In Memory of Joyce Johnston

In Memory of my Grandmother Joyce Johnston

In Memory of Joyce Johnston

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Dear Granny,

To say that it has been hard seeing you go would be the understatement of the year.

I have nowhere to begin. There is no real beginning. How many times you cared for me, loved me, taught me more things than you could ever humanly know. Maybe the easiest way to say it is that, well- in honesty- it’s far too broad a spectrum to be summed up in mere words.

You gave me your dark hair, your infectious laugh, your amazing sense of humor. How amazing you were, to have raised five wonderful boys as you did. Your legacy lives on in so many ways.

Now, late into the night, I am only comforted in knowing that you are no longer suffering but that you are now in a better place. I thumb slowly through the photos of you- from your wedding day, from your life- and the photos up to now- when you are no longer here with us in physicality but in spirit- in spirit, you are always here. Always have been.

Thank you for the birthday parties; thank you for everything. One of my favorites memories of you was after my parents had taken over your flower shop, though you still worked there all the time obviously- I was eight years old. It was the first time that I designed my own flower arrangement. You had such a gift with flowers. You told me excitedly, a day or two later, “We sold your flower arrangement yesterday!” Years later I secretly wondered if you had been the one to purchase it. It didn’t matter. You gave me a gift. A gift which I hold dear to my heart, to this day, and one which has shaped me in underlying ways that I understand now, deep into dark nights, as I lie sleepless in my bed, thinking of your laugh.

I write you here because I do not know where else to go with it. I write you here because I feel I did not say enough while you were still alive- we celebrated your life yesterday in a beautiful church with high ceilings and still, now I am left only with silence. I called you on your birthday this year- May 30th. You had joked with us at Easter, saying “We don’t celebrate my birthday.” You thought you were too old for birthdays. Perhaps I should’ve dressed up as a clown in a red wig with a big red nose as you did for me while I was a child. (I’m still terrified of clowns.) Perhaps there was more I could’ve done but perhaps the things I did were enough. Because that was how you were- you expected nothing from us, from me. You loved us – unconditionally, in a way that I’m not sure many people have the blessing of knowing.

I am comforted now, into this black dark night- December hanging on a string. I know you are in a better place- wherever it may be- and I am content. Your suffering is over. You lived fully, you graced all who knew you. You make me aspire to be a better woman. You always have. You always will.

I love you, always and forever. I will meet you in the next life- somewhere better.

All my love,

Jessica Joyce Johnston

family, joyce johnston, love, love and loss, shit i write, writing

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