Thursday, March 27, 2008

Joanne’s Final Letter


This will be the last posting to Joanne’s Blog. What follows is a letter that Joanne wrote to be shared with all of us at this time. I read this letter out, following the eulogy, at the prayer service on March 25th. The previous posting contains the eulogy, which includes a letter written by Gord. Also, you will find a final posting on Joanne’s book of the week blog as well. Furthermore, I have added links to Gord’s email address and Joanne’s mom’s email address to the bar on the right hand side.

We will be compiling a summary of remembrances from the blog, and other sources. We encourage you post or forward your thoughts. For those of you on Facebook, we have set up a group call "Fare Thee Well Love". We would love to have you join.

Again, on behalf of all of Joanne’s family, thank you for sharing this journey with all of us and providing your support over the past few years.

Darryl

27 March 2008


What kind of person wants to talk at their own funeral? Well for those of you who knew me at all, it won’t surprise you that I have a few things to say, and cannot miss this chance to do so. While it grieves me to leave this world “early”, I also want to express my gratitude for the wonderful life I have lived.

I have lived a life filled with love.

I grew up in a loving family, where I was supported to grow into a strong and confident person. The whole time I grew up I truly believed that my extended family all loved spending a lot of time together, and I think they did. My grandparents, aunts and uncles have been role models and loving supporters and taught me how a family should work, how to love each of us among us -- with whatever gifts or challenges each person has; and how to persevere, how to make the best of any situation. To endure whatever cannot be cured – and still feel grateful.

My parents have been generous, wise and selfless in their love and support. My sister Kelly and my brother Darryl (and their families) are all truly wonderful people who offer their companionship, friendship and support freely – without a second thought to what they receive back. I have been blessed with friends with whom I have shared great fun, a few tears, only a tiny bit of trouble, and … I’ve had an enriching career and had colleagues who extended much support and kindness.

I have had a happy marriage to a wonderful life partner, and I have experienced love expand exponentially as we were blessed with our wonderful children, Michelle, Craig and Brian.

Many of my friends and family have become fellow travelers with me on my journey with breast cancer. Over and over I have been overcome with the kindness that people show….It has been humbling to receive so much love, and this is what every bit of kindness has been.

So, although I have had a most ORDINARY life, it has been extraordinary in that I consider it so filled with love. Apart from this present problem of not living as long as I wanted and not sharing more time with all of you, I could not ask for any more of life.

I’ve seen many other ladies tell their friends or families that they would see them in butterflys or ladybugs or dragonflys, etc…. well, I’m not much for bugs, so this doesn’t appeal. I do love the sunshine, but it seems a bit of a burden to suggest you think of me every time you see that…. So, I would be content if you would simply think of me when you raise your glass to enjoy that love and time with your own friends and families….If I were around, you know I would join you with a cup of coffee or a glass of red wine.

With love and gratitude,

Joanne

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can only say that Joanne's beautiful letter is just another indication of what a beautiful person she was. I can only imagine how comforting her letter was to the family and friends who attended her funeral.

I think I am angrier about her too early passing than she is. The world truly needs people like Joanne to help make it a better place, which I know she has from the world in which I knew her... BCO.org

I wish your family peace and warmth knowing how much she loved you.

RobinWendy (my screenname on BC board)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so very much for sharing Joanne's beautiful letter along with the eulogy. You have done just a lovely job paying tribute to this awesome lady who I will always remember.

I am proud to say I met Joanne as a bc sister online. It's been said already, but I must highlight Joanne's amazing capacity to GIVE under any circumstances. Including the most challenging circumstances she lived through during recent months. When I'm having my down days, I will be thinking of Joanne and will continue to be inspired to lift my chin up and enjoy today and love my children and be good to myself -- just as Joanne would.

My heart is so heavy right now.

Olivia (aka omlivewbc)

katie11 said...

This is a truly beautiful letter written by a truly remarkable woman. I feel honoured to have known Joanne.

Love to all of the family.

Katie (katie11 bc.org)

Anonymous said...

I read through the letter and the eulogy. Everything was so beautiful. I am going to sincerly miss Joanne in this world. She was just such a special woman who is now among the angels watching down on us. It was an honor to be part of her life as a bc sister. I sure do wish I would have known her much longer.

I just can't say enough to use the proper words to extend my feelings, but do know Joanne was truly beautiful inside and out

LuAnnH (breastcancer.org)

apprentice said...

It's a beautiful letter. And Darryl and Gord's thoughts and memories are wonderful too.

I will miss her very much, but I'm grateful for the opporunity of knowing her even at a distance.

Your obvious love for one another will help in the coming days I'm sure.

Thank you for including us.

BW
Anna

Anonymous said...

A beautiful tribute and Joanne's haunting voice rings in her letter. Gord, you had me in tears.....Darryl, you gave me a smile at your memories.

It was my honor to know her the last seven years. She was generous, kind, compassionate, passionate and determined. A woman with a lesson for us all.

I send all y'all my most sincere sympathy on the loss of such a remarkable woman. My loss cannot compare to yours but please know that I will share it with you as you comfort each other through this difficult, grievous time.

And to Joanne, whereever you currently roam, know that I still remember how you loved this song. I sing it still because you taught it to me and remember you always......

The Parting Glass
Oh all the money that e'er I had, I spent it in good company
And all the harm that e'er I've done, alas, it was to none but me

And all I've done for want of wit to memory now I can't recall
So fill to me the parting glass, good night and joy be with you all

Oh all the comrades that e'er I've had, they are sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that e'er I've had, they would wish me one more day to stay
But since it falls unto my lot that I should rise and you should not
I'll gently rise and I'll softly call good night and joy be with you all

Night, swee'pea. Keep the light on fo me. :)

Luv ya ta bits.
Hopey

Anonymous said...

Wow! I would have loved to known this beautiful lady.

Jacky said...

Just missing Joanne today.

Fe said...

24 Sept 2008

Darling Jo,

I miss you. I miss you often and lots but right now I miss you more than ever.

I DO think of you whenever I raise a glass. I especially think of you whenever I spill red wine. But I also miss you when my troubles are big and my soul is aching. And I think of the wise and loving words that you would provide to me. Always.

You live on, my darling girl. And you always will.

Fe

Joan said...

Just had to check in with Joanne tonight.
I miss you girl.
xox
Joan