Remarks of Sam Bermolone, Daliah's college friend, at Daliah's funeral:
I know today should be a somber day but, in my heart, I know Daliah wouldn’t want me to be sad. It might be my own imagination, but I think she would dare me to cram as many tv and movie one-liners into this speech as possible. Then I showed the draft to my wife, and she quickly informed me that I was an idiot.
Graham Greene once said "You can't conceive, nor can I, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God."
Daliah you were taken from us too young. You were a beautiful daughter, proud aunt, and steadfast friend. I can't make sense of what has happened and even as I stand here reading this eulogy, I still don't think I can accept that you are actually gone.
Your talent helped me become a better writer. Who knows if I would have finished my Div 3 without your feedback. After college we all went our own ways and started building our own lives, keeping in touch became harder, and visits less frequent but when the pandemic hit you were the glue that held our friend group together. You were persistent when it came to checking in on us, your college family. The regular video calls and text messages helped keep our spirits up and kept our group connected.
You had a way of making sure every single one of us knew how important we were to you. Daliah made you feel like the most important person in the room and supported each of us with an effortless love and enthusiasm, taking joy in our wins and cheering us on through tough times. I hope she felt that same love and joy from us. I love you Daliah for everything you were and everything you overcame.
So I guess all I really want to say is…
“Dear Daliah, I will miss you terribly. We all will.” (Brigette Jones’s Baby 2016)
Ghislaine Darden and Devora Schiff remarks at Daliah's funeral:
My name is Ghislaine Darden
I first met Daliah when I was sitting on my porch at our Harper Street house. She was in a stroller -pushed by her mom with her big sister Rachel walking besides her. Daliah was 18 months old. I was pregnant with Nicola and a new neighbor on the block. Joyce in her friendly way, introduced herself and that was the start of our life-long friendship. Nicola and Daliah became fast childhood friends. They only lived 3 doors apart from one another and spent many a day running and riding their bikes between our houses, playing games, and with her sister Rachel, putting on shows.
The soul of every living person is pure. Daliah had a pure soul. I met Daliah when the she was five. Riding her tricycle and very happy but very serious. She played with Sam , Ezra played
With Rachel. Daliah being the thoughtful young girl decided that Ezra could marry Rachel and she would marry Sam and Adam could marry Joey. Such sweetness.
Daliah was a great playmate to Nicola. She really wanted to have her first sleepover at our house. But unfortunately, much to her disappointment, it wasn’t exactly a sleepover because she in the middle of the night she decided that she wanted to go home. Poor Gary had to come out in the pouring rain in the middle of the night to bring her home because she got home sick.
For Daliah’s Bat Mitzvah she was so appreciative of the tallit I made for her and talked about the love she had for her family as she tied the tallit tzizzas.
As Nicola and Daliah grew, their friendship grew as well. She had a big heart and help Nicola through a rough time in High School. When Nicola was ostracized by his classmates, she brought him into her circle to make him feel good. She also selected Nicola to escort her to her Senior Prom.
Daliah grew into a beautiful young woman. She went to Hampshire College and majored in writing. She was a creative writer and even creative in business. To make money in college she rented out her parents’ car. She started Uber before Uber even existed. She wanted to be a screen writer. She even made-up stories and put these stories on films for Rachel’s children.
Now Daliah’s story is: she is at peace.
My mom, Josiane Jameux Darden Joyce died at 94 a year ago in September, but her birthday was January 11 and is often the case, Facebook will notify everyone that it’s your birthday. Last January on the 11th, Daliah wrote this about my mom:
“Josiane Darden, in a unique and wonderfully rare way was a landmark figure of my life. No matter how long it had been, when I saw her she would instantly make me feel this unparalleled sense of familial comfort, calm and joy. Having grown up 2 houses down from her daughter Ghislaine Darden, gone to prom with her grandson Nic Caputo and more, I was blessed with the pleasure of having known her my entire life. Josiane, I miss you and thank you for having touched my life.”
As an aside, my mom always referred to Daliah as Nicola’s older women! Daliah was loving and was loved. She will be greatly missed.
Rachel Cohen (sister) remarks at Daliah's funeral:
I have been trying to avoid writing this on the computer, as if...maybe if there isn't a permanentcrecord, maybe this won't be real.
Because how do you say goodbye to someone whose life really never began?
It is hard for me, because we are currently surrounded by death and loss.
How do I compare my grief to the grief of someone who just lost their entire family, half of their community?
How is it fair for me, who wasn't always the best sister, who didn't always show up, how is it fair or me to feel this deep loss, when I missed so many opportunities to be better?
But it doesn't matter. Because there it is.
Daliah would have loved writing this. Not just because she loved writing, because she loved making people feel things.
She loved making people smile, making people laugh. From the time we were little kids, she was always performing, always "on". "This is a show", she would tell us, climb up on a stair, or platform and try to entertain the room. She wanted to make other people feel good around her, wanted her presence to bring a smile to people's faces.
Even when she was struggling, she tried so hard to bring humor and positivity to every interaction,
She could entertain my kids on the phone for hours, playing make believe, telling stories, and taking a deep interest in their occasionally incoherent ramblings. They never felt unseen while talking to her, never felt small. So many adults (especially parents) treat small children as obstacles or a chore that need to be maneuvered but Daliah never did that. They were always her priority, always the focal point. And they felt that.
She was always looking for ways to give. Even when she didn't have much, she always felt the need to give to others. But not just anything, Daliah would research the perfect gift, perfect gesture, and go to extreme lengths to make sure she got it for them.
Two years ago, my two older kids told Daliah that they her that they the TV series Ninjago, so Daliah created a music video to the theme song of the show, where she positioned their faces on their favorite Ninjas. I was kind of overwhelmed...she could have just printed out a ninjago coloring sheet, but that wasn't Daliah. She felt this need to do more, be more and honestly....the kids love it to this day. They can watch it over, and over again with looks of joy and wonder.
In her last conversation with the kids, she was planning a new video for them, with a Harry Potter theme. She sent me a million follow up questions, so that she could make it perfect for them. I didn't have the emotional energy to answer; the reality of the war was weighing on me and I didn't have the strength to talk. They don't need something elaborate, I dismissed her. When I told my 5 yo daughter, Noga, the terrible news that Daliah was no longer here. That her body had stopped working and we get to carry her in our hearts, but wouldn't have her physically here anymore. She asked a few precocious questions, she thought about it for a minute and said, "but she promised to make us a Harry Potter video". Her gestures mattered.
When we were kids, she was this little ball of energy, that bounced around the place with her little friends, solving mysteries, playing elaborate games of make-believe, always fun, always a little wild, and always trying to be big. My mother used to always tell the story about how in nursery school, Daliah and her two friends Haley and Raphi, were the only three kids that were wading around, learning to feel comfortable in the water. They were little wild fishies, swimming around frantically and adorably.
There was also the Halloween when Daliah couldn't have been more than 10, and precocious decided to go dressed as Ally McBeal. A parent made a joke, asking if Daliah was her friend's mom. Daliah was so proud that they thought she was a grown-up that to the very end told that story with a funny hint of pride.
Well. There you finally did it, Daliah. You grew up all the way, too fast. Too soon, beat all of us.
Anyone who knew Daliah, knows how much she loved TV and movies. How she loved characters and story lines almost like real, flesh and blood friends in the world. Who could forget her Bridget Jones phase, which led to a full-blown decade of Renee
So when I had a show I liked and meant something to me, I tried to connect with her on that. West Wing was one example, it was the show that we watched to get inspired.
And for the past couple of years, for me, it had been The Good Place. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the series, it is a comedy that grapples with ethics, moral philosophy, and the afterlife. Daliah resisted watching it for a few years; I think out of pure disbelief that a show that our mom and I liked could be up to her standards, but she finally started getting into it two years ago. She wrote to me giddy, thanking me for convincing her to watch it. We spoke about how it was just what we needed. Something light, that was still smart, made us smile. Out of nowhere, I started rewatching the show last week.
So I am going to choose to remember Daliah, to honor her memory in the spirit of the show. The spirit of her always trying to be better, do better because of her love for other people, even more than for herself. That the point of morality isn't to accumulate "goodness points", rather to live up to our duties to one another.
And that is how I will try to honor her. I will try to be better, on my own behalf, and on hers.
Because there is so much to be better for. So many people that could use that little bit of grace, forgiveness. So many people who are suffering, that just a tiny bit of kindness could make all of the difference for them.
As the character Chidi says, "We choose to be good because of our bonds with other people, and our innate desire to treat
them with dignity. Simply put, we are not in this alone."