Mourning and feeling dejected after her husband walked out, there were many roads Diane could have taken– addictions, compulsions, numbing medications, but instead she pushed through the pain, faced her demons and fear, and dug to the bottom of her courage. Through wakeboarding Diane learned to develop a new relationship with herself, nature, her spirit, and her body.
April 9, 2014
Portland, Ore……………….Diane was living an idyllic life up until and by age 50. Married to a successful businessman, living in a wooded cottage with babbling brooks, a family of deer, and a bountiful garden, she had given up her nursing career to care for her blended family, became a columnist writing on family issues, was a radio host and frequent guest on local TV reporting on relationships, family dynamics and issues.
Her husband, over the years had became volatile and one day in a rage left home, froze bank accounts and served her with divorce papers.
Menopausal, depressed, divorced, an empty nest to her beloved first child, broke and without the nursing career that could support her, she was lost. One day, passing over the Willamette River she paused, looked into the water, and her lungs, heart and mind filled with hope. Gazing upon water allowed her to breathe, and to believe there was more life left in her to live.
Finding a house along the river was a miracle and an ardent task, but finally with funds from the sale of her home and some cherished heirlooms, she bought a modest house with a little boat and she and her son moved in.
She took up the wildly risky and treacherous sport of Wakeboarding to forget, to heal, to prove to herself she was worthy of learning something new, and that the cultural messages might just be wrong, that she was not washed up, over the hill with an expired shelf life. A question that haunted and taunted her would not leave her alone and was the reason she kept going back to the water to try and learn this sport although the efforts had rendered some nasty injuries. She had partially detached a retina, injured her leg and received numerous whiplashes. The question: Why was she divorced again? Why do relationships not work for her? Why are her relationships filled with drama? Until those answers came she would push herself, pushing her body and testing her will hoping some answers would shake out. The only respite from her anguish was being on the water, wind through her hair, flying behind a boat, completely in the moment, her mind stilled and her body coiled and balanced on her wakeboard. In her midlife, feeling dejected, there were many roads Diane could have taken, addictions, compulsions, numbing medications, but instead she pushed through the pain, faced her demons and fear, and dug to the bottom of her courage. Through wakeboarding Diane learned to develop a new relationship with herself, nature, her spirit, and her body.
Diane’s story can be read in Marlo Thomas’s recent book It Ain’t Over..Til It’s Over. The book is about reinvention. The author chose Diane Dennis and 59 other women to write about because of their resilience, creativity, inspirations, and strength to go through an ordeal, come up with a new life, create a new normal, and evolve to become better women for their experiences. Diane is writing her own book and the complete story called ‘Driving Miss Crazy.’ The term “Driving Miss Crazy” came about from teaching her 14 year-old son how to drive the boat. He would tell his friends “come with us, we have to drive Miss Crazy, referring to driving the boat for his mom to wakeboard. Diane is mentioned in the foreword of Marlo’s book as an example of inspiration. At 62 Diane is still wakeboarding, much to her family, friends and her own surprise and joy.