Wednesday, January 17, 2007

for Joann

As I read each of these entries, I feel closer to Joann, making it all the more difficult to believe and grasp hold of the reality that she no longer walks this earth. I haven't spoken to her or seen her for over 9 years and yet, the news hit me hard. Over that time I sent her occasional letters and email and no matter their content, I always got a beautiful reply. I treasure this correspondence.

I remember sharing a very personal photo shoot with her. I felt so beautiful and special. She admired the curve of my womanly stomach. I had never noticed it before. I think of her when I notice it today. Joann, thank you for seeing me as the woman I didn't notice I was becoming.

I remember lamenting to her of some way that I felt wronged. I don't recall her exact words but remember the experience of their sharp but loving sting. That turned out to be a powerful hour for me. "Open your eyes! Don't go away from me." Joann, thank you for your truth and willingness to be with me.

The mirror of her friends is a powerful one. I am grateful for it. I experienced her presence as one of love, pure and joyful and sexy and strong. I am glad to have been bathed in it. Thank you, Joann, for your love. I hope you rest easy in an embrace of love in this next phase.

Jennifer Hamelman Milyko
Missoula, MT


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