Janice Welch has died.
How sad for us, this word of Janice’s death, but how glorious for her as she lives now in a different light and on a different shore.
Janice was indomitable — fierce and kind at the same time, incredibly talented, loving and loveable, mothering without hovering. She was one the most likeable people I’ve ever known. And she was lit from within, as if transcendence and music and eternal re-creation fueled her soul.
Her death is a profound loss for all who knew and loved her. May she rest in peace, and may flights of angels sing her to glory.
I first met Janice in 1987. We were active together in the Blue Springs community theatre group. I taught her voice lessons. We gigged and sang together. I teased her kids. We shared the stage, and we both took turns directing various productions in Blue Springs.
As happens, time moved on. Janice returned to full-time teaching. I had my studio and my studies. After I moved away a few years later Christmas cards became the annual catch-up.
And now cancer has grabbed her. This must have been the mother of all cancers, because nothing else I know would take down this amazing, much-loved, faith-filled woman.
To her kids, to her grandchildren (only one of whom I’ve ever met), and especially to her husband Gary, my sympathy and condolences. Grief will last for a while, but the joy of this life, one that was full and well-lived, will last longer.
A postscript, 8 hours later: over the length of this day I have found myself musing on just how key Janice was in my life over those few years we labored together in theatre. I was just coming into my own as an artist, a musician, a gay man, an adult with his own thoughts and ideas and possibilities. Janice, whether she knew it or not at the time, nurtured me in a way that I am only now realizing. She gave me such quiet, simple, and generous gifts of encouragement and trust and respect. I owe her more than I realized. And I’m sorry I never got to tell her, now that I do realize.