Coping with Grief
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There are no paths to follow,
No bridges crossing streams,
No bitter tears to swallow,
No broken hopes and dreams.
The life whose path has ended
Has crossed the stream with grace.
The broken hopes are mended,
The tears have left no trace.
The day will break tomorrow,
The losses turn to gains.
There's little room for sorrow,
It's gladness that remains.
The twinkling eyes, the laughter,
The joy that love imparts,
Will live forever after
Deep in our minds and hearts.
Joanna Margaret Hedges, known by her family as Joey, passed away on February 11, 2023 at 52 years old, shortly after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She was born in Portland, Oregon to Constance Eleanor Bernier and Joseph Eugene Hedges. She graduated from Franklin High School and attended college at The Evergreen State College, Portland State University, and Portland Community College. Joanna loved music and studied art for many years. She enjoyed playing the piano, reading, gardening, caring for her cats Georgie and Audrey, and spending time with friends and family.
Joey was the youngest of 3 sisters, born over eight years after her two older sisters, Donna and Kristi. As the baby in the family, Joey brought a new level of joy and excitement into the home. Kristi and Donna loved having a baby sister and begged to change her diapers, promising never to get tired of it. As a toddler, Joey would climb out of her crib and quietly sneak onto the foot of her older sister’s bed just to be near them.
In grade school, Joey took on the role of the nephew in the musical Mame in which her older sister, Donna, was the lead at Adams High School. In addition to learning all the lines, dance steps, and songs at just 9 years of age, she also sang a duet with her sister entitled “You’re My Best Girl”.
You're my best girl and nothing you do is wrong,
I'm proud you belong to me;
And if a day is rough for me,
Having you there's enough for me.
In high school Joey displayed an adventurous spirit and spent a summer in Scotland as a study abroad student in Edinburgh. She loved spending time with her older sisters including taking a trip to the San Juan Islands with Kristi on the back of her motorcycle.
In her 20’s Joey lived with her father for a while. They often would go to Kenilworth Presbyterian Church together and enjoyed sharing their more creative sides together. She also became an aunt to the first of her 5 nieces and nephews. Joey was greatly loved by them for her playful spirit, and for spending time with them playing games on the floor, reading story books or letting them crawl on her and brush her hair.
In her 30’s Joey lived in an apartment near her mother and stepfather, Larry Jackson. It was there that she adopted her 2 cats, Georgie and Audrey. She would often walk to her parent’s house to play her mother’s childhood piano, and spent most Sunday afternoons together in their sweet, long tradition of “reading and having soup”.
In her 40’s, Joey began living in residential homes that were able to provide her with the support, services and companionship she needed to manage her mental health needs. She made many friends in each of those homes, including “Queen Mary” who loved to wear robes and a crown. Joey enjoyed tending to the chickens, gardening, taking art and music classes and going on 1 on 1 excursions with the skills trainer and other caring staff.
During the last year of Joey’s life, her sisters began visiting Portland more frequently. They would often take Joey out with their mom and go on drives along the old Gorge Highway or take walks through Mt Tabor Park and Powell Butte. Joey loved going to lunch on these adventures and was especially fond of Shari’s pie and ice cream.
Throughout the years, Joey and her mother Connie had a very special relationship. Connie was extremely loving and comforting to Joey during her life, and especially during the hospital visits in Joey’s last few weeks. Kristi and Donna are so grateful that their mother could be there for Joey as she made her final transition from this life. No one knew that our time with Joey would be so short, but the sweetness of those moments will linger forever.
Joey is survived by her mother and stepfather, Connie and Larry Jackson of Portland, OR; sister Kristi Hedges of Bellingham, WA, sister and brother-in-law Donna and David Crist of Seattle, WA; nieces and nephews, Emily Laguzza, Balto Brady-Laguzza, Alexio Boosman, Claire Crist, and Robert Crist; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins living in and around Portland, OR and Washington. Joanna was preceded in death by her father, Joseph Eugene Hedges, and cousin, Jared David May. There will be a Celebration of Life at 3:00 p.m. on March 19, 2023, at Kenilworth Presbyterian Church located at 4028 SE 34th Ave, Portland, OR 97202 followed by a reception in the church’s Fireside Room. People who knew and cared for Joey are invited to attend.
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