Joan S. Grey Lived a “Good Goodbye”

I can’t wrap my head around losing Joan Grey.

Intellectually, I knew it was coming.

I saw her a week ago, Thursday. I could tell she was fading. She told me so too. She knew she didn’t have long. She could feel her body shutting down.

But to have her really go?

2019- Joan receives yet another masters and we celebrate her awards and accomplishments

Even after she got her dire diagnosis, she made every minute of her time count. She lived the philosophy she outlined in her book Good Goodbyes: A Mortal’s Guide to Life. She wrote, “…Everyone tells you what to expect when you are expecting. No one outlines how to prepare yourself and your loved ones for dying.” Ironically, after the diagnosis, Joan lived her book for 9 months.

*All proceeds of book go to West Point Women’s Conference Endowment*

She tried chemo – and it seemed to only make the tumor mad. And bigger. She acknowledged the treatment’s futility long before another, not so well prepared, would have seen the cards on the table.

She tried positive thinking – touted by some researchers and periodicals as having astounding results.  People beat pancreatic cancer even though their odds were so stacked against them. But not Joan. She lamented, “I am trying, I am thinking positive thoughts, I believe, I visualize. I hope. I pray. What is wrong with me, why is my tumor only getting bigger?”

I thought for awhile and said, “Maybe the answer to our prayer is ‘no’. Maybe some people get more time because they have more unfinished business, or they haven’t lived as well. You have accomplished more in your lifetime thus far than most people accomplish in twice as much time. Maybe the answer is you have done well soldier – it’s time to come home.

We played this game: picking cards from Doreen Virtue’s Healing with The Angels. We would form our intentions and shuffle the cards. Then each would pick. While I got – new love, celebration and playfulness, Joan got – surrender and release, and Michael the Archangel, and finally her last card body care. The only hopeful cards Joan pulled in the whole 9 months that we played were Friendship and Divine Guidance.

Neither of us pulled the Miracle card. I found a sign “expect miracles”. Why have the miracles been missing? I wondered – and Joan said – I’ve been given miracles. I went to Colorado with the kids and grandkids, when it didn’t look like I would ever travel again. Then went to Florida, then went to West Point and finally, one more trip to Florida.

The last trip to Florida would never have been possible without the tactical and logistic genius of her husband.

Joan lived the philosophy she espoused in her book. She counted the miracles and prepared for the inevitable.

All throughout her life Joan accomplished things on the strength of pure willpower alone. She was told she would never walk again after a parachute accident in the military. She was told she could not have children. In spite of excruciating pain, through hard work and determination she walked again, and gave birth to Joan and Dan’s son, Steven. She was proud Grandma Grey (GG) to three wonderful grandchildren.

We all mourn her passing.

Doreen Virtue, Ph.D.

Joan, once again I celebrate you.  I toast all your accomplishments, listed more succinctly in your obituary in the Washington Post. But I celebrate and cherish even more the energy, the commitment, the loyalty and the love you have shared with me all these years. I shall stumble on without you, but in your honor. 

Joan, I hope the answer to all of our prayers is: the best is yet to come for you. I pray. I hope. I believe.

  1.      © Jane F. Collen  June 13, 2022™ forever following in her footsteps

15 thoughts on “Joan S. Grey Lived a “Good Goodbye”

  1. Thank you for writing this. I didn’t know Joan as well as you but I too, struggle as to the why. My husband died from pancreatic cancer in 2017. Joan was there for me when he was sick and after he passed. And the she gets the same terrible cancer. What are the odds? As I said to Dan, hopefully they have met up and are smiling down on us. Some day the answer to why will be revealed but in the meantime…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Donna – thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I worked on this for about a week — it was so hard to ‘finalize’! Joan told me about you on several occasions. She cherished your friendship. You are a kindred spirit and I’m sending you love and comfort. jane


  3. Beautifully expressed. Joan was an amazing person and her legacy lives on in all of us honored to know her, and I’m hopeful her book will bring even more people under her influence.
    Going to miss you, Joan. Thanks for the many gifts you shared with me through the years.
    Welcome home dear friend. May you Rest In Peace and Love.
    See you.

    Kay Sempel

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Jane,

    This is Ginny Franco emailing you. We met Joan’s Celebration of Life at Kris Casey’s house.

    Thank you so much for the beautiful IndesCardCure for Joan. You did a great job pointing out Joan’s best attributes. Joan will forever be in the hearts of her Namaste Sisters. I especially will miss her. She and I were in the group together the longest.

    Thanks again for giving Joan a wonderful send-off.

    Ginny Franco


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Joan was so wonderful and we are all so lucky to have known her and loved her. ❤ ❤ May she rest in the peace she so well deserves, and may she watch over us.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much for writing this – it is beautiful and captures the spirit of Joan. She was lucky to have you as a friend and partner in your many shared pursuits. I hope your memories will sustain you during this difficult time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is wonderful to read your comment! I know this is not my best written piece but it was probably the hardest to write — and the most heartfelt.


  7. Jane –

    Thank you for writing this – my heart aches . . .
    Some of my fondest memories of our time in Germany are of scout camping trips with the Grey’s. I hadn’t seen Joan in years but stayed in touch through Christmas letters – and I looked forward to every Index Card Cure update. I was heartbroken to learn of her illness – but celebrated when she wrote about her trips to see her grandchildren. I am so grateful that she had a good friend like you – I know she cherished your friendship.

    Mary Ashley

    Sent from my iPad


    • Mary – Thank you so much for writing. I remember Joan mentioning you when I met her during that time. I know she cherished your friendship too. I’m sending you a hug to help ease the pain of this loss. jane


  8. Jane. Thank you for your beautiful post. Joan definitely accomplished a lot in her life. And I am so happy she completed her book. Brendan


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