Wednesday, October 5, 2016

An E-blast Update: Six Months After Joan’s Passing

Hi Folks:

Sorry I've been too slow in updating this blog.
One week from today will mark six-months since Dear Joan passed away.

I thought about that today, while driving to/from Seattle under a gray sky that drizzled intermittently.
Amidst the grayness, tree leaves stood out in their changing colors, yellows, reds and in-between green.
The seasons are definitely passing, as they always do, even in a man’s life; I thought that while remembering a book on the same theme which helped me through an earlier tough patch - a mid-life crisis.

That other time, hard lessons were learned and much suffering endured, with memories of sadness, a sense of irretrievable loss, questioning of what had gone wrong and why, and yet somehow knowing that despite this set-back, I needed to get on with my life. [so glad I did!]

Maybe, that earlier time helped prepare me for the suddenness of Joan’s departure, but it’s hard to say, because this current pain doesn’t seem to fade much either, despite my determined efforts to focus on the love we shared as true kindred spirits. All I have to do is watch that 8-minute You-Tube clip of our wedding. Talk about the experience of joy!

In the car this morning, every time I reached over for her hand, it wasn’t there. Hard to not miss that warm feeling…
But, I know her beautiful spirit lives! 
Just knowing that really helps inspire me to keep going strong, and rejoin the world of the living.

This last 6 months there has been so much to do, getting affairs organized and beginning to plan for my own ending.
I am very thankful for the help so many people have given me to make this transition proceed so remarkably smoothly!
Here’s a synopsis:

Memorials - The series of six planned Memorials served to allow many of Joan’s circles of friends and family to remember her bright smile, love of life and joyous spirit! Those events also helped me share the wonderful support of the many others who also loved her. I greatly appreciate that! Also, many other gatherings and remembrances were held in Joan’s honor, and these were truly amazing in their combined effect! Thank you all.

Legal - I’ve now gotten much more familiar with lawyers and their trade, both in Bellingham and in San Francisco. These folks have been essential in handling the provisions of Joan’s Will and the Probate process. I’ll be using them again soon, for my own end-of-life planning.

Real Estate - Our beloved Bellingham home of 26 years has been sold and is now occupied by a couple with 2 teenage sons. I know they will love living there as much as we did.

I have purchased and moved into a Condominium in the Fairhaven [Old Town] section of Bellingham, near the Bay, trails, eateries and instant social life - should I want it.

Joan’s wonderful Victorian house in San Francisco’s Glen Park Neighborhood is in Probate, now being valued so that her Estate can be finally settled. Her wish was have our good friends, Ilya & Rina Kolesnikov, live there with their 2 sons, and this will happen soon. 
Joan bought that house in 1978, as a single woman, and paid it off! Wish I had made such a good investment! [Come to think of it, I did - by marrying Joan!]

Joan’s beloved Cabin of 18 years, called "Moose Lodge" in Winthrop, WA has not yet been sold; but it has been rented for 6-months over the Winter and will be put back on the market next year.

Monetary Assets - These are all being consolidated to simplify accounting needs, including the IRS, using the expert advice of advisors who will coordinate these efforts with me and the Legal folks.

Autos - I sold my 2003 Volkswagen Eurovan, traded in Joan’s Subaru Outback, and bought a 2016 Honda CRV Touring model that seems much smarter than I am! It does fit my needs, and my basement parking spot better. 

Ongoing Stuff - I've already gotten rid of, literally, a ton of stuff just to fit into my smaller space; now, the job of sorting through remaining books, correspondence, files, pictures, slides, memories, Buddhist publications and notes demands attention. 

Next Steps - What are my plans now, you might ask? 
Several essential tasks include updating my Will, developing a Revocable Living Trust, Updating my Advance Healthcare Directive and creating a Durable Power of Attorney. 

Next, I’ll be getting IRS returns prepared and submitted, using a CPA this time! 

I am also now motivated to maintain a better level of physical health to help enjoy life; practice regular spiritual meditation; visit relatives and friends; stay in touch with others better; continue reading and all-life-learning pursuits.

Above all, I am going to continue to honor Joan’s Memory in the very best way I can...

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Another Joan Casey Tribute: Special Thanks to the "A" Team!

This last month has been a bear!
Never thought this much could be done in so short a time, but now it's happened and the home Joan & I thoroughly enjoyed for 26 years will go on the market tomorrow, Thursday July 28, 2016.
Meanwhile, I am ensconced in my new Condo in Fairhaven - something Joan & I had considered for some time, and that I am sure she would approve!

Here are six pictures taken by my good friend, Mark Turner, which will be used to advertise our former home at 1015 West Toledo Street:
Interior, showing view to NNW across deck
Interior, showing Living Room & Kitchen in background
Interior, from Kitchen through Dining Area to Deck & View
Master Bedroom
View from Deck to NNW, Canadian Mountains
Exterior, showing Solar Array atop Garage & Front Entrance
Not much of this progress could have been accomplished in so short a time, without the amazing help of my "A" Team! 
All of these folks were friends of Joan and me, who pitched in and greatly helped me make this transition happen so smoothly and -relatively- painlessly. 
I am very thankful for the help they all offered.
Here's a list, that hopefully includes -almost- everyone:
  • Ilya Kolesnikov
  • Klara Weis
  • Anne Mosness
  • Mary Durbrow
  • Jim Hildt
  • Roni Lenore
  • Mike Kaufman
  • Naomi Bunis
  • Helen McLeod
  • Kurt Lindemann
  • Regina Montano
  • Shelly Murray
  • Ann Davidge
  • Donna Rushing
  • Tim Burnett
  • Bob Davis
  • Margaret Weiland
  • Bob Carlitz
  • Katie Carlitz
  • Rina Kolesnikov
  • Vladimir Kolesnikov
  • Anatoly Kolesnikov
  • Laurie Heck
To these special people goes my heartfelt thanks!
They prove that when things are tough, true friends arise to occasion!
Joan is smiling - as always...

Monday, June 6, 2016

Joan Casey Update # 26: BUF Celebration of Life

The DEE Cloud
From a friend: As I left the fellowship celebration I snapped this picture of a singular cloud floating above and lingering well beyond the others leaving. 
Whispering marvelous wishes. 

PS: for some reason the email from my phone on Saturday went around the world for a few days and back .

Does this remind you of  anyone?
Missus Joan was famous for lingering at an enjoyable event until she was the last to leave...
Would it surprise you that she may have enjoyed this last celebration of her life?

The event at BUF worked well, with about 60 folks signing the guest book and 12 rising to say a few words recalling experiences they had with Joan. All seemed to really enjoy seeing 8-minute short video of wedding, which displayed the joy which pervaded our lives together.

Afterwards, the reception continued for about an hour.
Then, it was over - except for the memories of a life well-lived.
No wonder Missus Joan may have lingered!
It really was a celebration of her life...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Joan Casey Update #25: Our Wedding @ SPC

This is a 8-minute video clip that highlights our wedding on June 17, 1990

What a Happy Day our wedding was!
And, what a happy marriage it produced.
The Celebration of Joan's Life at the Sausalito Presbyterian Church on May 21 recalled the earlier event and infused its happiness into people's hearts all over again!
It certainly lifted my spirits to recall, experience again, and anticipate such infectious joy in the future.
And, I know Joan was very happy!
Just take my word for it...

A trip to the Sausalito Church website will provide another chance to view the above clip, plus more pictures taken and posted by our friends afterwards - which was also amazing!
Enjoy this as I have.
I expect to show it at the final Memorial for Joan - at the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship on Saturday, June 4 at 2 PM.
Come one, come all to remember Joan's irrepressible persona...
Recorded music and light refreshments to follow.
An AD in the Herald will repeat this invitation more widely, starting this Sunday and running for 3 days...

Joan Casey Update #24: On Clowns

Joan - before John
Joan as Lily
Lily & Big Red - A Clown Couple

Joan meets Corpulent Critter (Big Red has grown really big!
Critters as Ushers @ Joan & John's Wedding

Friday, May 20, 2016

Joan Casey Update #23: Celebration of Life Video

Ms Joan Casey

I arrived in San Francisco yesterday and came straight to Joan's house with our friend Ilya.
The house was immaculate and I can imagine Joan exclaiming it was so wonderful. The weather was bright but windy, giving motion to trees and clouds outside the kitchen windows.

Joan's oldest Cousin, Clifford McCormick and Juanita, his wife of over 67 years, arrived before 6 PM after driving up from Palm Springs in one day.

Our friend Fedor came soon after with bags of groceries to cook his famous 'weapon', a potato dish with other veggies, herbs, etc. 
It smelled wonderful and tasted even better! 

He also made a great salad with cabbage, lemon and pomegranate seeds which complimented the 'weapon' very well. 
And, he made a terrific mushroom dish with beef that rounded out the meal. 

Of course, a little wine was also in order, followed by cookies and chocolate.

This welcoming dinner ended up including 8 people, plus a neighbor who dropped in. 
Missus Joan would have been proud - and very happy!

Afterwards, we watched our Wedding Ceremony on DVD/TV - all 90 minutes of it, with just a few fast-forwards. 

A good time was had by all, especially under the circumstances under which we had gathered. 
A really good sleep followed.

This morning, Rev George McLaird came by to meet with me and ended up talking with Cliff, Juanita, Ilya and me for almost 2 hours! 
He had brought a printed program that looks just great.

So, tomorrow is the day we travel to Sausalito for Joan's Celebration of Life. 
Joan with some Lad in Dingle, Ireland
I expect a pretty good crowd to exchange pleasant memories in good fellowship - another thing much valued by Joan.

Our friend, Robin Sinclair - who sang at our wedding - produced a short clip of our wedding from the original tape which will be added to the website at Sausalito Presbyterian Church.
John with some Irish Lass

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Joan Casey Update #22: A Rose 4 U

Mt Baker - Photo by Friend who also took 'Mountain Bliss'

Mountain Bliss
I'm now getting ready to visit San Francisco again, this time to participate in Joan's Celebration of Life at the Sausalito Presbyterian Church. 
That is expected to be a big event, just as she might like. 
The Program looks great, as does the Video of our Wedding, the Music selected, and the Speakers.

But, the main thing Joan liked were the People! 
Many will be there, missing a few who have also passed away.
Yes, the occasion will be as joyous as possible, even without Joan's delightful presence!

My son, Tom, sent me a picture of a Rose from Joan's Memorial Service in Yonkers.
This is for you, Wee Lambie...

A Rose for Joan

Monday, May 16, 2016

Joan Casey Update #21: A 400-Word Speech +/-

View from our deck
After Joan and I were married by Reverend George McLaird on June 17, 1990 at SPC, I made the small mistake of introducing her as my wife, Joan. 
She quickly informed me that she was Joan [COMMA] my wife! 
I ever forgot that again...

Joan was unique among anyone I ever met. 
She seemed to operate at a faster, higher, and more motivated pace in her life. 
I saw this as good, and immediately was drawn to her - as fortunately, she was to me. 
We connected on many levels, and still do.

Joan was/is a true seeker for the meaning of life. 
The Dalai Lama's simple definition of Buddhism as a school of thought was "loving-kindness"
That resonated, and was all Joan needed to begin her vigorous exploration of Buddhism!

Buddhism is based upon the Three Jewels; Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
Buddha means enlightenment. 

Dharma means the path one chooses to achieve enlightenment. 

Sangha means the people one chooses to associate with during their search.

Joan also found all three elements at SPC; inspiration, opportunity to turn inspiration into good works, and wonderful people who helped and were with her along the way!

To Joan, the number 3 had significance: The Three Jewels; Body, Speech and Mind; and the Holy Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Other numbers were also significant: 05/16/1941,  01/14/1984, and 06/17/1990. (Her Birthday; the Day we met; the Day we married).

As I flew home today from Joan's Memorial in Yonkers, NY - her home town - it occurred to me that she may still prefer those numbers, all with the years left out.

I also suspected she may have become reborn as I was thinking about it! 

I hope she was, so she could continue her loving-kindness from a new, broader and even more beneficial perspective!

Maybe as a 
Dakini or even a Bodhisattva?  
Why not?

That would be very good, and I'm certain she would love her new Role in the Greater Scheme of Things!

I will always love Joan, as her Spirit will live into Eternity. 

The singing group, Alabama, created lyrics, which said "She's close enough to perfect for me".

Little Joanie Casey; 

Lily of the Pink Spirit, 
Lambit: J-KC; 
my Dear Dee!

A very small part of you is now reunited with your Father, Mother and Brother, under the Casey Headstone at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Valhalla, NY.

Just like you said when you first saw the Home we bought together, "What do I have to do to live here?" 

Easy answer!
Just "keep beaming your radiant Dee-ness" through your bright eyes and wonderful smile!
Padmasambhava Thanka hanging in our home