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Diedre Ryan Makatche.  She gave me my first breath and I held her hand through her last.  Wife, mother, sister, daughter, aunt, friend and dogmom. Diedre’s favorite things in life were kids and dogs. It’s no wonder we have 10 furmonsters at home right now considering, as a child, she tried to lure strangers’ dogs to follow her back from school until her parents caved and she met her very first furry friend, Sir Guy. Her biggest dream, even over having children (thanks, mom), was to be a grandmother and even more so, I think she wanted to be her biggest role model, Nana Lala. She was determined to buy her way into every child’s heart by making sure she always had candy and toys on hand for little visitors. If she has her way she has probably already lined up at least 6 for each of us by now so, Dad, I hope you’re up for babysitting.  Diedre was dedicated. She pushed for my brothers and I to have the best opportunities possible. Not only did she have the four of us involved in a million different sports and activities but somehow she managed to be present, whistling obnoxiously, at every single one of them. How we even made it there alive when she was car dancing, applying mascara and singing into her curling iron to Shania Twain as it heated up... all at the same time is beyond my comprehension.  She was stubborn and tough.. both in her actions and physically. She stood up for what she believed in - be it her own siblings or politics…. but we’re not going to get into that.. She was selfless and put everyone before herself. Wearing oversized sweats, my brothers’ hand-me-downs, often adorned with either paint or bleach, she’d be online shopping for anything we could possibly need.. and probably ordering double just in case. Anytime she heard of someone in need, she immediately took it upon herself to do anything she could to get them back on the right foot. To put it simply, Diedre was a lot of fun.. someone everyone wanted to be around. A quote from Mother Teresa posted on her facebook states: “let no one ever come to you without leaving better or happier” - words Diedre clearly lived by as seen through her efforts to claim and proudly wear the badge of the “favorite aunt.” Whether she wildly squalled “Happy birthday to you” or feng shuied your house with “drapes” she found in your very own underwear drawer.. she never failed to leave anyone with a smile. Finally, My mom was a fighter. For her husband, her kids and the future she dreamed we would have. And because she always put her heart and soul into everything she did, she always came out a winner. Let me be clear, my mom did not lose her battle to cancer. My mom won, just not for herself but for everyone she loved. She won time spent together. She won closure and memories. She won strengthened bonds. She won bringing our family closer by literally making up random traditions just for something to do. Quite frankly, if i can let you in on a little secret, she manipulated us all.. she told me one day, “the only reason people come to these things is because they think I’m dying.” But she won.. knowing that all of those people that would show up for her would continue to show up. For me.. my dad.. shanon... brenan... and nolan.  Because I spent much of the last two years waiting on her, literally hand & foot, i have a few messages I want to make sure you hear. Dad: You were her best friend. No amount of “thank you’s” could adequately express her gratitude for all that you did for her. She loved you beyond words. Spend time with family, friends and enjoy life. Every time you start that ignition know that she’s watching you on HER tractor so you better start asking for permission. And if you ever need to get her attention, a simple “hoodie hoo” will do.  Shanon, Brenan & Nolan: She was so proud of each of you and wanted nothing more than your peace and happiness. I know you’re well aware of her hopes and dreams for us. It’s time to make them happen. To her family and friends: i know I just told you she played you like a one man band, so this may not be the best time, but don’t let it stop now. We have at least 3 new annual traditions and, if she has any say in it, there’s a shared beach house in our future. Whether you grew up side-by-side or your first encounter involved balloons and my elementary school bathroom.. (i’m looking at you, Bucko.) Please, never stop showing up. You’re off to a good start; celebrating her freedom with us today, just as D would have wanted.  And now, I’d like to leave you with a few life lessons I learned on behalf of Big D:

  • There’s no such thing as too much food.

  • You don’t have to like everyone, but find the good in them and get along.

  • Always send a thank you note.

  • Will power and Faith are underestimated by most medical professionals

  • And last but not least, a mom is the best kind of best friend you could ever have.

Thank you for joining us in the celebration of the life of the incredible woman I was lucky enough to call “mom.”

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