Thursday, November 21, 2013


Today, November 21, 2013, is Joan Bochmann's birthday. She would be 79 today if she'd lived to see this day—as I was so sure she would. Of course my certainty had nothing to do with reality, only my unwillingness to let her go.

Joan is on the right side of the table, third from the front
I was with her on her last birthday, 2012. Her children had a wonderful party for her at a very nice restaurant the night before. I am very thankful to have been invited and able to attend. Carl wasn't feeling up to it, but was waiting up when we got home.
Carl Bochmann, eager to hear all about it and see Joan's cards
The cancer had already taken a very big toll by this time in Joan's life, but she cherished every minute she could spend with her family, especially her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Joan was a writer, and maybe one of her biggest disappointments was to have more to write and knowing she wouldn't have time—or energy—to do it. Even though her health was very poor in the last years of her life, she made every effort to go to book events where she could display and talk about her book and interact with other authors.

In early August, 2012, she drove with me to Montana to attend the Madison Valley Arts festival in Ennis. We took a scenic route over the Bighorn Mountains out of Dayton, Wyoming, through Cody and Yellowstone Park.

Ready to go, outside the Lighthouse Cafe and Grace Place, Joan's Church, in Berthoud, CO

At an overlook as we ascended the Big Horn Mountains

Joan in Cody, Wyoming
It was a good time and I'll always be grateful for that trip and the hours we shared. She got tired and had to leave the arts festival, where we each had author tables, a little early. My daughter took her back to my house to rest. She spent a few more days before I took her back to Sheridan where we met her son, Gary, who would take her the rest of the way home. It was that night in our hotel room that I got the call from home that my son, Troy, had been injured in practice for the next day's motocross race. Joan and I had just had breakfast with him that morning. Joan, as shocked as I was, comforted me as I cried in her arms before heading back to Billings where Troy was in the hospital with a spinal cord injury.

Joan came again in December, this time flying from Denver to Billings to the Writers Roundup, where I and fellow author Marcia Melton met her. We shared a table at the Roundup, a room in Billings, and lots of laughs, stories, and good times—when Joan wasn't too sick to enjoy it. She was grateful for the opportunity, though at times of pain and sickness, she missed her own house and bed.

Marcia Melton and Joan Bochmann
We talked a lot about the things we wanted to do together—another book tour—this time in western Montana and Alberta and British Columbia, writers conferences, especially the one in Kalispell, and a visit to Glacier National Park. Unfortunately, her illness prevented  more travel. So—I spent a lot of last year in Colorado just to be with her as much as I could. On a good day when she was awake early, we'd bundle up and sit on her back porch with a hot drink and watch the sunrise. I'm thankful for all the precious moments.

I miss you dear sister. Rest in peace on your birthday.

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