Dear, dear Joyce:
In a past post I wrote about you. I posted a photo of you in the garden beside the old house where you lived with Grannie and Granddaddy.
You had a stroke last November. Remember? you were at work and then you grew tired and left to live in the recesses of your brain. They carried you to the hospital, however, it was a massive attack on your brain. I called that day. There was no answer at your phone. I just thought you’ll were out to lunch and would call back in a few days to finish planning our trip to see Susan.
The call came with the news of what had happened. I wanted to go straight away, however, it is not safe for me to travel alone any more, therefore, I waited thinking that I could find someone to go with me. This seemed to get lost in the ups and downs of winter and in the spring my grandson came to live with me.
Time passed. My sister would ask about you about once a week “Have you had any news about Joyce or Susan” and I would say, “No” and she would say “You should call Wilson.” I would reply, “He will call if there is any news to report.”
He called today. I knew when I saw the number at 7:03 a.m. that it was not good news. I was out walking. He asked how I was and I said “fine” dreading to hear what would come next. He then said: “Joyce died this morning, Charlotte called a little while ago.” He said he did not know anything else but would call me when arrangements were made.
The town-crier stared at me as I stood on the corner wondering whether I should go right, straight ahead, left or back home. I continued walking. He asked me if he should cry out your name and I said “No” The Universe, God, called her name. You heard them. Did you not hear them Joyce? did Granddaddy come and walk with you to greet the family? Whomever came, you went with them to another place located somewhere beyond this physical plane.
Remember Joyce, Walt, died earlier and they carried you to the funeral home to see him. I would not have done that because I think your knowing he had died was too much for you to comprehend in your weakened state and perhaps you wanted to die and just be with him. I don’t know. However, you continued to live on and those who knew you best made the journey to see you. Did you know them? Would you have known me? Were you waiting for someone special to come before you died and they never came? Was it me?
I did not go. I never made the time or found a way. I let you lie there without going to see you and say “Goodbye…I’ll see you later” because these days when we say goodbye it very well could be for the last time. I did not go.
Time passed and I prayed for you every day and Clytice kept asking and I kept stating the same thing. Clytice did care, you know. The two of you should, ought, needed to talk. You did not and now the two of you will have to wait to see each other on the other plane. Maybe it will work out over there. I hope so. You were so close growing up. The four of you were so close, Murry, Brown (your brother), Clytice and you….the four musketeers.Now only one is left of the four. Perhaps I will be lucky enough to go before her. I would be so totally alone without her. Why do we wait until it is too late to say what is important? You know the answers now. You have a new body and a new mind now. I can hear you playing the piano as I write this. You were so talented.
This has been a year of funerals for me, Joyce. You are number 12 and the year is only about half over. How do I keep from being so deeply depressed. There has to be a reason I am here; I cannot seem to find it this year. Perhaps you will look into my heart and help me to understand what my life has been about; what legacy I will leave and what friends will remember.
I did not get to say any goodbyes; no long days in the mountains; nor the countryside where we grew up or where we played; for those friends who decided to let go and leave…no time to laugh at our escapades or cry about our lost loves whether real or imagined; a lot of black holes and lots of memories.
It is time to let you go and it is a struggle because there are so few of us left now. There is Clytice then me, and then the younger ones will come after us; not many though, because some of the young ones left early…dying out of time, through tragedy.
A friend from Wales sent me the beginning lines of the poem by John McCreery.
“There is no death! the stars go down
To rise upon some other shore,
And bright in Heaven’s jeweled crown,
They shine forevermore.”
You will shine forevermore in so many lives you touched. There is no death for you; you live on through those who loved you and will continue to love you as long as they live.
God knows: we will.