I just watched Grandpa Bob receive the news of another of his friends dying. He met Joyful (then Nancy Joy) in the early days of LSD and then MDMA experimentation and they developed what he described as his life’s most emotionally open relationship. They lived together off and on for decades. Grandpa Bob says that she had an almost magical way of recognizing exciting opportunities and making things happen, as well as smoothing over tense situations.

I hung out with Joyful on Maui during the year 2000. Joyful was her legal name. She showed me a credit card, which said “Joyful Joyful.” She said, “They told me I had to have a last name.” I’m not a big fan of hippy names, but hers really seemed to fit. She was joyful, and not in that stuck, chronically cheerful way. She also seemed to collect the most interesting people into her circle, always lived in a supremely beautiful space, and was easy and fun to be around. She moved fairly often and seemed to be able to effortlessly recreate that feeling wherever she went.

Grandpa Bob is 95 and by that age almost everyone you have been close friends with has died. All of his high school friends, everyone he knew from the Air Force and WWII, teachers, students, business partners, girlfriends, everyone except his family and his old friend Rollie, who’s 96 and lives down the street.

Knowing that, it was interesting to watch him get the news. He actually brightened up and reminisced for a while, looking relaxed and pleased, about how great she had been and how much he liked her. He said, “Well, she had a wonderful life. I can’t be sad about that.”

Goodbye, Joyful, and thanks for keeping my Grandpa Bob such good company.

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