🎋Remembering Joy🎋… by JoAnn

A colorful circle with the word joy in it.

I learned through social media a few days ago that a dear old friend had passed away. Her name was Joyce, but everyone knew her as Joy and that she was. She had made a post on Facebook about nine months ago that she was in hospice care due to her ongoing battle with serious health issues. It was a shock to me as she had not shared her illness until this announcement.

Joy and I were in elementary school together back in the 1960s. She was one of my favorite young friends. She was a beautiful little girl with long brown hair. She was the shortest girl in class and had big blue eyes and porcelain skin. She was truly a little doll and had the personality to match. I remember everyone being friends with Joy. I was no exception. I absolutely adored her!

I was a little shy and lacked self-confidence back then. Joy was pretty, funny, and well-liked by everyone. She came from a large family with older brothers and sisters, and her home life seemed much more interesting than mine. I was in awe of her and wished that I could be like her.

What I remember most about Joy was her talks with me when we were alone. We were in 3rd or 4th grade at the time, and our classroom had its own bathroom. The teacher would send 2 or 3 girls into the bathroom together to wash their hands before lunch. When Joy and I would go in together, she always took the opportunity to catch up with me and talk. She told me things about her home life, family, and other little stories she found amusing. But the talks I remember most were when Joy would witness to me about her Christian faith. She would quote bible verses to me and then explain what they meant. She told me about her older sister getting baptized and was more than happy to explain what that meant when I had questions. I learned that I could ask Joy just about anything, and she could give me the answer I was looking for. We were young girls mind you, but that little girl already had a close relationship with Jesus! One she kept throughout her entire life. Knowing Joy ended up being one of the most important reasons I chose the Christian path for my own life.

I moved away when I was 10, leaving behind all my precious friends at that little Tennessee elementary school. Joy remained in my heart forever, though. I always remembered her and all she had taught me. I still strove to be like her. I often wondered over the years how she grew up. Was she happy? Was she still pretty? When Facebook became a reality, and I jumped on the bandwagon like millions of others, I began searching for old friends from my school days. Of course, Joy was one of them. I was so happy to see that she was still around, still pretty, and still a Christian. She was also a mother and grandmother like myself. She was also divorced and had experienced her share of hard knocks. But she seemed happy and grounded, and that made me happy.

It’s really quite phenomenal to have known someone when they were very young, just in the first stages of their life. Then fast forward 50+ years, and they are now in their last stages. So many years, so many experiences, so many people to love. And I’m sure, so many to say goodbye to on your way out. I’ve thought about that a lot the past few days and how Joy surely had many goodbyes. It’s a see ya later for me, as I plan to see Joy again someday when it’s my turn to make that journey too. Until then, what a blessing you were to my life old friend, and I don’t even think you knew it. When I see you again, we’ll talk as we used to, and I’ll make sure you know.

Rest in peace, my sweet little friend.