flagging spirits as I watched terminal cancer take a family member and another dear friend. Diane and Steve’s unbridled courage, compassion, and faith in the face of such challenges, were a source of inspiration and solace through those terrible times.

    So again, I draw upon those lessons in life, and death, offered by Mrs. AL and will “have a nice day,” because every day is a nice day — some are just better than others

  2. Nee says:

    Aw. I miss the days when “we” all hung out on TH blogs. It was Mrs. A.L.’s wit that was unmatched and it’s no wonder she could fight with such positive spirits. I am so sorry for the loss of such a dynamic lady. Praying for peace and strength in the journey ahead for friends and family.
    Nee (aka BareNeeCessities and PatriotDefender)

  3. Kathy says:

    Oh, how I miss that dear sweet and funny lady. I first learned of Diane here at N&F when one day CW asked Hardnox if he knew that she was back. They spoke kindly of their old friend and were glad to know that she’d battled back once again. I wondered who this Mrs. AL was and why she was so special, and it wasn’t long after that she joined us and I got to see first hand why they thought she was so special.

    I came to know what a treasure she was as we emailed back & forth. Even though I’d tell her not to, she continued to apologize for taking up my time. “If you have time, Kathy, because I don’t want to be a bother…” ‘Shush woman, you take all the time you need.’

    Diane was bright and fresh and had a way of thinking outside the box that made you look at things from a different perspective. One of the things I loved the most about her, aside from her sense of humor was her use of words. Here’s a few that I remember…

    Pine cones – she called people pine cones instead of a**holes
    Husband-person – as Hardnox mentioned, this is how she referred to Steve
    munge – ‘I’ll have to munge on that and get back to you.’ It meant she’d think about it.

    A few weeks ago she sent me a picture of herself clowning around in her room & playing with that triangular grab bar thing over her bed. I so wanted to reach through that picture and hug her and laugh with her.

    She was without a doubt, one of the strongest people I ever knew, and how she was able to find humor in things even as she was battling for her life is beyond me.

    Save us a seat dear girl, we’re not done yet.

  4. tannngl says:

    Diane prayed for me.
    I’m not used to being prayed for or for any one doing anything for me. I’m the doer, you see.

    Can’t remember when I first ran into Diane. I don’t think it was at It may have been in another blog, froggy’s blog. But when I was asked to join knoxandfriends she became a very good friend. She was so uplifting. When I commented on her Mrs. A.L. blog documenting her illness, she told me how wonderful RN’s are and that I was too, as was her mom. She truly made me feel important and good. It’s been a while since I’ve felt that way.

    She got too tired to email which was an indicator of her heroic fight. We used to hear that she would be back soon. Then, nothing for a while. My prayers for her continued even more often. It wasn’t good that we didn’t hear anything.
    Then the news that she was in hospice.

    Yet, she was animated and actually looked healthy in her pictures! What an amazing human being.

    I said at the beginning of this that Diane prayed for me. I know her husband-person did too.
    When we were told she was in hospice, she told us to let her know if we needed prayer. I was really fatigued and having a constantly really rapid heart beat with constant palpitations. As all RN’s I diagnosed myself and knew this would go away. But after a few weeks I saw my doc and with a few tests found I had 3 incompetent heart valves which were causing my symptoms. This would of course lead to congestive heart failure but they wouldn’t do valve repair or replacement on me.
    I asked Diane and her husband-person to pray for my heart and gave them one other prayer request. She accidentally called me just the week before she left us and we chatted. She sounded so good! She was so positive that God was answering her prayers for me. She was tired and we said goodby.
    The day she went to be with our Lord forever, my symptoms stopped. I’ve been symptom free since that Friday. God answered Diane’s and her husband-person’s prayers. Praise God! I am so thankful!

    I am having a tree planted in Israel for Diane. It’s symbolic of our place in Israel someday where the Lord God Almighty will reign and all Jesus’ disciples will live in peace. It’s a beautiful land. Truly, that is its other name. Eretz tzevi. Beautiful land.. Eretz Yisrael. Land of Israel.

    Now, I pray that the God of all, el Shaddai, will bring peace to Diane’s family, especially her wonderful husband-person. May He bring that peace and comfort in person, making His presence known in many great ways. Miraculous ways. I thank God for the friend we had for so short a time and the love she shared, being the image of our Lord Jesus in his own love for us. Amen.

  5. Adrienne says:

    Very sad news. Hardnox – your tribute to Diane is beautiful. Prayers for Diane, Steve, and the whole Hardnox team.

  6. Clyde says:

    Very good tribute, Nox. As others have said, Mrs. A.L. was the finest lady I have never met. I’ll always remember her for the way she could cut a leftist in half, and leave the lefty smiling. The way she conducted herself when posting either a comment, or an article, was always with decency and respect, traits which I could only hope to aspire to. The harshest words I ever read out of her was the beloved “pinecones”. Mrs. A.L. will always hold a special place in my mind even though I never had the pleasure of meeting her. To Steve, I grieve for your loss, but am relieved for you as well as her that her suffering is ended. You had a real treasure there, but I’m sure you knew that. May she rest in peace.

  7. I am so sorry for your loss. Many prayers lifted up to her family.

  8. Uriel says:

    I really had to mull this over. I have had experience in this area as my mom passed way too earlier from cancer. I haven’t had the pleasure most of you did of corresponding and laughing with this great soul. Yet, I feel as if I knew her through your comments and reviewing her writings. What a testament to Christ she was from the beginning of this journey, meeting with faith and humor obstacles that many would have buckled from each day. Having experience with life-threatening illness and having returned after over a minute of clinical death, I can honestly say she is in a wondrous place. My heart goes out to her family and friends as they grieve yet they need to know she does walk with God in a place free from pain and disease. The most important lesson we all take from this time on earth is that faith and complete trust in our Father is our rock in times of earthly pain and trouble. I grieve for those who reject or deny that comfort. At the same time I rejoice with my sisters and brothers who have found that peace and comfort here and beyond. And yes, there is a beyond to some such as she–a fulfillment of God’s promise and love. In her passing are lessons for us all as she met and conquered Satan’s bombardment vowing to help others even as she was lifted up. Her eyes in the photo, Hardnox, speak of this struggle yet her profound understanding and acceptance of her faith radiates the joy she felt. Each minute of every day IS a beautiful time we are given to love our family, friends, and show others the light shining bright. I only pray I can be as good a disciple before I leave this world for the next.

  9. Just Gene says:

    Her learning curve is over – Diane is now in the arms of truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth – she brought so much of that to us – RIP – prayers to help Steve at this time and always.

  10. Grouchy says:

    A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
    John 13:34
    Diane, Mrs AL, LIVED those words. Her bright disposition and helpful, honest caring for people, and for the person she was speaking with, shown through every word she spoke.
    She is Unique. And she spread joy and honesty to everyone she came in contact with, whether in person, on the phone, or in her written communications.

    Buckminster Fuller spoke of her, many years ago:

    “Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren’t any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn’t be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life’s challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person. ”

    R. Buckminster Fuller, July 12, 1895 — July 01, 1983

    Diane, Truly, you have indeed made a difference in your world. You are that one person.

    You are truly a Gem in God’s Crown, and a Glorious Thread in the Tapestry of the Cosmos.

  11. CW says:

    I too met Mrs. AL in my Townhall days through mutual blogger friends there, where I was struck by the collection of people she knew and the obvious high regard she engendered among them. What was it about this seemingly inauspicious woman, I wondered? But it didn’t take long to figure it out. In a world where people have a tendency to be headstrong in their opinions (including yours truly), Mrs. AL was someone who was open to new ways of looking at things, even while she never forsook her own core principles and beliefs. She was humble but wise, and serious but good-natured. When I left TH and started blogging at Blogspot, it was Mrs. AL who invited her friends to my site, generously including me in her network of fellow bloggers for which I am forever grateful. That was the kind of person she was, a loyal and trusted friend.

    In one of her parting notes to the group Diane called on us to keep fighting the good fight. She wanted to see liberty preserved not just for ourselves but for future generations as well. That selflessness and generosity were further captured in the blog that she penned where she and others shared their experiences with cancer, and there she left us the simple but beautiful gift of appreciation for just being here. She carved out a place in our hearts and there will always be a space reserved for her there.

  12. vonMesser says:

    I only met Diane here on Hardnox. When she made mention of the communist cancer cells I contacted her directly, and we discussed her situation. I came to the discussion from the point of a “husband person” whose wife had fought those CCC’s for 11 years before finally losing the fight, so I had some idea of what she (and Steve) were going through. After being nosy and asking her about her faith I sent her some Orthodox anointing oils, an icon and a saint’s medal (St Peregrine – patrol of cancer sufferers). Eternal memory and Blessed Repose, my friend. You are surely numbered among the anointed.

  13. Bullright says:

    Very nice article Hardnox – hats off.

    RIP Diane, stay strong and well Steve. I’ll miss her clever quips and spontaneity like no other. Her philosophy and moniker of Always Learning will always stay with me. Truly one of the greatest humans the species has offered. Miss you, enjoy paradise, well done…. in a cloud of great witnesses.

  14. Garnet92 says:

    I knew Diane better as Mrs. AL, with our friendship going back to our Townhall days of 2007/8. Mrs. AL was a unique person among those of us who’ve been blogging for a while, in that she was universally liked and respected by all, regardless of political persuasion.

    My own simplified philosophy of how God keeps track of His earthly children is that He uses a Big Chief tablet and a nickel pencil. I’m certain that He has worn out more than a few of those pencils just making checkmarks for Diane. Each time someone thinks good thoughts about Diane, He makes another check. Only He knows how many tablets He’s filled up with Diane’s checkmarks.

    It’s uncommon for anyone to achieve respect and love from others when the parties have never met face to face. But that’s the way we’ve all felt about Diane, she was a fellow blogger, a kindred spirit and most of all, a friend.

    When we sent Diane flowers, we also sent her the Teddy bear that she’s holding in the second photo. We named the bear “Peter.” Peter is not just an ordinary stuffed bear. Peter is a magic huggie bear.

    Peter contained no ordinary stuffing; instead he was filled with love. Through our prayers, we infused the bear with love from all of us so she would know how much we missed her and cared about her.

    In spirit, we were there with Diane, fighting those damned communist cancer cells. We just wanted her to know that she was not alone, we were there with her in spirit and we trusted that whenever she hugged Peter that she could feel us collectively hug her back.

    I’m sure that God is pleased that Diane is with Him now; He’ll enjoy her colorful descriptions and quips as we did. Our loss is His gain.

    I hope that we can all meet “face to face” someday when we’re all “back home.”


    I don’t know Steve (Diane’s “husband person”), but from his writings and the fact that Diane loved him makes him a friend as well. I’m at a loss to imagine how difficult it will be for him to go on without his soulmate, his best friend. We appreciate that he stood by her side until the end. I know that’s how it should be, but in this day and age, it doesn’t always happen that way. He is undoubtedly a good man. Our prayers are with Steve now.

  15. Blessed B. says:

    I’m a relatively new contributor to HN&F…so I didn’t know Diane as well as most here. We never spoke on the phone or privately emailed each other…..

    I do remember though when I had started following and commenting here a couple of years ago….Diane’s posts and her comments were always genuine and respectful. Something one doesn’t see a lot of in the world of blogging! Her positive perspective was something that struck a cord within me and made me perk up my ears to actually contemplate what she had written. Yes Diane…..we were always learning right along side of you!

    When I heard about Diane having “C” and had been fighting the invading enemy for a few years…. I was truly in awe of how one could stay so positive and upbeat. I don’t think I would be if I was in that position. I consider myself a warrior but not to the extent that Diane showed us. Knowing now that up until her last breath, she never forgot about others suffering ….. once again I am in awe of this wonderful lady. You will be missed more than you could ever know by those you have never met.

    The photos of Diane are a testament to her indomitable spirit and goodness of heart! A true Angel warrior!


    Steve….. my heart goes out to you. I am so sorry for the loss of your soulmate. May you find solace in the happy memories you have of your time together. I believe our loved ones, who have travelled on without us, are never truly very far away from us….if we keep the happy memories close , in our hearts. True love never dies….it carries on forever.


    You may write your name on paper.
    You may trace it in the sand.
    You may carve it in marble, with a firm and steady hand.

    But paper, it will wither,
    And sand will blow away.
    Marble, it will crumble as all earthly things decay.

    But there’s a book in Heaven.
    It’s pages are kept with care.
    It’s God’s and Christ’s own album…..Diane’s name is written there!

  16. Terry says:

    God Bless and Keep You, Diane.
    You did all you could to fight the evil here on earth.
    You have earned your place in Heaven.

    And Steve….You were as Blessed to have shared your years with this great woman, as she was to have shared hers with someone who loved her as you do.
    God Be With You to help ease your loss.

  17. J.O.B. says:

    “Hello Diane. I received an e-mail from _____ a few days ago. He informed me that you were in hospice care. I know all too well what that means. I’m not even sure if you are in any condition to check your e-mail anymore. But if this message finds you, I want you to know one thing……I Love You. You proved to me that no matter what political views anyone has, two people who respect each other can always get along. I will save all of the correspondence we’ve had and may even share them. You’ve fought a good fight sweety, one that I know all too well. Just remember, you did not lose. You won! Your friend’s won! Your family won! And I won! I wish you the safest, and painless of passings.

    I will miss you, but I’m truly hoping to cross over one day and give you a hug. You have definitely changed my life, for the better. Please know that you have made me a better man, a better Husband, a better Father, and a better Friend……………………………

    Yours truly
    Forever grateful
    Jon O’Brien”

    This was the last e-mail I sent to Diane. I was saddened to learn from Hardnox that she no longer had the capacity to retrieve her e-mail.

    As I learned the news this morning, I sort of went numb. I will definitely have an empty spot in my heart, but so many spots in my memory are filled. I first met Diane in ’11 when she commented on my blog. Needless to say, we hit it off right away. We shared the same passion for baseball, music, politics, and politeness. We would have conversations regarding my hometown, and she always asked what made some of us Sox fans, and what made others Cub fans, HAHAHAHA. She was so funny and so sweet. A lot of our conversations centered around music. I remember when she told me she purchased a keyboard, she was so excited. And she was so open minded. I remember posting a music piece by a heavy metal band from Virginia. While most of the commenters admitted to only lasting about a minute before shutting it off, I think Hardnox may have been one of them, LOL. I’m pretty sure Diane listened to the whole song, and she was asking me questions. About the double bass, and the singer pitching. I was amazed, but that’s what Diane did. She always amazed us. Last year, she allowed me one of the biggest honors I can think of. She asked me to come on her blog and tell my story as a caregiver from when my Mom was diagnosed with cancer. It was hard, but very healing and I will always appreciate her for that. And through all of her battle, she was always concerned for Steve. But it sounds like he did a great job, and now his healing needs to begin. If this comment ever reaches you Steve, please know that you will forever be in my heart. I am happy to have had Diane in my life, even on the limited basis. I have only one regret. We never met. Never got to hear each other’s voice. I never got to meet her and give her a hug. I want to thank Hardnox for posting the pictures of her. I can finally put a face to all the comments and all the e-mails. And it is equally beautiful.

    In closing, I remember telling Diane that I had actually chosen a song to be played at my memorial service, whenever that turns out to be. It is a song based on the love we have for our loving partners. It must be painful to crossover to that other side, and leave someone behind. This last song is for you Diane, and that special man you left behind…….Rest peacefully my sweet friend.


  18. Steve "Husband Person" aka MR. A.L. says:

    Every Day is a Holiday

    How can you put into words what someone meant to you? So much of any relationship is based upon the unspoken, the actions and demonstrations that make us who we are. This was no different for Diane and me. When we met one of the first quips she heard from me was “every day is a holiday”. She giggled at it and never really probed it. Over the years I would ask her if she knew what I meant when I said “every day is a holiday” and of course she would respond yes, but I knew she never really did.

    I could write volumes about our mega road trips. We would drive for twelve or sixteen hours straight and never shut up. We could talk about anything from politics to sports to the lousy condition of the roads in some States. Or about how we would solve the world’s problems and then on the way home realize how many more problems we would have created. We had a ball together and were first and foremost best friends.

    Diane was diagnosed with cancer in 2012. She was not in very good shape for a couple years prior but it went unnoticed until she felt a lump in her neck. A biopsy confirmed the fear cancer one that had been growing for years had migrated into the lymph nodes and was very advanced. She was aggressively treated and was determined free of the ‘communist’ cancer cells as she put it (I preferred little bastards, myself). And we had a wonderful year together getting back to our road trips and getting out far more than we had been able for a few years. This all changed about a year ago when the menace emerged with a vengeance, ultimately leading to Diane’s death.

    When first diagnosed she was adamant that she just wanted to let it takes it course and be done with it. We had a long talk and finally asked her as someone who was Always Learning why she would shut down now and at least not listen to what the doctors had to say. She looked at me and through tears said ‘I have never been sick a day in my life’, I looked square in the eye and told her she is not sick now, you have a condition and it’s called cancer. She mumbled something and said ok I’ll listen to the doctors. Well she did and after some thought came to me and told me she had no idea how to fight. This was something I knew about and was able to teach her. She was a good student and worked through many problems far better than anyone could expect.

    Diane asked me to share some of the stories of the last three years. Some of these are funny, at least to me, and some sad. What they do is tell of a woman who had no quit in her vocabulary who knew intuitively how to fight just needed it to be brought out. She was a warrior, one of the toughest people I have ever met. Some of you who know us have already heard several of these to those who have not please take heart that we laughed long and loud at cancer.

    So without further adieu,
    Chemo Farts
    Before it hit me I began to see paint peel and the floor buckle. “What is that”? Then it hit me like a green fog out of the night, a smell so foul that we were certainly under attack. Surely we were goners’. Then a quiet little voice broke the silence. “I passed gas, was that me”? Can’t be I thought nothing that foul can come from a human being. This was our introduction into “Chemo Farts”. And a fear that we could never survive the night!

    Chemo farts are a very closely guarded secret and for good reason. Nothing I can write or describe can give you an understanding of how bad chemo farts are. As a normal male I enjoy a good fart as much as the next guy. Even Ben Franklin wrote an essay on flatulence (“Fart Proudly” circa 1781, look it up its entertaining), but even he would hold his nose at this!

    Fearful she was going blow up and create a hazmat issue or a superfund site in our living room I immediately got on the internet and searched for chemo farts. Well, there are at least a million hits on this phenomenon. So, I check out a chat room and learn this is a fairly common side effect of chemo drugs and that many people have a more warped sense of humor than I do. I was laughing so hard I had tears rolling down my face, Mrs. AL comes into the room and I could barely read any of the postings to her.

    That night, that very special moment in time gave us permission to laugh, and laugh we did loud and hard and at every opportunity we could.

    That single fart (there were many, many more trust me) changed our perspective and attitude toward Mrs. AL’s treatment. That single fart did more than any doctor or drug could ever accomplish. It was blessing sent to us that took from despair to courage and a resolute attitude to kick cancers ass.

    We no longer have the furniture and are replacing the flooring. As for the paint, the blistered effect looks pretty nice so we are going to leave it in place.

    So next time you break one off enjoy the moment. Think of the people out there who could power a diesel locomotive on one good chemo fart. And laugh in cancers face because it doesn’t like it!

    “Honey, it’s me Diane”. For two months everyday at two pm my phone would ring, ‘honey it’s me Diane’, the voice so quiet I could barely hear it. And she would continue, to ask if on the way home I could stop and pick up a bag of cookies. What kind didn’t matter just cookies.

    So every day I would stop and grab some cookies. And let me tell you she could pound some cookies. One day the phone rings and my cube neighbor leans back and tells me not to be so cheap and buy more than one bag so I don’t have to hear this every day. So I do, I stop on the way home and grab three bags, big bags of cookies.

    Well right on cue at two pm, the phone rings ‘honey, it’s me Diane’ and asks me to stop on the way home and pick up some cookies. Diane, I bought three bags yesterday, uh huh she responds, I ate them. Even the ones in the closet I ask, yep I ate all of them. Three bags of cookies gone I did get a look from my coworker there were no words that needed to be said.

    Cookies saved her they gave her peace and quiet. I’m just glad they make so many different kinds!

    Mrs. AL was on the phone with the chemo palace, and was told she might not be able to get her chemo in a couple days because her white cell count was in the dumper. I could see the disappointment and despair, recognition that this was not going to end well.

    Think, THINK, T H I N K, do something anything to change the situation. A quick check showed me that eggs raise white cell counts. I like eggs, especially with bacon and lightly buttered toast. EGGS I call out, and she comes running. What she asks, EGGS I tell her, eggs raise white cell counts (ok, so I left the part off that it takes a long time and ain’t really all that great anyway). What are you waiting for she says, GO GET EGGS! Off I go, and boy did we eat eggs three days, three squares a day, with bacon and toast too!

    We go to the chemo palace and the doctor tells her white cell count is good to go and she can get the chemo treatment. Mrs. AL leans over and hits me on the arm and says to the doctor he said it would work. What, the doctor asks, and she proceeded to tell him all about the eggs and how I said it would raise the white cells. Doc just looks at me with a glare, all I said to him was ‘hey, it worked’. The mental part was far more important that weekend than the tests or treatments. (What if it didn’t work, I have no idea how I would have got out of that one!)

    Where are the Announcers
    Soon after Diane was cleared, we took a road trip to Florida to watch some Washington National’s spring training and to get away for a week. It was like old times, a long road trip, good truck stop food and fourteen hours of constant conversation.

    The first game we go to is at the Braves complex, which by the way is beautiful. So there we are, Diane in her best National’s garb about five rows up from the Nat’s on deck circle. She is taking it all in, now keep in mind chemo brain, the fog that comes with treatment is still pretty much in full bloom. The Braves take the field and over the loud speaker, “ now batting”, and the batter takes his place and the pitcher winds up and throws the pitch, the umpire motions strike one and the catcher returns the ball.

    She looks at me, this frail, bald very obvious cancer patient and says very loud, ‘where are the announcers’, we are at the ballpark I tell her, there are none. ‘Well how am I supposed to know what’s going on” she asked, and I tell her to watch the game, ‘oh ok’ she tells me. People for several rows turned wanting to laugh at the conversation, but see her and quietly turn back to the game.

    I know she never saw a pitch or play that first game. But we had the time of our life.

    The Roast
    For the last year I had been doing all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, doctoring, preaching, working, getting to appointments, praying and well whatever else humans do. My life centered around her, as it should have been. We worked tirelessly to get her walking again after the radiation. After two months of my doing physical therapy on her legs and building her strength she ventured out on her own.

    I get a phone call from her she’s at the Wal-Mart. She asks what I need while she is there and I am stunned that she drove on her own and is out shopping. She tells me we are having a roast for dinner. Great I tell her and after I hung up had to leave my desk and go to the truck sit down and cry for a few moments. This was monumental not only had she gone out but she was cooking dinner.

    I can’t wait to get home, and make sure to leave on time. I get there and the roast smells wonderful. Was going to be the best dinner I have had in almost a year. I changed, and got on the computer before dinner to check e-mail and all of a sudden the smoke alarms go off.

    I get to the kitchen as quick as I can and there is Diane, holding a roasting pan with a charcoal briquette that use to be a roast, its smoldering, smoke is pouring out of the oven, the alarms are screeching and she looks at me. I’m waiting for tears instead I hear her say ‘I think it needs to go back in for a little bit longer’ and she put it back in the oven.

    I forget what we ate that night it wasn’t roast. That day was great success it didn’t matter about burning dinner what mattered was she did it and I was very proud of her.

    A few weeks later Diane had a seizure, it was two days before Christmas. She stopped breathing and had no signs of life I prayed over her and thought I had lost her. I had to do something so I rubbed her sternum with my knuckles kind of hard. She gasped, and began breathing, very shallow at first then it got stronger and stronger. After a short visit to the hospital she came home. This began the longest five months of our lives.

    Treatments were discontinued in March and Diane went into hospice. Hospice, the word itself conjures up thoughts of nothing but death. Well nothing could be further form the truth. The people there were amazing. Diane thrived in the environment and instead of the week she was told she had she lived for eight more weeks of which seven were the best she had in over a year. Her care was second to none. People who visited were amazed at her attitude and resilience. Diane and I made a deal that I needed to start letting her take care of me while she was there after all ‘you took care of me for three years’ she said. The only caveat was that I would be able to be with her when she went home to be with the Lord. And like two adults we spit shook on it just for good measure.

    Diane passed away on May 9th. I was holding her when she died. She left my arms and took the Lord’s hand and went home. She passed away quietly and in no pain.

    For most people the story of their lives ends there. Diane decided to donate her body to science in hopes that someone learns something from her experience. So, while I write this she continues to give.

    Somewhere a story like hers unfolded today. Another family at another place all with their own stories some funny some sad but all theirs. There will be no Fox News flash or CNN Headlines no parades or moments of silence no horse drawn carriage. No there will be just grieving families with memories. Abraham Lincoln in November 1863, at this dedication of the cemetery at Gettysburg said. “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.”

    Like Lincoln’s statement, the words and memories of Diane will fade with time and in generations most likely be lost. We cannot however, forget the impact she had during her battles. And it is up to us to carry on the work on all fronts.

    In the end Diane understood what ‘every day is a holiday’ meant. We celebrate days that really have no meaning other than to get the day off or sell cards or sit down and eat to we burst. When in fact everyday each and every one that we can impact the life of another person is a holiday. Diane impacted many lives and will continue to do so.

    Having had her in my life was a true blessing. I am a better person and better man because of her.

    She was my dear friend and will be sorely missed.
    ~ Steve

    • Hardnox says:

      Thanks for sharing some of the funny moments. That chemo fart one was hysterical. “Hazmat issue”… bwhahahahaha! 🙂

      • vonMesser says:

        Steve, thanks for your time. I understand where you are and were for the past couple of years. (And, yes, chemo-farts are banned by the Geneva Convention)

    • Kathy says:

      Steve, I love your beautiful and funny stories – especially the roast – only Diane would think of a comeback like that.

      As you know none of us posted any political stories yesterday in honor of Diane. With her sense of humor, I think she’d chuckle to know that’s what it takes to get a day off around here.

      Thanks for sharing – those are memories you will treasure the rest of your life, as will we.

    • CW says:

      What a beautiful eulogy, Steve. It’s so nice to hear about the wonderful times you and Diane had together and the loving way that you cared for each other when things got rough. I think I like the cookie story the best. Who knew Diane had such a sweet tooth?! I am sad for your loss and for ours too. I guess that’s the price we pay for knowing someone so special.

    • tannngl says:

      I’ve got to say, you two were made for each other! What an absolutely wonderful partnership in this life! I already miss Diane very much, though we never met. But I’m heartened she left behind someone so much like her to help keep this old world from crashing and burning…yet.
      God bless you and keep you, Steve. Thank you so much.

    • Blessed B. says:


      These are precious memories you have of Diane. Keep them close to you, especially when you are having a tough day. Remember them and laugh. I know that Diane will be laughing alongside of you.

      Laughter truly is the best medicine for what ails you. As Kathy said…. It’s what it takes to get work done around here! We all look forward to Hardnox “Funny Fridays” to add a bit of brevity to our week!

      Thank you for sharing these stories with us. Diane was a truly an amazing soul and so are you! 🙂

  19. Pingback: My Article Read (5-13-2015) | My Daily Musing

  20. Crawfish says:

    Farewell, m’lady. Your watch stands relieved. We will continue your mission.
    And in your presence, it was us who were Always Learning.

    To Steve, Numbers 6: 24-26

  21. Garnet92 says:

    Thanks so much for your stories, Steve. They help to flesh out the special person that Diane was, especially to those of us who knew Mrs. AL better than we knew Diane.

    I especially liked the Chemo Farts story and your descriptions of the environmental havoc caused by caustic flatulence. As a young man, I remember being told that women (especially Southern ladies) never farted.

    I only learned differently when I got married and was perplexed to learn that the family dog didn’t fart nearly as much as I thought he did. It was my wife all along. Watching her sleep as the bedcovers billowed and filled with noxious gas and the dog was in another room was a dead giveaway (she still blamed it on the dog).

    You were lucky to have Diane in your life (Chemo Farts and all) and we were all lucky to have had a relationship with her, however remote. She was a very special lady and she will be missed by all who knew her.

  22. Dear Steve,

    I am so glad you posted these intimate and beautiful stories about Diane. When I first visited this post I could not even breathe much less tell how I felt. Diane was such a special, wonderful woman who gave to everyone she knew. We emailed one another many times. She was always looking out for me instead of herself. I didn’t need that when she was going through the biggest battle of her life. But that was Diane. Always giving.

    I am so sad over her death and once again struck with the thought that one more wonderful person in my life is gone. I’m sure this is going to be very difficult you for you as time goes by. Grief takes its’ own time to heal a broken heart. Losing your best friend is extremely difficult. I lost my husband not that long ago and I still miss him, but I think of only the good times, about how we laughed as you are doing. It is a very good thing to do and sounds like you are doing the same.

    For you, we knew you were standing by Diane through every day of this humongous battle at her side where you should be and as you stated yourself. I could tell from her writings that the two of you had a very special relationship. That is rare in these days and I applaud the both of you.

    My heart is heavy with sadness over Diane’s passing, but I will always remember the special person she was. She was a wonderful person beyond words.

    Thank you so much for leaving us with your stories which made me laugh out loud.
    And best wishes for you as you go on with your life the best you can. We know that God had a special place in his heart and she is with Him now.

    She will live on with memories of her which are all positive. She was truly a rare gem.

    God be with you, Steve.

  23. Clyde says:

    Steve, thanks so much for allowing us a look into what, for most, would be a living hell. The two of you, and your infallible sense of humor really helped through the tough times. Although I never had the pleasure of meeting your lovely Diane, just through the internet, and reading her words gave me a real good picture of her and her character. While I grieve for your loss, I am relieved to see her immeasurable suffering over, and the knowledge she is in the Lord’s care is of some comfort. Nox told me what you did yesterday, now go squeeze off a few hundred more rounds. Good for the soul.

  24. Emilia says:

    So many wonderful posts here…I am so sorry I never had the pleasure of knowing this awesome lady. I look forward to meeting her “on the other side”. Steve, I am sure her memorials will be filled with much laughter through the tears. Thank you for sharing your precious memories with us.