This is one of those “You don’t need to read it, but I do need to write it” posts. It’s about my friend Joanne, who lost her battle with breast cancer last week. I want to write about her, how I found out she passed away and what happened to, as Joanne was famous for, make me laugh… one more time.
Joanne is the friend I recently re-connected with, who gave me her parents’ beautiful antique dining room set back in October. It was then she told me about the cancer. We had a great conversation that day and I was truly inspired by her positive outlook and, as always, her quick, sharp sense of humor.
Anyone who knew Joanne, knew this about her:
1. She was BEAUTIFUL.
2. Family was everything to her.
3. She loved her three beautiful sons more than anything.
4. After 34 years of marriage, she was still madly in love with her husband.
5. She was a FABULOUS cook.
6. She was SO FUNNY!
We had made a date to meet for breakfast, in early November. As a “thank you for the dining room set,” I bought Joanne a book, called “Dying to be Me,” by Anita Moorjani. I had heard this book was an incredible story about a woman who had a near death experience, as a result of end stage cancer. She tells about her experience in “the other realm” and how the cancer completely disappeared, when she came back. Like me, Joanne believed in miracles and I thought she would really enjoy the book.
On the day we were to have breakfast, she asked to reschedule, as she wasn’t feeling great. I took that opportunity to read the book and I’m so glad I did! Moorjani does an incredible job of explaining what “Heaven” is really like and it’s comforting to know my loved ones are in such an awesome “place.”
So yesterday afternoon, I decided to send Joanne a message on Facebook, to see how she was feeling and set a new date for breakfast. My heart sunk so low when I went to her page and saw she had passed a few days ago. My beautiful, funny friend had left before we had the chance to have breakfast together. The memorial service was in one hour, so I got busy.
I wrote a note inside the book and wrapped it up, to give to Joanne’s family. The memorial information said to dress casual and bring a picture of Joanne to the service. I didn’t have a picture, but I did have Joanne’s recipe for Penne Vodka, which she’d given me 15 years ago. So I took a picture of it, added a note saying how Joanne said she would “just whip this up when I don’t really feel like cooking, because it’s so quick and easy.” (Hahahaha! For her, it was quick and easy. For me, opening a jar is quick and easy; I made Joanne’s delicious vodka sauce for special occasions.)
I hopped in the car and zipped over to the funeral home, which was just a few minutes away. Feeling very anxious, I walked inside, knowing it would be so emotional seeing her husband, sons, sisters and all her bff’s. I took a deep breath and went inside.
Here’s how my beautiful, funny friend Joanne made me laugh, one last time… the memorial service had been the day before.
As I said at the beginning, there really is no specific point to this post. I just wanted to share my memories and love for a beautiful friend who’s gone way too soon. My thoughts and prayers to “her boys” and her bff’s. Joanne’s bright light will shine on and I have a feeling she will continue making us laugh, for many years to come.