Friends make life bearable, especially when times are hard, and
I am particularly fortunate in having wonderful friends.
the closest friend I ever had was Joan Shiel, who died
on September 30, 2003 from Kreutzfeld-Jacob disease, at the age of 71.
Joan was my mother's college roommate, and her best friend
as well. Joan
was in my life from the time I was born, and
helped me in various ways
through all sorts of difficult times. Joan and I were
very much alike in temperment and in
our personalities. She understood
my struggles, and showed me - without realizing it - that
I could keep searching and struggling.
In times of difficulty, she
would listen, and she'd always tell me what she thought - even
if it wasn't flattering to me.
She had remarkable insights that were always thought provoking, and
opinions about everything. Whether we agreed or not,
talking with her was always a joy.
Joan thought she was a difficult person with
little to offer other than her intelligence and
wit, but she was
also extraordinarily kind and generous.
In looking back over the years,
I realize how remarkably patient she was with me.
She taught me, just by her own life, that
it was possible to live without dulling myself,
that it was possible to be kind and loving, even
though life is inherently difficult.
I was lucky to have known her.
If guardian angels are real, for sure she was mine.
I loved her, and I miss her.