Diane Carreau, August 19, 1947 – September 9, 2022
“Nobody shall sleep!…
Nobody shall sleep!
Even you, oh Princess,
in your cold room,
watch the stars,
that tremble with love and with hope.” – Puccini, “Nessun dorma”, Turandot
New York City, NY
25 Degrees, Sunny
Unexpectedly, what was to be our first full day in NYC turned into the final day of our trip. Early morning Friday, we walked the High Line, enjoying the peace and beauty of this man made ecosystem in the heart of the citys’ chaos. We stopped in at a beautiful church along our walk, and visited Ground Zero. After the 10 day migration of leg one, it felt so luxurious to amble, to linger, to relax. And then mid-day we received the news that Bob’s sister Diane had passed away. Diane had been living with us for the past 15 years. She was our sister, our neighbour, my good friend. We immediately made all the necessary preparations to come home, finding plane tickets for Saturday and a bicycle shop that would pack and ship our bicycles to follow. We had already purchased tickets to Billy Joel that night and decided we would go. As Bob told our kids, we sang loudly and cried softly with 25,000 friends at Madison Square Gardens. The performance was like a soundtrack of the last 45 years of our life. Remarkably, in the middle of the show, one of the backup singers, Mike DelGuidice, sang “Nessun Dorma”, from the Puccini opera “Turandot” while Billy played a beautiful accompaniment. Diane used to play her opera music loudly on Saturday mornings while she did her housework. One of her favourites being Bocelli’s version of Nessun Dorma. How special.
My sister Diane has lived with us for a long time. Although she had her own apartment with a separate entrance, we saw her every day. Each morning she would tell us what the weather was going to do, what the early morning neighbourhood news was regarding dogs and parking enforcement, as well as any scandalous and shocking stories from the early morning news. On Friday, while we slept in NYC, Diane passed away peacefully in her home (our home).
She was my “big sister”. She was nine years older than I am, and growing up she often had chores that included caring for me. I have a vivid memory of her one morning, helping me get ready for school (kindergarten?). She had picked out a cardigan for me and was just buttoning it up on me. As she finished she brushed her hands across my shoulders, removing any invisible dust or fluff that may have appeared there. Then she held me at arms length and said “You’re so handsome”. I remember that because it made me feel special. In a house with eight children, a personal comment like that, just didn’t happen that often. Who had time?
A few weeks ago it was her 75th birthday. We took her out for a dinner celebration with Christina’s family (she loved spending time with our kids and grandkids). As we prepared to leave, I gave her a birthday kiss. She held me at arms length afterwards and brushed her hands across my jacket shoulders, like a tailor fitting a new suit, and she said “You’re so handsome”. That still felt special after all these years. We’ll miss her.