Come to My Garden

brunette woman named Di Ana

It was a year ago this month - we all sat in a large church attending a service.  I wished for more connection.  Some sense of closure.  We went to the second location.  It was hot.  People fanned themselves in the tight quarters.  All I could think of was "where is she in this?  This isn't her." And then the opening notes to Come to My Garden from the musical The Secret Garden began to play as the choir took a breath.  It was a room full of musical theatre folks and our knees collectively buckled.  I grabbed my friend Heather's hand and our bodies began to shake as we wept.  It felt like our Di Ana had walked into the room with the first measure of music when in fact she had ended her life only days before and this was her funeral.

"Come to my garden,
Nestled in the hills.
There I'll keep you safe beside me.
Come to my garden.
Rest there in my arms.
There I'll see you
Safely grown and on your way.
Stay there in the garden,
Where love grows free and wild.
Come to my garden.
Come, sweet child."
 
Di Ana was one of my biggest champions.  She loved her friends, animals, children, music, food, her family, and she loved helping people. Lifting people up. Celebrating them.  I had met her around 2002 or so when we both worked in the beauty department at Bergdorf Goodman.  


Later in 2011 Di would offer her home to host my launch party for Erin’s Faces. She helped me get dressed and cheered me on as I nervously stood in front of my first group of women, sharing about this new line I had created.

four women standing together

My friends Maggie, Di Ana, and Yvonne who all modeled for me for a New York Live segment

I did her makeup countless times as as a result knew the curve of her cheek, how her hair felt when I would move it out of the way and just what she wanted - lots of highlighter, super shiny sheer lips, lots of peachy pink blush and loads of mascara. Once I had Erin's Faces and we would have a dinner date she would always ask me to "bring [her] something shiny". I named a lipstick after her in an attempt to show my gratitude for her continuous support and took her preferences into account when naming lip glosses after neighborhoods in NYC as I knew she would want Tribeca (where she lived) and, as such, it needed to be shimmery.

Her friendship meant the most to me and we would spend hours talking about our businesses, our lives, our families, our struggles, our plans for the future.  

brunette woman in white blouse on rooftop

listening to a friend sing  at her birthday party just before the pandemic

In thinking about growth, what this blog is all about, I thought about what has changed for me as a result of losing one of my favorite people.  I tell people that I love them more now - I want them to know.  I want there to be absolute clarity.  It also has made me realize that you can tell someone you love them and they can still leave.  And it's heartbreaking but it's out of my control.  What's in my control is what I said to them and how I remember them.  And I will remember Di Ana as someone who was incredibly loving, complicated, funny, talented, generous and had a fire burning inside of her.  And as someone who is impossible to forget.

"I shall see you in my garden,
Where love grows free and wild.
Come to my garden,
Come, sweet day!"

 

Di Ana's headshot at the top is by Billy Bustamante with makeup by me


5 comments


  • Erin's Faces

    Ondine – oh my goodness, thank you so much. You’ve shared your story of your sister with me and it’s a sad one. And your friend who passed recently too. I’m so sorry for your losses. One of the things I think is so special about you is how positive you are with all that you’ve endured. Thank you so much for your support – I love you too :) xoxo

    Nancy – Thank you so much – that means a lot to me. I’m so sorry about your friend and your sister – it’s hard isn’t it? But yes to telling people we love them – at least we know they knew xoxo

    Dustienne – thank you my love xoxo

    Diana – Thank you so much – sending love your way too xoxo


  • Ondine Landa

    What an utterly moving and deeply beautiful tribute to your dear sweet friend. Wiping the tears from my eyes, I am reminded of my sweet baby sister, also gone far too soon, and of a dear friend gone recently. Both cancer, both mid-sentence. All I know is that the only true and honest way to honor those gone before us, especially gone too soon, is to live our lives fully and to say I love you as often as possible. You, dear Erin, spread your joy and love of life around to all who love and admire you. That is how you continue to honor your sweet friend. Thank you for sharing the incredible piece, thank you for sharing your friendship with this special soul. I love you. xoxO


  • Nancy Stober

    This was just a beautiful moving tribute to your beautiful friend. Moved me to tears. What a wonderful person. You are right when I lost my friend Karen, a sister from another mister, and then my actual sister Karen,I made sure to tell those people who I really love, that I love them each time we spoke.


  • Dustienne

    Such a beautiful tribute for such a magical woman. Sending hugs 💜


  • Diana Dreher

    This is so beautiful, Erin. Praying for you and sending love your way.


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