Aunt Joyce
"Aunt Joyce” - 3/01/2020
My wonderful, loving, compassionate, funny and encouraging Aunt!
You are in my prayers tonight and I am sending all of my positive energy and light 
To you, for you, with you, from you, for you have been as much of a lightening rod
To those around you as anyone I have ever met in my auspicious years as your niece
You have loved me and so many others unconditionally and with reverence 
For who each beloved truly was/is. From you I have learned to accept, to cherish
To grieve but to be grateful. You went through so much that I am just learning 
About and whether it was recovery, cancer, loss in any form you never failed
To remain grounded enough to stay in grace, strong enough to never lose sight
Of family, friends, beauty, poetry, G-d in all glorious manifestations
I have your humor and oh, how we have laughed. I have your soulfulness
And understood your spirit. I have your love of poetry and you made me promise
Only a few short weeks ago, to publish a book with my best poems and 
I assured you I would, so thank you for always being proud of me and 
Believing in my gifts, knowing as you did, they are only heirlooms
To be respected, nurtured and through which I can honor you, 
Your mother and father (my grandparents who sadly, I never met)
Tonight as you struggle to clasp what is ephemeral I have abundant
Faith that the richness of your life’s accomplishments in the form of
Love, love, love and LOVE - regardless of the permutations, whether in
Work, family, friendship or as the beautiful half of your most sacred partnership - 
Is woven around you and continues to keep you warm, fingers of angels
Moving as fast as they can to keep up with your own particular brand of
Tikkun Olam for if ever I have know a woman who embodied an angel
However tough an exterior you have chosen, at times, to don
It has been you and yet I will never forget the moments when varklempt
With recognition, you looked at me tearfully and told me how my grandmother
Would have been proud or how my Dad got his abc from my grandfather’s xyz
It has often occurred to me that you are the strongest, most resilient
Relative I have; earlier this year you sent me notes on the cancer diagnosis 
We both happened to share. You assured me I should take the fact that 
Yours never returned in however many years (25?) as a positive; I did.
You wanted me to know I was understood and that you had been through it
(And so very much more) so tonight as I pray for your comfort from pain
And your peace from exhaustion, I delight in our shared affection for all things
Steeped in emotion, sensitivity, empathy and art. You are perhaps my most
Kindred familial spirit and I wish I had known you when you were young
I have pictures of you, movie-star beautiful and carefree in black and white
But it is when I close my eyes and see your experienced hand hold mine 
Across a cafe table in L.A., tearful with ‘nachus’ and joy, that I know you best