One of my dearest and oldest friends died two Sunday mornings ago. Some of you know her — Joan Bramsch. She was a gifted writer, publisher, teacher, spiritual seeker. And one of the most powerful, loving women I’ve ever known.

John Cali

Joan and I never met in person. Yet the bond of our friendship and love was deeper than that I have with other friends, and even some family, I have known “in the flesh.”

Joan was always so upbeat and happy, even when she was going through hell. She went through more hell than most of us will ever know. But her bright shining spirit lit up even the darkest places. Even in the midst of her challenges she managed, with her love and compassion, to uplift and inspire all of us who knew her.

As Joan’s daughter Nancy said:

“Mom kept such a positive attitude and a great sense of humor until the very end. We are happy that she is free from pain and in a better place. We were so lucky to have her for this last precious year. I think that having her this past year was our special miracle. It was a miracle she survived such a massive stroke and was still able to talk to us and teach us about life until the very end of hers.”

My human side dearly misses Joan, although I feel no sadness, only joy, because I know she’s now free from all pain and care. She’s once again with Bill, her beloved husband of many years.

And she is still here with all of us who love her. Not in the physical sense, of course, but surely in spirit. The non-physical bond is always much deeper and richer than the physical one.

If only we all understood we never lose those we love, and that after “death” the love deepens. So too does the communication if we are open to it. So much grief, pain, and suffering can be avoided, and even totally eliminated, when we believe that.

Godspeed, Joan, until we meet again.

(Spirit will return next week.)