Culture & Society ---
Joyce died several years ago in early September. The last time I saw her alive was just before midnight on my birthday, about a week before she passed on. She was in sort of a coma and hooked up to all kinds of tubes. I believe she knew that I was there, for when I held her hand and spoke to her she began to moan and squeeze my hand. That night I had decided to wait until all her other visitors had left before going in to see her. It was the only time I had visited her while she was hospitalized after having slipped and fell following a stroke that left her somewhat in a coma. I did not go to her funeral - an action that will certainly invite the stricture of society. I could not bring myself to do it; neither did I want to do it. I went to work instead. She would have understood. I know she would. Others certainly didn't. I could imagine her smiling and saying to the others, "That's Ricky for you." I visited her grave for the first time last year. I do no intend to visit it again, for she is not there. She is entombed in my heart along with all the memories I have of her from my childhood and my adult life.
One of my many remembrances is of her taking me (at age twelve) to the Brickdam Cathedral in Georgetown, desperately seeking Divine intervention and compassion for an abscess (on my upper left arm) that plagued me for almost a year. What stayed with me was her willingness to move heaven and earth, to make any sacrifice to seek out help for me. I can only imagine the pain in her heart from having to hear me cry night and day and from watching me endure sleepless nights on account of the excruciating pain I experienced because of that abscess. Then there were those many occasions on which she would put a twenty dollar bill in my pocket and chide me if I objected. This was when I was in my thirties and forties. Joyce (or Veronica or Vernice as she was also called) was truly a remarkable woman. Every remembrance of her brings a warm smile to my face.