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Tribute to Bill

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A Tribute To My Bill

by Joan Bramsch

Bill Bramsch

On Thursday, August 2, 2001 at 2 p.m. my beloved Bill gently passed onto his Next Adventure. He was surrounded by his children and we loved him on his way. He died as he had lived, peacefully and with great dignity.

Just know that his room was often very crowded with the thousands of angels you sent to him. I imagined that they all formed two lines and beamed their tiny flashlights to form an arch, leading his way to Heaven. On Monday, August 6 at 2 p.m. he was laid to rest with full military honors from Jefferson Barracks Chapel, St. Louis MO.

At this time I am filled with a sense of completion and feel truly blessed that I have not one regret. Bill was my first and only True Love and my very best friend.

Bill fought as hard as he could for as long as he could - over six years with more terrible illness than anyone should have to endure. But he did, and so did I.

The funeral was a celebration of his wondrous character. Yes, I wept, but I was able to remain dignified, which I strove for, for Bill's sake. And I smiled a lot, too. The priest who performed the service was the same one Spirit sent to Bill's bedside for the Blessing of the Sick. _Nobody_ called him that I know of - but he came.

He spoke of Bill's love of airplanes and of bird watching (which I had not yet thought about) and that both were all about soaring, flying above the fray. But his dependability, his honor and integrity to work and family had kept him land bound all these years. Now he can soar and feel the exhilaration of flying forever. A perfect concept, in my opinion.

Bramsch family   40th Wedding Anniversary

When they folded the flag and presented it to me, the soldier and I gazed eye to eye as he thanked me for my loved one's service to country. Afterwards, I wondered what he had tucked into the folded flag and when I investigated I found a small package containing the three empty cartridge shells that they'd shot during the ceremony. Amazing. They stand for Service, Honor and Country.

Serving in Korea Synchronicity: On August 6, 1951 Bill entered the military; on August 6, 2001, fifty years to the day, the military laid him to rest.

I imagined him sitting on a cloud swinging his feet to the bluesy New Orleans music we played. First, a soft slow rendition of "Whispering Hope." Then, at the end, a performance of "Amazing Grace," his favorite hymn, which swelled to a rousing song where you could fairly picture the men with their umbrellas dancing down the street, then it ended with a haunting "Taps."

I can feel what people think... when the music came on they were thinking, "What the heck is Joan doing now?" ; ) They didn't know how much he loved New Orleans blues. This same tape Bill and I played all the way up to Minnesota in June because he loved it so much.

Still in love It was a fitting send off. I have told my family, especially my grandchildren, to be on the lookout for bushels of blessings heaped upon them by their beloved grandfather.

He was such a good man. I miss him so. It's going to be difficult, now that all my children have gone back to their homes, to be alone. How does one eat alone, I wonder? I shall have to discover how. And wanting to speak to him and share thoughts... well, I shall continue to talk to him, probably forever.

Love, Joan

Poems from the service:


Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there; I did not die.


But those who wait on the Lord,
Shall renew their strength,
They shall mount up with wings like Eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31



by Isla Paschal Richardson

If I should ever leave you whom I love To go along the Silent Way, grieve not,

Nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk Of me as if I were beside you there,

(I'd come -- I'd come, could I but find a way!) But would not tears and grief be barriers?

And when you hear a song or see a bird I loved, please do not let the thought of me

Be sad...For I am loving you just as I always have.... You were so good to me!

There are so many things I wanted still To do -- so many things to say to you...

Remember that I did not fear...It was Just leaving you that was so hard to face...

We cannot see Beyond...But this I know; I loved you so -- 'twas heaven here with you!



j. l. bramsch


Found in Bill's belongings, later:

Once you have tasted flight,
You will forever walk the earth
With your eyes turned skyward,
For there you have been,
And there you long to return.

- Lenonardo da Vinci


Dear Ones,

On October 14th I went alone to visit my Bill. I took him a bright yellow flower and sang him "Happy Birthday!" A man I never met, who had come to visit his wife, hugged me and told me it would get better. Oh, I hope he is right!

Bill & Joan's wedding

Today it is November 6, 2001. Forty-seven years ago today we were married and the Angels in heaven sang. We knew, from the first, that we "had" to stay married: the flower girl fell on her nose and would not march down the aisle, the church became the school's gymnasium, the country club site of our wedding breakfast became a nursing home and was later demolished, the site of our wedding reception became a VFW hall, and the priest left the country!

We were each other's first and only True Loves and best friends. God blessed our union and we made it through the rough times, knowing, knowing, that we were committed to one another for life. I can only tell you this in explanation... our first kiss after we were wed was different from any other we had shared before our vows. We felt the glorious binding of our Love, forever. I miss him so much, but I feel his presence always near me. He is now my spiritual Angel.

I hope this Tribute to his life pleases him in Heaven, and I hope the telling inspires you to live your life well and good. Value your loved ones as I value you, and tell them so. Often. There is no time to waste. Life passes so quickly.

Love, Joan

P.S. Remember Bill's gift to me so long ago; the words remind us what is truly important in this life, before we once again return to Stardust:

"We are angels born with but one wing,
In order to fly we must embrace one another."



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