seeing joan

September 8th, 2011

On a weekend when we’re being called to have a reckoning with the memory of unspeakable ruin, I won’t say one word. I only offer this light to memorialize a friend who left last week. By this, may you see.

It was a shock, yes, the news. From nowhere, it was a wave, a blast, a shimmer. It was the sun, exploding.

It was Joan.

In the days that followed, that’s how I would recall her. That’s what I would say, “I never saw a shadow darken her face.” Joan was pure radiance, and I think she still is.

She made you think it was all about you: her pure delight at the sight of you. You might have thought you were special, even gifted. But any gift you had was what Joan had first given you. She gave you her presence and she gave you her joy. It wasn’t a pretense. She could not pretend. The fact is, you never once disappointed her.

Joan was full in the way the sun is always full. And I imagine she still is, her arms full of the whole of us, her heart wide open, her face beaming. There are so many who are sad in her absence and so she keeps shining, shining through the shadow that darkens us, the vacancy, the disbelief, until we look up and see the light, the light that is vast and uninterrupted.

It is Joan. I see her still.

Subscribe to my newsletter • Come to a retreat • Fan me • Follow me.


  1. Speechless. The sun has gone under over here a couple of hours ago – tomorrow I’ll think of Joan, of you, when it rises again.

    Comment by Roos — September 8, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

  2. How lucky you were to have each other.

    Comment by Emily — September 8, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

  3. Joan’s light will always be.

    Comment by Jim Cuvelier — September 9, 2011 @ 5:17 am

  4. Shining on you from within everything. I have no words, only I am sorry.

    Love and more love.

    Comment by wendy — September 9, 2011 @ 11:41 am

  5. wow….
    Lovely tribute to an obviously Love-ly person.

    Comment by Lin — September 9, 2011 @ 11:54 am

  6. no words… gassho…

    Comment by Maia Duerr — September 9, 2011 @ 1:47 pm

  7. My heart is with you. And Joan.

    Comment by J, Connecticut — September 10, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

archives by month