Saying goodbye to Joy
Almost 17 years ago, as a relatively young couple, my husband and I encountered one of our most memorable disagreements. It started with what he thought was a brilliant idea of applying for a very interesting program at Harvard University in Boston, while we were living in Israel. At the time I was managing my own psychology practice along with raising two young babies. It meant for him leaving for 3 month. If you are a mother and you know what it means having a career, and little ones, you’ll understand my less supportive reaction. I simply said: nice try, in another life.
A few month later, following tough negotiation both with the Harvard Business School and with me, (not sure which one was easier), he was on the plane to Boston. This program changed our lives in many ways, one of them was adding Joy into our family. Joy was my price and part of our family for 16 wonderful years.
When we reflect today on the journey we had together, three continents, countless places we visited, the amount of poeple who's heart she touched, it is hard to belive, I am talking about a dog.
Joy was a very significant part of our life. Many times I speak about her as our "family transitional object", a term that was coined by the child Psychologist Donald Winnicott. The term usually refers to an item used to provide psychological comfort at the young age, especially in unusual or unique situations.This objects may take the form of a blanket, a stuffed animal, or a favorite toy. It is very common to see a young kid finding comfort with the help of this very particular object.The transitional object is usualy important at the time of going to sleep and as a defence against anxiety.
As transitions and adjusting to new life in a forign country can present challenges , no wonder that we could use some help. No matter where we were, the number of moves, when Joy was there, it was home to us. She was the source of emotional stability, especially in times of change and uncertainty.
I enjoy thinking about the different neighborhoods in the world were people recognize me by our dog, yes, I was the mom with the black and white spotted dog, and I loved it.
Joy witnessed our life with patience and flexibility. She was with me in the room when I worked in my private practice as a Psychologist, greeting my clients and many times making them feel comfortable. She was with us cheering at our kids sports events, she chased after German chickens, and French bunnies, she hiked the white mountains and swam in the ocean. Most of all she was a team player, always offering connection and comfort.
The last weeks were hard, she was getting tired, we knew it was the end, but you can never be ready to let go a member of the family, a true friend and such a source of love and tenderness. As an expat, I should probably be well trained in saying goodbye and dealing with loss. It didn’t really help. It is so hard. We had so say goodbye.
Thank you Joy for 16 amazing years, you gave us love and raised our family well. We will miss you.