Friday, May 4, 2007

Dear Joann

When I saw the subject line of the message, "Remembering Joann Peterson", my heart sank.  I knew it meant no more hearing her voice, seeing her delicious smile, walking down the pathway beside her, talking with her again.  Then I started reflecting on all the ways Joann has touched my life since I met her over 20 years ago.  And I believe she will always be here. It's a very long "list".  I have been sad for myself that I won't see Joann again in this life.  I am glad that hers was a journey of growth and learning.  I am sad that she had so much pain in her life.  I feel so very blessed that she chose to use and share her life experiences to help me stay alive and to live the happy life I now have.

 

In thinking back, I realize that as she was guiding, nudging, nurturing, she too was learning, experimenting, growing – the suggestions she offered in programs and to me about how to be in the world she tried out for herself, too.  And I take great delight in remembering her over the years and seeing her grow into her beauty.

 

I attended Anger, Boundaries and Safety last August, when Joann was still in hospital after surgery.  As I have been thinking about what I learned, I marvel at how beautifully designed this program is - elegant, concise, graceful and to-the-point – just like Joann.  And it seemed to me that it was created without ego.  Without her there, Wendy, Jan and Greg were able to step into her shoes and carry on superbly.

 

When I was a beginning intern, striving so hard to be perfect and definitely not achieving, she once asked me "Who do you not get along with most, men or women?"  Affronted, it took me a while to realize the answer was both, at which point knew I had to make an attitude adjustment or two.

I am so appreciative of her professional knowledge and experience that she shared in her role as intern educator - her no-nonsense, principled, approach; her attention to detail.

 

When I first started coming to The Haven, I wore sweatsuit outfits a lot and saw myself as awkward and ungainly.  I started to notice Joann make shifts in how she presented herself, notice how women, and men,  I liked looking at presented themselves.  And started to think that I, too, was worthy of coming forward and presenting myself with confidence.  I made adjustments to my style, and one day Joann said how graceful she thought I looked, when I didn't see myself that way.  I realized that I too could notice positive things about myself. 

 

A few years ago, after Joann had back surgery, she started using a cane.  I remarked one day that I thought the one she was carrying was very attractive.  Her reply:  "If I have to have a cane, I want a sexy one."  Fabulous!

 

When my friend, who later became my husband, first attended a Come Alive with me a few years ago, I was so delighted that she saw the same wonderful person I did and welcomed him with open arms.  She knew that I was really "bringing him home to meet the folks."  And her gentle guidance was a very positive influence in our relationship

 

Joann helped me realize that to be myself, I must look to myself and not outside – she modeled an embrace of living and of growing older – that the wisest way is to live fully and authentically, not be afraid to take risks.

 

Direct, insightful, wise, crone energy, humour, masterful -  you lived your life with dignity.

 

Joann,

a blade of grass,

dancing jauntily in the breeze,

bending in the wind,

resilient,

not broken by passing storms,

now planted in a different meadow.

 

With a warm feeling in my heart,

 

Lynn (Parmenter) Nixon

2 Comments:

Blogger Valerie said...

Oh would that I could make contact with Lynn (Parmenter) Nixon. She was such a lovely friend in high school in Montreal. Please look at your facebook page Lynn - I have posted a message to which you can reply.
love
Valerie (Mance) Kerr

April 7, 2012 at 8:45 AM  
Blogger Valerie said...

Oh would that I could make contact with Lynn (Parmenter) Nixon. She was such a lovely friend in high school in Montreal. Please look at your facebook page Lynn - I have posted a message to which you can reply.
love
Valerie (Mance) Kerr

April 7, 2012 at 8:46 AM  

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