A Lady named Louise

Louise passed away on New Year's Eve 2000 as the fireworks lit the sky above. It was no coincidence that Louise passed on as the colors splashed across the sky. Louise loved life and life loved Louise. Even after her death she continues to make an impact on us in her own way.

A little while before she passed on, her husband Domenic had promised that they would get to the beach on the islands. She wanted to go to the islands for a long time and had been looking forward to it, but time passed quickly, she became to ill to travel and they never got there. Weeks before her death, weakened with anemia, she would still say how she regretted never getting to the beach. Then during the course of a telephone conversation between my sisters, there was weeping over her impending death and sadness over the fact that her wish had never materialized.

That first dreary night of her funeral, the sisters dropped off their children and drove to the funeral parlor together. They got there early, the first to arrive, and were forced to wait in the car next to the cemetery where she would be resting.

They described their ominous sense of grief and cold that had overwhelmed them, the sadness intensified by the darkness and emptiness around them.

Just then, a beach ball in the middle of the snow caught their eye. It was originally on the boulevard and traveling towards them. Chrissy, who was very close to Louise, suddenly could feel her presence, and blurted out "She's here, do you feel her presence? Louise is here."

The beach ball came right up to Chrissy's car, did a little dance before them, then tapped her window as if to salute her. Then it moved towards the window on the right side where my other sister was sitting and tapped her window as well. It did the most joyful little twirl and then skipped into the cemetery. They drove behind the ball with a great sense of consolation and peace, without ever connecting the symbolism until later that evening. Louise got to the  beach anyway. (smile)

That charming little story had the capacity to bring a degree of closure to the hurt of  those unfulfilled plans and some of the pain of those around her, especially her husband Domenic.

Louise was 40 years old. She and Domenic's legacy will live on forever, for they have taught us about joy, love and courage. They traveled the narrow path and showed us how to do it.

She has shown us how to celebrate life with her beauty, generosity and goodness, and now we celebrate her life.

Louise's memory is honored by The Louise Dion Christmas Foundation, which she inspired with her generosity. It  is being established to come to the aid of needy families, and has been launched from some of the donations at the funeral.

Among other things, Louise Dion was also a committed volunteer with RECLAIM, a nonprofit organization providing free, literacy instruction to adults. A LOUISE DION MEMORIAL FUND has been formed in her name and anyone wishing to make a donation can do so at this address:

6310 Somerled 
Room 22 
Montreal, Quebec
Canada H3X 2B8

Ann Laccitiello
February 2000

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