Thank you all for being here today to celebrate Alli. As I look around the church today, and it’s easy to see, just how much Alli was loved by so many people, and how much she loved others. To me, Allison was not just my cousin. She was as close as a best friend, like a sister, a role model, a warm and comforting soul, and always an excellent partner in crime.
There are so many amazing memories growing up with Alli. Although we didn’t live in the same town growing up, our time together was always fun. Easter weekends in Yakima and fun visits in the summer when she lived in Vancouver… and all the little things like admiring her pencil collection and her cool clothes. I felt like I won the lottery when I got her hand-me-downs as a kid. I looked up to her more than she probably ever knew. Even though we are 5 years apart in age, it never felt like it.
I always felt lucky to spend time with Allison. I remember when I was in college and she would travel to Yakima for work and she would always make a point to come and see me at Central, or have me come and meet her for dinner in Yakima at her favorite Mexican restaurant. A 2-hour dinner would fly by in what felt like 2 minutes.
As the years went by, we continued to have countless laughs and share moments together that will always be in my mind. LOTS of inside jokes. Tears. The ups and downs of parenting… mostly the ups. Work. Dave Matthews Band. The joys of life. Our husbands. Golfing. Our husbands going golfing. Traveling. Food. And how much family meant to us. I’ll never forget how much she glowed the day she married Barrett… and again when she became a mom.
We got to stop and see Alli a few weeks before she passed and she really wanted to sleep that day and at one point I kind of laughed to myself. It could have been from the meds, or that she was really not feeling well that day… or the fact, as most of you know, that Alli just enjoyed sleeping and maybe she was taking advantage of it. But what I remember most is when she woke up and saw Josh and me, she had that classic Alli look of surprise… ”hello special friend”. I wished I could have recorded her saying those words. That was our special greeting to each other for many years…. what I wouldn’t give to hear “hellooooo special friend” just one more time.
If there is one thing Alli would want, is for all of us to continue living life by being brave. I thank you all again for being a part of Alli’s celebration. I will end by saying this… ”How lucky I am to have known someone who was so hard to say goodbye to.”
Alli – wherever you are today, you are forever in my heart, and always on my mind.
My name is Taylor. I am Allison’s youngest niece. I am last in line after my brother Zach, cousin Jessica and cousin Tyler. It must have been an adjustment for Aunt Alli, to once be considered the baby of the family, to then suddenly having 4 little ones running around, all of us under the age of 4. She loved us as a group, but she also went out of her way of showing us love as individuals. She always supported all of us in everything we did growing up, even when she lived a couple hours away, she always made sure to be there for every major moment in our lives. Some of the best times we would have as a family were going up to visit her. We spent time shopping in Seattle, eating at her favorite restaurants, and going to a few Mariner games. We also had an abundant of family games that we all played together. From SkipBo, Phase 10, and BUNCO, to our recent favorites of Quarkle and the 4-5-6 dice game. Our family group texting chats were filled with funny pictures or videos, a lot of bickering, and lots of pictures that she took of Barrett sleeping in random places.
I was lucky enough to be included on their trips to Disneyland the last couple of years. There was never a dull moment between running around to the different rides, running to get fast pass tickets, and running to Starbucks for an afternoon fix. We spent a lot of our time waiting in the lines figuring out what faces we should make for the camera next, even when we knew that Malena would be the only one screaming. We both always dreaded going on the water rides, but by the time they were over, we were all laughing until our stomachs hurt.
The last trip we took was to Couerdlane Idaho last August. We had went shopping the day before, so Alli was looking up places for us to go and she found that Post Falls Idaho had a cute downtown area that we could walk around in. So we all hopped in our car and she was the copilot giving my mom the directions. We took the exit to Post Falls, and stayed on the same two-road lane for a couple miles, and then a couple more miles. It didn’t look like there was anything that resembled a downtown area coming up, but she insisted it was just a little bit longer. Eventually we turned into a gas station so she could ask for directions. While waiting, we discovered that we might have been in the downtown Post Falls area because next to the gas station was a liquor store and smoke shop. And across the street was a “gentlemen’s” club. We would have stayed and enjoyed all that Post Falls had to offer, but we had Malena with us and we didn’t think she was ready for that yet. When she came out of the gas station she told us, “the cashier had no idea what I was talking about and someone uploaded pictures from a different downtown area. We are in the wrong place.”
Aunt Alli was a person who always put others needs in front of her own. Even when she was feeling down or not in the best health, she still lead the way for creating Happy Mail campaigns to whoever needed it no matter where they were. She was always there for every major moment in my life, and the lives of my cousins and brother. She was at every appointment and every day of surgery when my mom was going through breast cancer, so I wanted to show her just how much I appreciated her. We once had a passing conversation about Broadway shows that we would love to see, and we both said how much we would love to see Hamilton. It was a couple months later when I saw that the show was coming to Seattle, and I thought that it must be fate. I did everything I could to get just two tickets. It ended up taking a couple hours, during a work day, but I finally made it through. I decided to keep it a secret from her, and gave the ticket to her as a Christmas present. I remember being so nervous, not knowing if she had already gotten tickets. I don’t know if I can even explain the look of excitement that came over her face. She was jumping up and down, screaming, and looking at me like “this better not be a joke.” March 17, 2018 turned out to be one of them best days of my life. We had a lunch of fish and chips with some of our favorite cider. Then, did a little shopping at American Eagle. We talked about our favorite songs from the show and which parts we were most anxious to see. We also joked that we were both definitely ready to go up on stage if they needed us to fill in for anyone. Finally, we made it to the show, with our seats near the very top, but we could still see the stage. There was one point during the show, when I look over at Alli, and she is napping. I could not believe it! I then knew what she must have felt like when Barrett fell asleep at the Michael Buble concert. So I did what she did, I subtly moved by body, to make it look like we were just strangers just sitting next to each other. She woke up a few minutes later, and neither of us ever talked about it, and I promised myself that I would never let anyone know that she had fallen asleep because I knew that she would never live that down especially after all the times she took pictures of any us sleeping at random times.
I don’t know how there can be a world without Aunt Alli in it. She was someone who was so happy to see you whenever you hadn’t seen each other in a while. Her smile and laughter could light up a room, and make you smile and laugh right a long with her. I don’t know if there will every be a time that I won’t wait to hear her greet me as “hey sister” or when she would wake up with the mornings and come downstairs and tell us all that she knows that we are jealous of how her hair looks, but she just can’t help that she woke up like that. I’ll miss her hugs, and when she’d ask if you were ready for another cider, even when you’re only halfway through your first one. There has been a constant ache in my heart since you’ve been gone, but I know that you’ll always be watching over us. You are the best aunt anyone could ever ask for. I love you and I miss you. I can’t wait to see you again.
My name is Kim Fogo, I am Alli’s sister, technically I am her sister in law but she did not like to use the word in-law.
Our Amazing Alli. She ROCKED this world at a very young age and continued to WOW us more and more each year! I was blessed to have been part of her story for the last 30+ years, and grateful for the wonderful memories.
I would like to share some of those with you:
Renting houses with the family so we could all be together. Places included
Lincoln City and Bend Oregon, Seabrook, and most recently Coeur d’alene. This normally meant the guys golfing and the girls shopping or out and about on adventures. At night we most likely would be celebrating one or more family members birthday with a special dinner, cake, and ice cream. We would play
family games, including Qwirkle, which quickly became a family favorite.
Our many pinochle games, with you as my partner. We weren’t gracious winners and of course we were poor losers.
Our twice a year trip to Emerald Downs for the horse races; Memorial Day weekend to welcome the start of summer and Labor Day weekend to say good-bye to summer. We usually picked the horses by name, color, number, and/ or the statistics Malena gave on each one.
Trips to Vegas and Disneyland, many concerts, Mama Mia the play and movie a few times. Mariner games. Camping when we had our tent trailer and summers you would come to Hoquiam and babysit Zach and Taylor while we worked.
I’m pretty sure a lot of you did not know this but we are a pretty musical family. Us girls, could burst out in song pretty much anywhere and anytime. We could sing, just ask us. Some of our favorites include: Shania Twain tunes, Neil Diamond – Sweet Caroline, Sister Goldenhair Surprise, The Rose, “Once, Twice, Three times a lady” and of course Meatloaf – Paradise by the dashboard light.
Our yearly Bunco Fundraiser for “Cancer Can Suck It team”.
Simply sharing a Box of Hot Tamales together – thank goodness those were gluten free.
You were one of my biggest fans when I walked the 3 day Komen this last year. How you welcomed me, with your house decorated in pink. You made sure I got to the site each day. Showing up at the cheering sections with signs, my favorite coffee, and a lot of cheering. You painted me as the Hero that weekend – no Alli you were the HERO.
Thankful for your Blog - Alli’s Equillibrium. I referred to this at times as my therapy site and/ or at times as my attitude adjustment site! You had a way to know how to put things into perspective
There was never a dull moment when it came to her stories. One of my favorites that we had shared recently at one of her hospital stays. When she worked at Michael’s in Bellingham and Canadians would come shopping. They would ask you about the exchange rate and you would say we don’t do that here, we just round up. That worked for a while until one of them wanted to speak to a manager. You could not figure out what their issue was on this. For some reason anyone but Barrett could bring this story up.
There are a lot more memories and stories that I will always cherish. Alli loved to celebrate milestones, but she even loved to celebrate the little things even more. This was especially true with Barrett and Malena. Our Family won the lottery when she met and married Barrett also known as “Hook”. You see in our family if you get a nickname that pretty much means – you are pretty special. I’m not sure if Hook is because of his golf game or if it’s because Alli hooked him!
We also got a pretty sweet niece – Malena who is a yummy chef, crafter, organized, can swim like a fish, a beautiful cheerleader, and most of all a perfect host of the best New Year’s Eve party ever.
Alli was an amazing aunt to her nieces and nephews (Zach, Jess, Ty, Tay, Reese, and her great nephews Dro and Harper Dean). She was present in their lives and had a special relationship with each and every one of them.
Alli was brave, amazed, and inspired so many people. I’m not sure if she even realized how many people’s lives she touched and made their day a little brighter.
She orchestrated the Happy Mail Campaign that was HUGE success. Making sure people who were fighting their own fight, was blessed with GOOD VIBES and lots of MOJO. This included mail and sometimes small gifts from people all over, just letting them know that others cared and were rooting for them. I was a recipient of her Happy Mail and it was unbelievable and all the love you felt. Alli, sent me one which included a singing telegram in person that was delivered by Alli’s own Dad.
Alli was the most thoughtful and kindest person you will know. Alli believed everyone should be kind and she practiced what she preached. Always making sure YOU were ok; she would send a text, a card in the mail which usually included a Starbucks card, or a phone call just to make sure all is good and that she was thinking about you. She was always doing acts of kindness. I loved hearing and seeing these and there were so many.
Alli is a person that made a huge impact on each and every person she knew. Our hearts were shattered on New Year’s Day, as the day Alli chose to lay down her gloves. This day will always bring sadness, however it will now be known as the Amazing Alli Day! A holiday for everyone and you can have the day off.
I am choosing to honor and celebrate Alli and remembering her as the fighter she was. We can honor Alli everyday as there are two simple things Alli would want – Apply your sunscreen and be kind!
Alli, I love you, miss you and you will forever be in my heart.
Shalom ……. That’s how Alli and I would great each other.
For those of you who don’t know I am Allison’s sister Denise…..AKA Nerd
Years ago, Allison gave me this little wooden block the simply says ‘How do people make it through life without a sister’ and for the last 26 days and for all my days to come I will be trying to figure that out.
I don’t have to tell any of you that she was simply the best, because you already know that and that’s why you are all here today. She touched your life and left you with sunshine, but for us she was the sun that we rotated around.
Steve and I were nearly 13 and 9 when this blond haired blue-eyed little girl came into our lives. Being older we got to color, play Candyland, and play hide and seek all over again. She was 5 when I learned her silence could be bought with a box of crayons and a new coloring book as one weekend I had a wee bit of a gathering when the parental team was away. She never did squeal on me, but yes, they did find out. Living in Yakima at the time summers were all about running through the sprinkler and camping out in the back yard. She grew older and our fun times continued like riding our bikes to Dairy Queen for a Dilly Bar or me driving us out to the park to go feed the ducks.
She must have been in college doing her environmental studies when she found her passion for saving the Earth through recycling. She beat me into submission and today I can recycle with the best of them. She has this print in her office of a little girl feeding whales who are lined up for a treat, that print always reminds me of that wide-eyed college graduate who loved this world for its land, its water, its animals and its humans.
As the years went by we continued to hang out and have laughs as often as possible. Allison was my maid of honor, twice, and I was hers when we gained Barrett. We always have so much fun together. One year she, Jess and I went on a New York City adventure and a few years later the three of us plus Mom and Malena took a trip to Waco TX the home of HGTV’s Fixer Upper.
Looking back, I can’t remember when the first happy mail campaign was or even who it was for. But what an amazing thing she started. A thought that she had to bring someone a smile was the seed and asking friends and family to assist was the sprout of this amazing happy mail vine that has woven its way around connecting people and growing into such an amazing network of givers. I know we will continue to send happy mail out into the world with a smile and the thought of her as we add the stamp, whether it be a special stamp like the Mister Rodgers stamps she was so excited about or just the simple flag one. Feel free to add a little flare to the envelope in Alli fashion…. draw a picture, use stickers or use the best thing ever…. Washi tape.
She was a fantastic aunt to Zach, Jessica, Tyler, and Taylor; always going that extra mile to send cards and care packages, getting exactly what they wanted for birthdays and Christmas, and for showing up to every single milestone she possible could. Whether it was down to Tri-Cities in the summer or over to Pullman in the middle winter when it was below zero outside. She loved all four of you fiercely... but, maybe favored the girls just a little because they drank hard ciders with her and we all know how Alli loved her hard cider.
Allison gave me a special gift over the years by letting me hang out with her and her friends from time to time. It was a win-win for me as it meant more time with her and I got to meet so many of you in this amazing group of friends that she has. Thank you all for the love you showed Alli over the years and the love and support you have and will continue to show Barrett, Malena and all of us.
Thank you all for coming here today and sharing in the Love for one amazing human being and a truly one of a kind Sister.
An amazing daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, wife, mother, aunt, cousin, coworker, boss, friend, special friend, artist, support counselor and a #1 cheerleader for any and all accomplishments.
Ummm hang on! Did I miss one. Heck, yes I did. She was an amazing human being.
Let me give you some background information from my prospective as Allison’s favorite big brother.
Can you see the Quotes “It was a dark and stormy night.” We have heard this many time from James on his first date with JoAnn. Later in the relationship came this quote. “I thinks I love ya baby, let’s go get a Pizza” His Love for pizza and JoAnn, still hold true today. I think the correct order is, JoAnn then pizza. That being said, if the food item was nachos, it may be a different story.
July 17 1975 – Allison Dana Ray was born.
As a young child, She was all smiles. A happy, curly haired fun loving kid.
While living in Yakima, that happiness was shared in the Yakima Herald newspaper. Allison and a neighborhood chum, Kim Haddocks, were walking back from school and both were caught by a newspaper photographer. The picture shows then stomping in the mud puddles with their umbrellas up and huge smiles. There were a few extra copies of the paper bought that day.
High school years at Columbia River in Vancouver, graduating in 1993. Marching band, studies and boys? I cannot comment in depth, as during these years I was out of the house.
Then came Western Washington University again studies and working at “The Bird” AKA Red Robin. A total success with a Viking College degree and many new lifelong friends. The math wizard that she was (Question mark, Question mark), came in handy when she was working at the Bird. She developed a quick and easy Canadian/US exchange rate. The math worked for her but not so much for the canucks. I never did get the math she was using, and I don’t think the Canucks did either.
Early on you could see Allison had her Dad’s work characteristics. Goal oriented – set it and excel to a mark higher than the goal that you sent for yourself.
The Hanson Years:
I believe it started at Alli’s 30th Birthday party extravaganza. Go kart racing and a short pub crawl out at Ocean Shores.
Who is this Guy and does he know what he is getting into? As far as this crazy family? There were also strict orders to James to not give him a nick name too soon. You all know James. Right Garbonzo, Precious, Mak Mak, The Viking Princess, Hook… That one is kinda strange, right Hook as early on you were slicing the golf ball!!... and there are ohhh so many more.
Looking at Barrett, I see another over achiever. He works hard to exceed the lofty goals he sent out to reach.
And a Huge “Thank You” to Barrett: for setting your Goal, to be the best husband in the world to our Alli.
OK lets breathe... in with the good, out with the bad. One more time in with good and out with bad.
Then came Malena.
Another go getter. That apple did not fall far from her mom and dad. She is one smart crafty cookie. And with our support, she too will reach her goals.
You may know now, if you hadn’t already been aware.
Allison Dana Ray Hanson
Was and will always be known as a Fighter, she fights to reach her goals and ambitions. The only limitation to her ability was that there are only 24 hours in a day. There were many times I would see a late night postings. I then got on the tweeter hooter, another James term for a Cell phone, and sent a text or comment on her blog reminding Alli bedtime is 10pm.
On the day of Alli’s passing. There was a humming bird feeder outside her window. I’m thinking its January in the Pacific Northwest... are there still humming birds around? Yep there are. A few came and slurped up throughout the day. The feeder had a ring at the pedal so a bird can sit and eat.
During Alli’s last breaths, a humming bird came back and sat at the feeder. It was not eating. It was waiting patiently, for what? Was it there to comfort us at Alli’s bed side? Was it there to help Alli? For whatever reason, I have a new reason to enjoy a humming bird. I am looking for just the right humming bird feeder for my home. It will be another reminder to me of my amazing sister.
I wanted to write this out for a long time but it was just too hard. I wanted to do it since Malena was not at an age to talk at the celebration and to make sure her and I always had this memory.
As you may know Alli collected different inspirational items that she brought with her to all of the different doctors appointments, scan results, and other things over the years. As Malena and I were preparing for Alli's burial we decided that some of those items should be with her body to know how much she meant and inspired us. Malena was instrumental in helping pick out each one we chose from the many items in Alli's collection. I wanted to share just a short thought on why we picked the out.
bravery - everything about her was brave. when it would have been easy to quit she always picked up her boxing gloves for another fight to spend every day possible with all of us.
friendship - as much as she meant to all of you, you meant as much to her. she cherished every friendship and doing everything she could to put smiles on your faces always put a smile on her face.
luck - as much as we miss her everyday we were lucky to get the time with her and with each other as a family. without that luck we wouldn't have the most amazing daughter in the world.
love & a heart - the love we shared as a family should always be with her. and as hearts always had a way of finding her we wanted her to have one for eternity as a symbol of our love.
Finally, we chose a unicorn... I mean who wouldn't plus she really was a mythical person that will live on in all of our hearts and stories forever.
i struggled with what to say today. i stared at a blank screen trying to write this out seemingly every day. how do you describe someone that was your everything? that you shared every laugh with and every tear with. that you brought the most special girl into this world with and had the hanson tickle fights on the couch with. which always seemed to turn into malena and i versus alli and which i will admit now may not have been a fair fight like i told her it was.
how do you describe the person you knew was the one from the very beginning? who you were essentially inseparable with from day one. where there were fireworks, literally and figuratively, exploding overhead when we kissed on one of our very first dates… granted it was the 4th of july so i may have had the deck stacked in my favor on that one.
there isn’t just one story that i can tell that describes her because it was every story that made her who she was. she cared about every person and every story. that so many of you are here today is a testament to that. she was the kindest, most selfless, most loving person i have ever known. i have and will continue to love and miss her every day and i was truly the luckiest man in the world to be her husband.
now i have a request. alli strived to bring more happiness into this world every single day. she would want all of us to help now in keeping that going. as everyone who has seen one of her out of office message at work knows, it takes an entire, gigantic team of people to do all that she did. i’m asking all of you to be that team. be a part of a happy mail campaign for someone that needs a smile; leave a candy bar to brighten a person’s day, buy that random person in line behind you a coffee, smile and ask someone how their day is going to make sure they know that people care about them. keep all those things that she did for people going. you all know she would do the same for you.
Thank you to all of you that have sent in their stories with Alli. I'm going to post the eulogies from the family at the celebration of life first then post all the great stories that people have sent it. To keep this on a more regular schedule I'm going to try and post 1 or 2 a week moving forward. If you haven't had a chance to email me a story but wanted to please still email it in. The email address again is Alli_Celebration@comcast.net.
One of Alli's friends, Tracy, started a facebook page to keep the Happy Mail campaigns going. Please see her message below and sign up to help sending smiles around to make the world a happier place.
"In honor of Alli, please join Happy Mail Campaigns to keep her joy and love of life flowing. A facebook page has been created...https://www.facebook.com/happymailcampaigns and a couple of campaigns have already been initiated.
The page is off to a good start, but Alli's army is huge, and we need help getting the word out far and wide so Alli's magical happy mail is a success.
Please spread the word to family, friends, Alli's fans and any kindhearted person you know to like the page and to sign up for campaigns whenever possible. If not on Facebook, e-mail HappyMailCampaigns@comcast.net .
Campaign details will be sent via e-mail, messenger, etc...no contact information will be posted publicly.
Sending a happy thoughts out into the world only takes a second and doesn't have to cost much...in fact, it can be free if you send an e-mail :)...Alli wanted to good vibes and mojo to flow, so let's be Alli's helpers and do this in homage to her."
It still seems so surreal. Like she has been on a vacation and should be walking through the door anytime now to give Malena and I a hug and a kiss. We have had some rough spots and some smiles as we take things day by day. I have gone to write a blog a couple times but I just can't seem to get my fingers to type what is going through my head. I'm sure part of that is that it does seem surreal, like a bad dream I should be waking up from, but if I write it down then it has happened. I keep thinking back to a blog Alli wrote long ago where she said something to the effect of its okay you don't know what to say I don't either. I'm sure I will get my fingers to type in the coming time, they just don't know what to say yet.
I did want to share one detail with all of you about the celebration of life. Alli meant so much to so many people and you all meant so much to her. I want people to be able to share their stories of her; of all the nice things and inspiration she provided; of the interactions she had with people; of the amazing person she was from growing up, to school, to work... just everything in life. At an attempt of levity... although it might not be too far off... the challenge is we might be there for a week or longer if everyone she did a nice things for came up to say something. So at the celebration of life it will only be family speaking at the service but I still want people to be able to share and more importantly I want Malena to know all those stories people have with Alli and what she meant to everyone.
The best solution I have to solve that challenge is to use this platform for sharing. In lieu of opening up the mic, I am going to open up the blog. If you have a story, an inspiration, a nice thing she did, etc that you wanted to share please email to Alli_Celebration@comcast.net. Include the blog title as well as the write-up with any pictures and I will start posting them here after the celebration of life. It doesn’t matter if they are short or long, as long as they are genuine that is what matters.
I want Malena to be able to read about Alli, her stories, and her inspiration to others. When she has a bad day as a teenager or she has a milestone in her future that she wants to celebrate; I want her to be able to read about her mom if she thinks that will make her day better or to celebrate an accomplishment that much more. I always hear that we are telling our kids as a warning that what you but out on the internet lives forever. I hope that comes that is true for this. d