The "death of someone close" she mentioned in these pages was her step-father, Harry, who has been with Joanna's mom (who raised her) since Joanna was only eight. Harry passed away on July 31st. His memorial service is today.
Over these days, I've watched Joanna cope with Harry's illness and death with incredible grace, and strength, and sensitivity. I've watched her put her own grief to the side in order to be there for her mom and others. I've watched her struggle and succeed at being a strong and steady mother to our children, even while she had to deal with the loss of a father. In short I've seen, as I have always seen in Joanna, the kind of person I hope my children grow into.
So consider this a different sort of obituary. One that honors the feelings of someone left behind, to give her a moment of attention, and love, and support.
Shortly after Harry died, Joanna said this to me:
"Harry was the only person in my life when I was growing up that I never felt judged by. No matter what I did, no matter what mistakes I made, he was always supportive."THAT is no small fucking thing, people. And you, my beautiful and amazing wife, most certainly deserved it.
So Harry, if somehow you're reading this, thanks. Thanks for giving the woman I love, the woman I would do anything for, something so valuable and rare.