Today Jessica and I went to the funeral services for Dana Collins Bell. Dana performed for us in Hollywood in 2011. She delivered an amazing performance which had the audience in awe of her. Truly Dana was a magnetic person.
Back in 2010 Dana called me one month prior to the show and said that the cancer had spread to her brain but that she was still going to perform. I could not believe her strength. Dana and I laughed over the phone over her story she was going to share.
Dana had very long legs and loved to wear heels, she looked amazing for a woman having chemo. One day a woman yelled at her in a parking lot that she shouldn’t be parking in the handicap space as it didn’t look like anything was wrong with her.
Dana proceeded to yank out her prosthetic breast, slam it onto the windshield of her car and say, lady you shouldn’t judge as you don’t know what people are going through.
Dana had helped hand out literature at some of our previous shows with a good girlfriend of hers, Lisa, for a moms club they were involved with called Moms Like Me. Jessica began hearing what Dana was going through and they bonded as Jessica had recently lost her own mother to breast cancer.
Jessica and I drove to Woodland Hills today to go to the Mormon church that Dana had been going to since she was a child. It was a really lovely funeral. The Bishop that led the funeral had known Dana since they were children. He said they used to play Barbies together.
Dana’s friend and family members spoke so eloquently of her.
Dana’s mother, Cela, whom looks so much like Dana, even mentioned Dana performing in the play. Because at the time I knew she was sick but Dana never let you know how sick or maybe her positive nature just made you think she was healthier then she was.
The Bishop wrapped up the funeral and said even though Dana had essentially been dealt a very hard deck of cards in life, she was determined to stay optimistic.
In the last six months of her life Dana made it to a Pat Benetar concert and a concert by Venice. She wanted the song “The Family Tree” by Venice played at her funeral and so it was.
Dana has amazed me. Last night we kept our kids up late, I let the youngest eat from a box of cookies as we had a little dance party. Dana’s friends had mentioned that kids loved being at her house because anything went. Last night I let a bit of that spirit into our home. I slow danced with my 2 year-old boy and that’s when I finally cried for Dana.
Dana leaves behind her three children, between the ages of 13 and 6. It is incomprehensible to me to have leave your children at such a young age. Dana’s mom told us Dana admitted to her just last month that she never thought she would actually die from breast cancer. Her mother said, that is how unwavering her positive outlook on life was because she battled breast cancer for 5 years while going through a divorce with three young kids.
There was a big wooden board with the a quote on in that really brought home what Dana stands for in my mind. It read:
Life is not about learning to survive the storm, but rather learning how to dance in the rain.