Fundraising Page for The Overnight Walk Washington,DC
June 1, 2013 at Washington, DC
Very seldom do we come across people that change our lives forever. Rarely can we look back over the years and realize that because of one person, we are who we are. These people are few and far between, but they exist—and because they exist, so do we.
To many, Diane Lynn Dittmar was one of these people.
I knew Diane my entire life. Our mothers met before we were born. We shared an incredibly magical childhood at Allysa’s farm. As such, I spent a great deal of time in Diane’s presence. I would always wake up before Allysa and would spend hours and hours talking with Diane in the kitchen. Those morning conversations with Diane carried on throughout my childhood and into my late teenage years. We would talk about life. She asked me about school and boys. I told her my dreams and fears. And I was only Allysa’s best friend, yet she treated me like her own with so much love.
Diane loved music with a burning passion. No matter where I was in the house, I could always hear Diane playing the piano in the living room and singing. She taught me how harmonize. Our favorite duet was “Amazing Grace,” and later, at her funeral, I sang it, alone, for her. At church, Diane performed with Guiding Grace, and I’ll never forget the beauty of her voice. She sang from her soul, and when Diane sang, everyone could feel it. Diane also loved to cook. No one ever went hungry when Diane was home. On the contrary, we were always stuffed. Over and over again she would ask me, “Did you eat enough, Hayl?” and tell me to refill my plate, until three servings later someone had to roll me out of the kitchen.
While my memories of Diane are endless, not all have a happy ending. I will never forget the day Diane passed away—August 9, 2011. It was late in the afternoon when I received a call from Allysa telling me she needed me to come over right away. Instinctively, I knew something was wrong. Allysa and I have been best friends and virtually inseparable our entire lives, so when I sensed the urgency in her voice, I dropped everything and got into my car. I drove down the familiar winding roads I had so often driven before, about to plunge into the unfamiliar. When I pulled into the driveway, I saw Allysa, dazed and walking barefoot towards my car. There were tears in her eyes. As she got into the passenger seat, our eyes met. Then she took my hand and whispered the words I will never forget: “She’s gone.”
For the next two weeks until Allysa left for school, I seldom left my best friend’s side. We held each other more than ever as we cried over the loss of the woman we both loved so dearly. A few days later, Aaron – Allysa’s boyfriend who will also be walking with us—flew from California to New Jersey to be with her family. Each night, we took turns making sure Allysa could sleep, and although she often couldn’t, we would huddle together under the blankets and share our fondest memories of Diane, trying to remember the happy times that we now cherish for the rest of our lives.
I could go on about my love for Diane for forever. Her own life was filled with such beauty and joy that she imparted that same exuberance to all she encountered, and her spirit and love will never cease to run through all who knew her.
Those of us who are walking for Diane each have a different experience of her. Some knew her for many years, others for less. Some knew the sweetness of her laughter and the warmth of her touch while others can now only dream of them. Despite the extent of our individual experiences of Diane, we all share a single commonality: she gave us one of the greatest friends we will ever know. Thus, each of us – myself, Aaron, and Suzy – are also walking for her daughter, Allysa. Even more so, I am walking for Diane’s entire family. I’m walking for other survivors of suicide loss. I’m walking for those who struggle on a daily basis. I’m walking for all of them, because Diane Dittmar changed my life.
Allysa Dittmar (Captain)
$2,619.00 Amount Raised 43 Donations Received
$1,152.00 Amount Raised 18 Donations Received
$1,013.00 Amount Raised 17 Donations Received
$949.00 Amount Raised 15 Donations Received