Dead Flowers from Joyce

Joyce Aspen is a 92-year-old who lives in Preston at Barclay Friends. She says she feels 22, but in the same sitting she’ll casually mention a mild heart attack she had last week in the same way you or I may mention a headache.

Joyce Aspen Photograph
Joyce Aspen with Recreation Coordinator, Abigail Ferris

Joyce’s apartment is covered, nearly floor to ceiling, with incredible art. Joyce has not had one moment of rest in her 92 years on this earth. Life had not been kind to her; she’s tough as nails and doesn’t want sympathy.  She just has things to do and doesn’t want to talk about it and that’s enough of that!  Joyce spends every moment of every day thinking of others, specifically family members for whom she is still primarily responsible. Her stories could fill novels. Her art could be in museums. Her spark could probably cure cancer.

Speaking of art, Joyce could charge admission and lead guided art tours around her studio apartment. Much of the art she produces herself, the rest was created by close friends and family.  She has a glass desk pushed up against the window, where she paints the birds she sees through the windows. One wonders if the birds know the significance their portraits hold. If they knew, would they stay longer by her window?

A favorite story Joyce like to tell is about her dear friend who never married but dated “more men than she knew what to do with”. Each relationship seemed to end in turmoil. After one particularly nasty breakup, Joyce was so tired of seeing her friend so devastated that she called a local florist and requested every single dead flower the florist had to be delivered, in beautiful ribbons and arrangements, to her friends’ front door.

She specifically requested funeral arrangement flowers. Later, her friend called her, laughing so hard she was crying. A ridiculous gift for another ridiculous relationship. We are forced to wonder if everything that grows has a purpose. Joyce would say there’s nothing wrong with dead flowers. Just look what the dead flowers did for her friend!