This is the first year since I was 12 that my friend and collaborator Joan Smith Grey did not wish me a happy birthday. In recent years I was so glad that my birthday was one week before hers. The arrival of some wonderful, fun package in the mail always reminded me it was time to get whatever I had gotten her packaged and sent!

The picture on the left was one of the last we had taken together, last September, right after Joan was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

            We had a lot of fun together over the years, and together we have weathered some stormy seas.

Here (pictured right) we are on a hydrofoil, on either side of a friend from The Academy of the Holy Angels, in the 70s! We went to Italy over Easter vacation with our Latin Studies class. (As in learning to read Latin, not studying Latin culture.) Joan and I were the hardy – while many of our classmates were downstairs throwing up, we stood outdoors in the rain and refused to be seasick on the way to the fogged-in Isle of Capri.

Good Times!!

My thoughts for Joan, on celebrating our birthdays without her:

            I miss you, forever friend.

Once again you went ahead of me, this time into the unknown. Certain that your soul is still alive and even better than before, I still follow in your earthly footsteps. I pray for your wellbeing and know I shall one day see you again.

I am holding you close on the anniversary of your birth, and thanking God for your love and steadfast friendship. I remain grateful for the time we got to spend together.

    © Jane F. Collen  February 2, 2023

IndexCardCure.com™ together we are better

6 thoughts on “ODE TO A FRIEND

    • Aleta – Thank you so much for your comment. It means the world to me that I was invited to participate in the loving tribute you all gave Joan. And then the pleasure of meeting you and all her “Namaste sisters.” What a remarkable group of women you are. And it was amazing to see the circle of grace she gathered and the good it generated.
      Would you be interested in writing something about Joan for the website? We can publish what you said at the celebration or I can ask you some questions – the import being what did Joan mean to you and what messages did Joan want you to pass on for her?


      • Providential that i recently came across the letter I wrote to Joan. I would be honored to have you publish it. I am traveling but will be home on the 15th . I will send it to you then. Namaste.


  1. Hi Jane,

    This is Ginny Franco, one of Joan’s Namaste friends. It’s so nice to hear from you on Index Card Cure. Happy Birthday. I hope the loss of a Happy Birthday from Joan isn’t so bad when you think of her as still being with us. At Namaste we refer to Joan often with love and laughter. I hope you can too.

    ODE TO A FRIEND is certainly a great statement about Joan. Her philosophy about “to have a friend you need to be a friend” made her the best friend you could have. I met Joan 13 years ago. Ever since we have been on a spiritual journey. And even though we aren’t together I still feel her presence on my faith journey.

    Stay well and be happy…..Joan would want you to.

    Ginny Franco



    • Brendan — So nice of you to read this and comment.
      Your sister was an amazing friend. I was so lucky to know her.
      Hope you and your family are well! jane


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s