My aunt Joyce (Vouvakis) passed away peacefully Sunday…we had a strong bond and I won’t lie, it was difficult watching her fade away this past week. Joyce was a take charge – no bullshit kind of woman who I admired growing up. She could be brazen and abrasive but she was also caring and kind.
In her younger years you’d find her dressed in the fashion of the day – from platform shoes in the 70s, to her Farrah Fawcett haircut and tube tops. And she was beautiful. Her ex-husband once told me she was the “prettiest girl in Jersey City”…when they met, she was just 16.
During an awkward time in junior high school she gave me a stylish haircut that gave me a boost in self confidence I so desperately needed at the time.
I have a childhood memory of her making us kids ice cream sandwiches with homemade waffles and slices of Neapolitan ice cream. (I remember thinking they were a slice of heaven). I talked about that years later with her and we had a laugh.
When she was in her 60s she began a business caring for mentally disabled adults – providing them with a home and stability…she did this even with an oxygen tank in tow. She was proud of her work with her “guys” who will be transitioning to another home.
My heart goes out to her kids, my cousins, Jimmy and Linda who are grieving her loss as they sort out her affairs. We all had a different relationship with Joyce but she was loved by her sister, kids, grandkids, nieces, friends, nephew and my SIL Cari, who was her caregiver the last few years. My mom has now lost both her younger siblings.
I believe Joyce had moved on to a space where breathing is no longer a struggle for her and she’s out of pain. But I will miss having this spunky woman in my life – and all our sit down talks.
RIP Aunt Joyce.
I will be eating a homemade waffle ice cream sandwich in your honor.❤️