Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Just Joan"

How do I type I sit, fingers poised and I don't know where to start. Some people are lucky enough to have a once-in-a-lifetime friend who touches your soul and shares all your deep, dark secrets, who loves you no matter what. My best friend, my confidante, my partner in crime, the girl who I grew up with from the age of 12 and has been my constant much so that some people have said "you 2 are joined at the hip!", is such a person in my life. She has been a part of my extended family's life for 37 years and they have all been touched by her joy for life, her gregarious spirit and her passion for her family and her friends.

So here I sit, Sunday morning, knowing that tomorrow morning her life support machine is going to be turned off and that will be more coffee pop-ins, no more sharing our hopes and fears and just plain silliness.

Joan was the person that my Dad gave his trip to when he was too unwell to go, just a short 6 months ago. He was so pleased that he could do it as he absolutely knew how much she would enjoy it and he felt she really deserved a wonderful holiday with myself, my husband, my Mum and my Auntie and Uncle. Dad would call her "Just Joan" or "Joanie", she was his 2nd daughter.

Three and a half years ago she beat breast cancer. Two mornings ago (Friday 28th Nov), she suffered a heart attack and consequently a stroke starved her brain of oxygen for 20 minutes. Her wonderful husband found her and he and their 17 year old son performed CPR until the ambulance arrived. The Doctor said "catastrophic brain damage" yesterday when we went in for a meeting with them.

So she'll forever be 49 years old and we are all totally shell-shocked and devastated to be losing such a huge part of our lives. Her husband and children will need to be so very strong to get through this. I feel like I have lost a huge part of me and I grieve for what will never be, us growing old and crotchety together.

At least I can be of some practical help for Michael with the funeral arrangements, having done it only 2 months ago for my Dad. Life's such a bitch sometimes and it makes you wonder at the fairness of it all. A stupid Aussie quote keeps popping into my head from years ago, think it was Austentayshus (sp?) that said it....."how much can a Koala Bear?". Not too much more I can tell you.

Of course, you go on, for family and friends and to help keep the memory of a true soul friend alive. I sit here again for minutes, wondering if I should push "publish post", but I just can't pretend that all that happens in my private world does not affect everything I do here. Celebrate your friendships, things can change in an instant, love, friendship and companionship with others around you is everything.

Love you Joan, forever and ever.


Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear about your losses. I hope that you can all help each other through this incredibly difficult time; know that we are sending love and good thoughts and sympathy your way.

Vicki Holdwick said...


Life is definitely unfair. I feel your pain having just lost a younger brother not too long ago myself.

Know that my thoughts are with you through this trying time.

It is good of you to share this to remind everyone to enjoy each day they have with family and loved ones, because there are surely no guarantees in this life.

Jacky said...

Kelsey, I am so glad you pressed "publish". Such a sad, sad day.
I was lucky enough to meet your dear friend Joan at that art retreat in Busselton, and even luckier to be the recipient of her beautiful bookmark, which is still pinned up on my art board (to remember that wonderful time I had).
I will light a candle for Joan today and send a soft, warm hug your way. Friends are precious.

Jacky xox

Sulea said...

Kelsey, I'm so sorry to hear about the precious loss of your best friend. How wonderful it was that you had such a wonderful friend since 12 years old. i sincerely hope family and loved ones will be together in support during the grieving process. It is never easy. Thinking of you.

lots of love

Linda Cain said...

I can only send you hugs across the waves, and hope for better tomorrows. Truly great friends are precious and few. Be thankful you had the very best in Joan. Many will never know how that feels.

Your Friend in ART,


Sharon Manning said...

My heart is aching for you Kelsey, having lost your father only recently life seems very unfair at times. Remember the good times with Joan especially that wonderful cruise/holiday you were lucky enough to share. My thoughts will be with you in the coming days. Take care of yourself.
Sharon xo

Sam Marshall said...

Oh Kelsey,
It's devastating to hear this sad news. My love and warmest wishes are with you at this difficult time. You are lucky to have had the opportunity to have someone so special in your life.

Shelly said...

Dearest Kelsey,
I started this comment five times already and am just at a loss for words. I remember reading your original post when your father gave his spot on the cruise to Joan and thought, "Kelsey is one lucky girl. She knows love that so many people in their lifetimes never get even to experience for a day." My heart breaks for you and Joan's family. Many, many prayers across the miles for you all.

Natalie B said...

Hi Kelsey

I'm so glad you pressed publish post, as your words are so beautiful and the pictures even more so. When I finished reading this post, I wept and still am. tears running down my face. Kelsey, I so wish I could express myself as well as you do, but just know that you and Joan, have both touched so many people with your kindness and love. You are both so lucky to have had such a fantastic bond for so long and those memories will never fade.I cannot even begin to know how hard this must be, for you and yours and Joan's family. I am sending much love and hugs your way.

You can see the love you have for each other in these beautiful photos.

Natalie and family xx00

Anonymous said...

Kelsey my thoughts are with you and I to am glad that you pushed publish because it makes me realise just how quickly life can send one a curve ball.
Hugs and prayers go to you and Joan's family.
Caryl k

Sherry Goodloe said...

i have followed your posts before your dad was hospitalized, and even though we have never spoken one word out loud to one another, please know that my heart is very heavy tonight as i read this news about your beautiful friend.

i too will light a candle for "just joan" tonight, and will keep you in my prayers Kelsey.

cyber hugs and kisses to you

carmen said...

You must feel like in a daze.I can't get myself to really imagine what you are going through.
All I lend up doing, is to think about my own best friend and that just scares me. I'm so very very sorry.
Sending you Love

Anonymous said...

oh kelsey...i'm sorry to hear about your dear friend...i know this will be a difficult time for those who loved her and i'm confident that you and her family will be in the thoughts and prayers of people all over the world, people neither of you may have ever even known...thank you for sharing your's always good to be reminded to love those dearest to us for no one is guaranteed tomorrow ♥♥♥

Jenxo said...

Kelsey, i am so sorry to hear about your Joan.

My heart goes out to you and to her family too.

Hugs jenxo

Dot said...

Dear Kelsey

Thankyou for being so brave to press publish. And to share what has been happening over the last few days.

The photo's of you and Joan show the strong love between you.

I cannot comprehend the pain you are going through ; and will go through after Joan's life support is turned off tomorrow.

I remember you sharing how Joan came to go on your holiday rather than your dad. And thought it was so special of your dad to suggest this. Maybe he knew ; in some way ; that this was the last trip she would take.

I hope in time the happy memories of that trip override the grief you are feeling.

To have lost your dad and soon to have lost your soul sister in such a short period of time is tragic.

My heart goes out to you and I send you lots of love.

I know that Joan would have treasured all the times ; in the last 37 years ; that you spent together.

When I met Joan at two of the camps at Busselton I was struck by her brave spirit. I could tell she had been through a lot in her life. And was a very special person.

Am so pleased I got to meet her.

She will be forever in your heart and I know she will be watching down over you for the rest of her life.

I know you will provide lots of comfort to Joan's family and they to you.

Take good care.

Dot xx

Lady Di said...

Kelsey, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. It's fantastic that you had such an amazing friend that you could share so much with in the time that you had together. If special thoughts can brighten up your days and help to cheer you, then please remember day by day, warm thoughts from all of us are always near you. Sending you a big hug,

Jen Crossley said...

Dear Kelsey,
My heart goes out to you,dear Joan sounded like such a wonderful best friend,you were lucky that you both got to share so much even if it has been cut untimely short.
Im thinking of you dear kelsey
I know it must of been a hard post to write

Jen Crossley said...

And Kelsey Life is a bitch
Hugs to you

Sarah Schwerin said...

Oh god Kelsey. I am so sorry to hear this devastating news. Especially so soon after your dad. Life sure does suck sometimes. You were lucky to have her as part of your life - she sounds like a lovely person and I'm sure she will be sorely missed. My thoughts are with you and her family. On a brighter side (if there could possibly be one) you will now have 2 guardian angels looking after you. :)
Take care, and let me know if there is anything I can do for you. :)

Cathy Wegner said...

I'm so sorry to hear of this practically on the heels of your father's death. Life is so hard to understand. You and her family are in my prayers.

Willow said...

I am so very sorry for your losses...I have always been a lurking fan of yours and remember how impressed I was when your Dad gave his trip to Joan...but why wouldn't he...she was like a daughter to him...silly me...I too believe that somewhere, somehow he new you two needed this trip together!!! My prayers and thoughts are with you and with all who knew and loved Joanie!! Hugs, Willow
p.s. In time, you will realize that she will be looking down on you laughing as you age and get crotchety and she stays as beautiful as you remember her!!!

Pam said...

This is such a difficult issue to deal with and my heart is with you during this trying time. You are so lucky to have been JUST JOAN'S best friend all through the years. She'll surely be watching over you, laughing at you, crying with you from her place when she transitions to the next world. Joan and your Dad will be comparing notes. I am saying a prayer for a friend for 49 days and will add Just Joan to my prayer. Just Joan will live forever in your memory.

Michelle said...

So sorry

Anonymous said...

Kelsey, I don't really know what to say as I have no words to even come close to expressing what you must be going through. Know that you are in my thoughts, more so now than ever before.

Joan was such a light to all who knew her and I was privilaged enough to share camp life with both of you - crazy memories that will be forever treasured.

So often we take for granted the beautiful people we are lucky enough to call friends and forget to let them know just what they mean to us. Kelsey - thank you for being my friend.

Love always

Julie van Oosten said...

Kelsey, I am so sorry that you have lost your dearest friend and soul sister, you have been through so much heartache and now your best friend. You are such a beautiful girl and even though I don't know Joan I am sure she is a wonderful lady and friend with a beautiful spirit, just like you. I am so glad you had that wonderful trip together and keep those cherished moments. You are in our thoughts Kelsey, Julie & Tad

Barb Conroy said...

My thoughts are with you at this trying time.
I can only imagine your loss.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts are with you.Now that holiday has a very special meaning and maybe your father knew something too.

France said...

Oh Dear Lord...
My poor little Koala!!!

My thoughts are with you, your family and hers.

Anonymous said...

thinking of you at this impossibly difficult are an awesome woman with and emmense creative spirit.use your sprirt and our love to help you at this time.
xxoo louisa

Susan Sager Brown said...

I lost my breath when I read this post. I have a Joan, too. Her name is Grace and I can't imagine life without her.
I "want a word" . I just don't know how to express my sorrow at the events in your life recently.
wishing you great love and great healing

Bevlea said...

Dear Kelsey,

I admire you beyond words that you can share something so personal painful. I wish I was more 'like' you instead of hugging the pain of loss to yourself you laud her out loud.

What an amazing friend you are. I cant help thinking too that the world moves in truly mysterious ways. Your father gave his ticket to Joan and you had a truly memorable time together in her last few months. A time that would have been special to her, and you will remember forever. Bless Joan, your father, and all those we have lost.

michelle ward said...

Oh honey - I wish you were spared from reliving this kind of pain. I am thinking how cool it was for you to have your huge soul-sister-friend trip together. What a treasure, and so much more meaningful now. Who knew? I'm sure God did. By sharing this loss you honor her, and your friendship, and shout out that she mattered. Sending you love and hugs.

Chris said...

Kelsey, I was so sorry to hear about this, and I've already corresponded with you, but I wanted to say here that it does matter that you share with us about Joan and all that her life means in yours.
Remember to be good to yourself as Joan would be good to you.

Lorri said...

What can I say, that hasn't been said already? - I cannot begin to comprehend your loss. Look inside for that strength (It is there) - draw, paint, create, make art loudly and express all those feelings. Thank you for sharing with us all.
Sending you love and light xo

Anonymous said...

Kelsey, you have so much support, seen and unseen. Thankyou for writing this, and taking your fingers for a walk over your heart today.

Judy said...


This is the second time I have read your blog and i grieve for you,to lose a friend like that is catastrophic.

Jane said...

Oh Kelsey, I do feel for your loss, gosh I don't know where I would be if I lost my soul friend!! I don't want to even think about it. We must treasure each and every day. Thank you so much for sharing, it truly makes us realise how precious life is.

Take care, you have two angels watching over you now.


AimeeInOhio said...

I am so sorry to read of your losses. Your friend was beautiful, and we can tell how much you love her.

Will be thinking of you, and her family.

Sarah said...

I am so sorry to hear of your loss.. I dont have words to help heal your pain, just wishes that your pain and grief eases soon.. Thinking of you (((HUGS)))

I need orange said...

I am so sorry for your loss.

It seems so hard to find the balance between being terrified of all the bad things that might happen, and yet appreciating every minute we have with those we love.

It sounds like you did a good job of the appreciating.....

Colette said...

So very sad.