Friday, June 11, 2010

A Friend Passes Away

Joan T. Noll

As I have written in the past, My Dear Wife and I have the good fortune to be able to spend some of our winters in Tucson Arizona.  Though we go there to escape the cold Canadian winter, we have been able to become part of a community of faith down there at Our Lady of Fatima Parish.

We were originally exposed to the parish as we attended Sunday mass, but about a year and 1/2 ago, I took a trip to Arizona by myself for several weeks, and became more involved in the activities of the community.  I went to get some time to think, and because My Dear Wife and I were struggling with our relationship at the time. 

One thing that helps me keep things in perspective is to attend daily mass, and so even though my health was not particularly good at the time, I made daily mass my sacrifice and commitment.  I encountered a number of people there who accepted me and were kind to me during that 7 weeks.  When My Dear Wife and I returned later in the winter, they accepted us both, and we have made some good friends there.

Recently, one of those friends passed away, sadly.  Joan Noll was a member of the lay Carmelite community, sang in one of the choirs, was a lector often at daily mass, and with her husband Jimmy was present at the sacrifice of the mass each day.  In 1987, they moved from New Jersey to Arizona, largely because of Joan's health, and in her at least, the Joisey accent hung on.

Every day for 7 weeks, I sat behind them in the next pew, and watched their love for each other, and their prayer devotion, and their participation in the community.  They had been married to each other for 39 years, and nothing had diminished in all those years.  Joan was born in Garfield, NJ on December 18, 1934.  Jimmy had been a sailor in the Korean War.

I observed them daily at the sign of peace.  Jimmy would turn to her, call her Dearie and kiss her lightly but tenderly.  Their love reminded me of how much I love My Dear Wife, and helped us to weather the storm that was going on at the time for us.  Joanie prayed for us, and reached out from time to time at just the right moment.  Jimmy was her valiant sword carrier, husband, lover and best friend.

Last winter, they were not there very often, and they were missed.  Joan's health was failing, and her heart was problematic.  Still they were there in spirit, when they were unable to attend.

Joan passed away on May 24, 2010, and a Memorial Mass was held for her on June 8, 2010 at Our Lady of Fatima.

Unfortunately, we could not attend, and so we remember her in our prayers.

God Bless You, Joan.

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