A Christmas toast to Joanie…

She had a smile which would warm even the coldest heart. She was the rarest of gems. Her light filled soul brought joy to all who knew her. The love which she gave away so freely, flowed from the deepest part of her soul – the place where only God resides.

Joan Mary Franciose Powers – beloved wife, mother, sister, aunt and grandmother is rejoicing among the angels and saints this Christmas, a beautiful sight to behold in our minds. But in reality, for all of us, someone so important, so cherished, so deeply loved is missing among our Christmas celebration.

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She would not want us to mourn for her, she would not want us to cry, but perhaps she would be okay if we reflected upon her goodness for just a moment before we indulge in our Christmas meal which she made so special with her signature style and flair, as we gathered around her table each year on her beloved Cape Cod.

Over the past few months I have written a lot about the many gifts and heroic virtues of our beloved Joanie. Some may ask why and really – there is only one reason. Two days before she entered hospice, on the night I returned from Ireland with Grace – I entered her bedroom at midnight. She looked at me with her beautiful brown eyes and smiled “Hi Ging – I’ve missed you.” she said. We talked for a minute and then she said so clearly “We never did get to write our book – you have to do it.”  “What do you want me to write about?” I asked. “Tell them what a beautiful family we were.” I corrected her and said “Are – we are a beautiful family mom!” and with that, she closed her eyes.  

As I began to write back in September I realized that God had inspired mom to make this request of me because He needed someone to write about HER. Rarely in this life do we encounter a soul that is so genuinely *good, kind, loving* and willing the best in others. This was my mother and the world has much to learn from her. We are all better people because of her constant infusion of love and goodness into our lives. Our children hit the jackpot when it came to Nona – they were the recipients of her unconditional love for their entire lives – they are changed forever because of her incredible influence.

This Christmas, I would like to toast a woman who was counter cultural – who went against the tide – ignoring what others did, instead doing what she knew was right, good and honorable. She did this with her beloved Joey by her side for 52 years. Together, they were the dynamic duo. Our Catholic faith tells us that she can do infinitely more for us from heaven, than she was able to do on earth, so it is up to us to talk to and pray with her daily. She has earned the title of Saint in all of our eyes.

Merry Christmas beloved Joanie – extraordinary mother, devoted wife, outstanding Nona and constant friend.  Your light will always shine in the hearts of your beloved family who miss you every day. We dedicate our first Christmas without you to your eternal happiness with our Heavenly Father and most Blessed Mother.  Amen.

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