Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Clay Nation Loses Special Friend

Tribute to Ashes-Claysmelody - Montage by Aspiegirl
'Because You Loved Me' sung by Clay Aiken

Because She Loved Us

Fans Recall Memories of Joan

Joan Martin lived life with her arms wide open for family, friends, and Clay Aiken, whom she loved as much for his glorious voice as for his huge, charitable heart. Expressions of her love for the talented singer adorn her blog in the handsome graphics and montages she created and shared with others.

The Tribute to Ashes-Claysmelody montage by Aspiegirl features many of Joan's graphics accompanied by Clay singing "Because You Loved Me." To view the montage on YouTube, click on the link. To download the montage, here is a Sendspace file.

When Joan, whose screen names were Ashes and Claysmelody, died late last week, the Clay Nation lost a very special friend. Countless fans could describe her vibrant, uplifting, cheerful emails (to be read with the day's first "cuppa"); the online assistance she freely gave others not as computer savvy as she; the thoughtfulness exemplified in the notes, CDs, and DVDs she frequently mailed to online friends.

Ashes Never a Fan of Textism

When Clayonline converted from HTML to textism lingo in the blogs, Joan scrambled with me to locate codes that would generate journal entries similar to the previous system. Truthfully, I must add that she cussed the whole way, wishing daily for a reprieve and return to HTML.

I have not only lost a very good friend, but my grandchildren lost a very special great-auntie who delighted in surprising our family with graphics and montages of Kai and Lia.

The loss of Joan has sent ripples through the Clay Aiken fandom. Threads at the Clayboard and the Clayonline message board -- OFC Member Ashes Passes -- are filled with thouhgtful tributes.

We learned of Joan's death Monday night because her son Perry replied to one of the many emails on his mother's computer inquiring about her absence. Joan, who loved walking in the town of Red Deer, contracted a lung infection early last week and grumbled that she must really be sick to take a cab three blocks to her doctor's office on Tuesday.

She received medication, and her doctor assured her all would be well. In a matter of days, she took a sudden downward spiral and was gone.


Friends Plan Memorial Donations

Friends can make an online donation to the National Inclusion Project in memory of Joan Martin by completing the form at this link. Aron Hall knows that some remembrances may be in honor of Ashes or Claysmelody. Friends may also print the form and mail a donation to the Raleigh office. There is no need to complete the "notification" part of the form.

For months, Joan has been urging me to join Facebook. For some reason, Monday I did. The opening post is about Joan's death and contains many messages of grief from her friends. The post also includes a link to her beloved Clay-The Man blog where faithful readers are expressing their feelings in comments.

One of the most endearing remarks came from Claycolombia, who frequently apologizes for her English skills. At the Facebook link, she could not have expressed the thoughts of many more eloquently:

This is sad news that shakes the soul to me. Joan was a wonderful woman; we were always in contact. My dear Joan, all clay Aiken fans will miss you.

Following a clickable interlude of graphics by Ashes/Claysmelody, some of the expressions of loss will be shared here. Photographer of the first graphic is gerwishp.

Clay Friends Share Sadness

Below are some of the many lovely expressions posted by Joan's friends. Please share your thoughts in the comments so that her two sons can read them online.

Rest in peace, Ashes. You brought so much to the Clay Aiken fandom, and you will be missed. You gave us so much beauty with your blogs. - katymom

I'll miss you and your beautiful blogs, Ashes. Thank you so much for everything. Rest in peace, my friend. - Nelia

Your blogs were beautiful and your montages could not be more dedicated and amazing in expressing Clay Aiken. You were a great friend and I thank you. I will miss your posts that came so regularly and you always sounded so lively and open. I really will miss you. - Camille4488

Joan was my first Clay buddy back in 2003. In December 2005, she flew from Calgary to Arizona to stay with me for two weeks and to attend her first live Clay Aiken concert. We had great 5th row center seats, and she was mesmerized. I am so glad that I shared that joyful evening with her.

Rest in peace, dear Joan. May you hear the music and see the man from wherever you dwell.
- skybar22

When she told me she wasn't feeling well, I asked Ashes if there was anything I could do for her, and the response was "What can you do? Pray I will get to the next concert tour!" - Cathie Sato

I am so sad and shocked to hear this. Her graphics and montages were done so lovingly and her blogs were so nice to read. She will be terribly missed. - gerwhisp

Joan will be so missed. She loved Clay completely and unconditionally; that was so evident in the beautiful blogs she took so much care over. We have lost a good friend, but heaven has another angel now. - LosAngelesDawn

I know that there are no lonely people where she is now because she will be there loving them just as much as she loved all of us. - Aspiegirl

I am so filled with emotion right now on hearing this news. I saw the subject line and it just wouldn't register. Joan was one of Clay's biggest fans, and her loss will be felt across the nation. - Sandy Hall

Below is a double-clickable of the opening graphic from the montage:

May Joan rest in the peace, love, and joy that she gave to so many others. - hosaa



SueReu said...

Thank you Caro and a special thank you to Aspiegirl - what an amazing montage - Joan would have LOVED IT!!!

She will be missed very much, a very special woman who touched so many lives - more than I think she ever realized.

My thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones. Take comfort in knowing that her pain is now gone and she is flying with the angels.

PaulaBear said...

Caro, what a beautiful, touching tribute to your friend. I only knew Joan through her wonderful Clay Aiken blog, but now I feel that I know her a little better. I so enjoyed visiting her blog. It was filled with beautiful graphics and montages and wonderfully fun Clay games! She will be missed. I hope her family finds comfort and solace in knowing how loved she was by so many.

katy said...

Caro, thank you for your blog and tribute to Ashes, Joan. Just going to her blog each day was so uplifting. If I was having a bad day, I'd go there and immediately feel better. Sweet Ashes, we love you.

bonniecarmen said...

Thanks so much for the tribute for Joan....I am in shock...I was a close friend, we talked on the phone every few days. I just spoke with her sons...of course they are in shock too. Clay brought Joan alive - she lived through difficult circumstances but Clay always brought a smile to her face. I am away on holidays right now, and spoke with her last Wednesday. So I do not have any e-mail addresses here....but certainly want to see all the tributes. How blessed we have been to have known her. How amazed she would be to see all the tributes, as she was a very humble person. May she rest in peace. luv Bonnie (Victoria, BC)

MAE said...

Thank you so much Caro! When I first read this, I begin to cry and my heart is heavy now. I only knew Ashes through her blogs and followed them closely and always let her know how wonderful they were and how much they meant to me. I looked forward always to see what she had put together. she will be so missed! I pray for her family also, that God will give them grace and the help that they need. Thank you Aspiegirl for the video! Ashes loved Clay so much and shared it all with us!

emerson said...

What a beautiful montage in memory of Joan and her love of all things Clay Aiken. Obviously, Clay brought an incredible amount of joy to Joan's life and she returned that same joy to Clay Nation ten-fold.

There is never a good time to lose a loved one or a friend. The gravity of such an unexpected loss is all the more poignant because it has occurred during a time of the year that is usually one of celebration and joy.

My heart hurts for Joan's family and all of her dear friends. My prayers are with them all at this very difficult time. May the words of those who cared so deeply for Joan bring comfort to her loved ones and may the passage of time bring them peace. Love never dies. It lives on in the hearts and memories of all those who care.

ymarie said...

I never had the privilege of meeting Joan/Ashes, but I have a special blend she made using one of my essays hanging on my wall. She did such beautiful work, as shown by the special montage Aspiegirl created. I'm sure she will be sorely missed by all those who knew her, and by all of us who wish we had.

limey said...

I am very sorry to hear the sad news about Ashes. She will be missed in the Clay fandom. My sincerest condolences to her son and family. She was a lovely person May she rest in peace. I thought the montage was beautiful.

Allegra said...

It's hard to believe that another beloved member of ClayNation is gone.

RIP Joan. You will be missed.

barb 55 said...

Caro, thanks so much for posting this beautiful tribute to our friend, Joan.

Aspiegirl created a lovely, touching montage of Joan's gorgeous work and did an amazing job putting it together. I cried through the whole thing.

We have lost a dear, special, and beloved friend who was one of the most dedicated Clay fans. Her blogs were postive, happy, and uplifting and put a smile on my face. She was truly an asset to the OFC and the fandom.

I will miss her soooo much and can't believe she's gone. My heart aches.

May God comfort her family during this difficult time.

Dear, sweet, Joan, rest in peace. We love you.

IamMesmerized said...

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of one of our own.

I loved reading her blogs and this tribute to her is just beautiful.

I would like to extend my condolences to all members of Joan's family, both her "real" family and her Clay family, of which we were all a part.

Thank you Joan for everything and thank you Caro for this tribute. The Clay Nation has indeed lost a valued member of the community.

Rest in peace, dear Ashes. You will not be forgotten.

Anonymous said...

I am terribly shock for the dreadful news, And I am sure we are going to miss her a lot!! I loved her blog and of course her beautiful montages.

Joan rest in peace!! We will miss you


Anonymous said...

My prayers are with the family of Ashes/Joan. She was such a wonderful person and a sweet friend. She will be missed by many. Her blogs and montages were a blessing to so many of us Clay fans. She reached out and touched us with her love and kindness.

May God keep her securely in his loving arms.


Anonymous said...

'God bless you Caro, for doing this for a special lady! Joan was one of the first to make me feel welcome....she is missed! I pray for her family and sure hope she knew we cared about her, and in her heart,and mine, I know she did! Very nice tributefor our friend, Joan.Joan would have approved ,and smiled and I know she is! Donna in Wi.

Anonymous said...

Aspiegirl,did a awesome job! Thanks!!!!!!!!

Sandy said...

Caro thank you so very much for this beautiful tribute to Joan. There are no words to convey the appreciation and thoughtfulness it took to put this together. As well I would like to also thank Aspiegirl for such a beautiful montage in Joan's honor. Joan is smiling down at you all and saying "Well Done"!

They say memories are forever and the memories that Joan left us will always be with us. We shall let these memories comfort us and remember her always for her undivided devotion to the man that we love and who brought us all together - Clay Aiken.

Rest in peace my sweet Joan! We will always know we have an Angel among us!

Hugs forever,


Amy Spears said...

I am sure Joan would have LOVED this tribute to her! Thank you for this beautiful tribute to someone who gave so much love and joy and her talents for all of us to enjoy.

She will be greatly missed! Know that she will be able to continue to hear Clay's angelic voice and that she is no longer suffering.

Thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones.


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful opening montage and tribute to an amazing woman. Her passion for Clay was very evident in her blogs and montages and they, along with her dedication to the National Inclusion Project, will be fondly remembered throughout Claynation.

RIP Joan

Chris (krysforOMC)

Anonymous said...

What a lovely tribute to a lovely woman. Joan will be missed by the Claynation. She gave so much of herself with the blogs and montages and so much more.
Rest in the arms of the angels dear lady. May God give his peace and understanding to her family. May they know how much we are praying for them.


LovesClaysVoice said...

Caro, thank you for such a lovely tribute to Joan. I didn't know her personally, but I know she loved Clay. Her blog, graphics, and montages were always so beautiful. The Clay Nation has lost a special woman and Clay has lost a very devoted fan. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends at this sad time.

Jannet said...

This news came as such a shock to me. I think I took for granted the many endless sweet comments she blessed my blog with, even when my posts weren't always so kind. And I guess I just thought she'd always be there to continue doing so, in her very sweet way, at whatever point I could find it in my heart to return.

She was a dear, dear soul. It was apparent in all she shared. And she will be surely, surely missed by so many.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Ashes (Joan). I did not know her personally, but I enjoyed her blogs and video's very much. She will be missed.

I also enjoyed the wonderful tribute video by Aspiegirl and the lovely blog by you Caro.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for this lovely tribute to Ashes. She was a very special lady who loved Clay and his fans. She will definitely be missed. She did a marvelous job of reaching out to so many.

Condolences to her family and friends.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Caro, for your beautiful tribute to Ashes/Joan. And to Aspiegirl, you have outdone yourself with this montage.

Ashes was one of the most special Clay Aiken fans. Her love and respect for Clay never waivered. We are all blessed to have had the privilege of seeing her talents in the many graphics and blog entries she shared over the years.

To Joan's family and loved ones: my thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of loss. May you -- and we, the Clay Nation -- find comfort in the many wonderful memories we have of her. May God hold Joan in His loving arms, and wrap her in His love.

~ scrabblegoddess


Dear Caro. Thanks for this beautiful tribute to our beloved Joane.
I'm sure she would love all your blog and all the beautiful feelings of the fans who feel this great loss.
I wish I could write more, I have so many feelings in my heart and things to thank my dear Joane. But the news has shocked me deeply and I could not coordinate a beautiful thing to say or post on my blog about this dear friend we have lost.
I hope to feel a little better, to put into words everything I wanted to say about Joan.
I think and pray for their children and family, God bless you and give them the strength needed at this time.
Joane, my angel, you're always in our hearts.
Tanks Aspiergirl for that beautiful montage.

Anonymous said...

Joan was talented, kind and one of the nicest person I have ever had the privilege to know. She will be greatly missed.

You gave us a beautiful tribute.

ImGranny said...

Carolina Clay, thank you for posting the wonderful tribute to Ashes. Aspiegirl, what a beautiful montage!!

My heart goes out to Ashes' family and friends. I will miss her Clay Aiken blogs. You could tell each one came from her heart. I always looked forward to them. She will be missed here, but heaven is lucky to have her as their new angel!

T said...

I'm lost in words and still can't believe that Joan is not with us anymore. I'm in tears and have been thinking of her all day. I will miss her so much. She was a very special person -- so sweet, thoughtful and had a very amazing creative talent which brought so much joy. She was very special.

My sympathy and prayers to her family. It's so sad especially we're nearing Christmas.

Joan, we will never forget you! Thanks so much for the wonderful friendship. We love you Joan!

Caro, thanks so much for the beautiful tribute and also, the very special montage from Aspiegirl. That brought so much tears.

LoriF said...

Thanks so much for the beautiful blog for Joan; although I never had the opportunity to meet her, we spoke a few times via PM and she was a lovely lady.
Rest in Peace, Joan...we know you'll be looking after our Clay.

CCOL4HIM said...

I was so saddened to hear about Joan's passing. I enjoyed talking with her on the OFC and through blogger.Although I never met her in person and hoped to do so in the future, I valued her friendship. Ironically, I had a comment contest on my Claymania blog this month and she won, but I posted a tribute blog;
My thoughts and prayers are with Joan's family and friends.Take care and God bless. Love always, Cynthia

Anonymous said...

Hi Caro,

The past couple of day have been so hard, as you know. I am still in denial, as I still can not believe our Wonderful Friend Joan is now in Heaven.....she is our Angel!

The ClayNation has lost a truly Wonderful, Caring Lady.....she Will Be Missed!

Caro, Thank You for this awesome tribute to our Friend Joan, I know she is looking down with a big smile. Thank You to Aspiegirl for the amazing montage....Tears were flowing, but it was beautiful.

I send my Sympathy and Prayers to Joan's Sons, Her Family and Friends. Your Mother was loved so much and will be missed.

Joan.....we love you and you are missed already.

Big Hugs,

always and forever/tigerpat said...

Although I didn't know her, I enjoyed her 'presence' in Claynation.

My heartfelt condolences to her family, friends, and the Clayfriends that grew to know and love her as well.

ann said...

Thank you Caro for this beautiful tribute to Ashes and thank you Aspiegirl for the montage.

Ashes was a very special wonderful person and was totally dedicated to Clay.
Oh how I wish he had toured again sooner so she could have seen him. She will be seeing him wherever his career leads him. She'll be watching.

My condolences and prayers to Ashes family and friends. We will all miss her.

TommysMommy said...

There isn't much I can say that hasn't already been said.

Joan was a wonderful woman and she will be missed in a huge way by all of the Clay Nation.

Caro ... Thank you for your beautiful words and Aspiegirl's montage.

I'm so very sorry for the loss of your friend.

May Joan rest in peace and I hope her family can take solace in the fact that she was admired and loved by so many.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Caro for the tribute for Joan. I know she would be touched by all the kind words. She was a wonderful person. Talented and so kind. I never knew I could cry so much over someone I met online. The bond we make with each other is something I would have never dreamed could happen. I hope we always remember how much we mean to each other. The Claynation is one of a kind and so blessed with so many great people.

I send my prayers to Joans family and friends and I know that there are no lonely people where she is now because she will be there loving them just as much as she loved all of us.


Joan(cincy) said...

My condolences to Joan's family and thanks to Caro and Kathy for this beautiful tribute.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Caro for this beautiful tribute to Joan! Thank you Aspiegirl for a wonderful montage.
Joan, you maybe gone but you will always stay in my heart.Rest in peace, my friend.


MissSally said...

I believe that we know our online friends better than our "in Person" friends. That is especially true about Clay fans who have remained faithful since the beginning.
Joan leaves a legacy of beautiful art; reflecting a beautiful soul. I've never read a hurtful or negative comment from her.
I'll always think of Joan as a gifted, kind, giving and loving person.
Heaven is blessed with another very special angel.

Sandi said...

My condolences to Joan's family and friends.

Rest in peace. You will not be forgotten.

clayam said...

Thanks Caro and Aspiegirl, for this wonderful tribute to wonderful and suportive Clay Aiken fan...she will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go to her family.

Anonymous said...

This is truly very sad news. My heart is heavy, but I know that Joan is in a special place right now posting new and more beautiful blogs. I will miss her blogs and chats.

She was one of my very first friends on the OFC. She was always thinking about how I was doing and feeling. Never worried about herself, she had such an amazing outlook in life. I wished so much I would have had one more chat with her. She made a difference in my live and I will always remember her kindness.

Wishing her family peace and know that she will be truly missed by many!!

Thank you Caro and Aspiegirl for your beautiful tribute to our special Ashes.


Anonymous said...

Ashes to Ashes. Dust to dust.

"In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
Genesis 3:19

Anonymous said...

Hi Caro,
Thank you for this special tribute to our dearest Ashes. I'm hurting very badly.

Joan, my beautiful and sweetest angel. t's too painful for me to express myself now. I still can't accept that you're gone...that you won't be writing to me anymore...that I won't have you around to encourage, counsel and simply listen to all I have to say.

I am always with you, even when you are not able to feel me in your heart. Love you always..

Eternal Hugs,
Sally (bsrefong)

fgs said...

This is a wonderful tribute to a wonderful talented and caring person. Aspiegirl's montage is beautiful and I'm sure that it would have been appreciated by Joan. Joan had nothing but positive things to say in her blogs, she was a true supporter of Clay Aiken. She shared so many of her thoughts with fans and others who happened upon her blog. She will be greatly minssed.

cindilu2 said...

A wonderful tribute to a special fan and woman. Beautifully done Caro, and thank you Aspiegirl for the beautiful montage. Joan will be missed throughout the Clay nation. My deepest sympathies to her family.


bluecouchpotato said...

there are just no words...
i cannot claim to be anything to Joan -- i am just an ordinary passerby in the streets of the Clay nation, yet even i have laughed and cried at the beauty of her work and her obvious love of life, music and Clay.

Perhaps it is sweet solace that through the very technology that enabled us to be part of her life, she will continue to be part of ours, and so many others more will continue to wish they have known her.

scootieboots said...

thank you caro and aspiegirl for your beautiful tribute to ashes. in november, ashes shared with me that she was disheartened by the lack of viewing and comments at her blogsite and youtube. your tribute and all the lovely comments about her from the clay nation all throughout the internet surely have our special angel feeling the love we all have for her and her amazing works of art. i miss her very much. my prayers are with her family and friends. may she rest in peace.
fb ClayNation group

Ester-C said...

Ashes will be missed, not only by those near her but by many of us who are spread all over the world. I am thousands of miles away but I was able to share her devotion and love for Clay and the Clay Nation.

We love her labour of love and will always treasure it.

RIP Ashes. The Clay Nation will surely feel this loss.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know Joan, but I surely agree with her on "textism"!!
Why, oh, Why won't the OFC go back to a user friendly format?!
I admire those of you who have worked to work around/with it!
But it shouldn't be necessary!

Hugs to all who knew and miss Joan.


Ammon said...

I am so sad to hear of Joan's passing today. I haven't been online to read my email till this afternoon. I'm so thankful for the getting to know Joan at the OFC. Caro, thank you for writing this wonderful memories of how Joan touches all our hearts. We love her very much. Our prayers are for her and her family. She is in heaven smiling down on us all.
You are forever in our heart Joan.

God bless,
Rosa Shurtz

Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.