Six Million Ways

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The other day while I was working at Summer Jam, during a little downtime, I was surfing around on my Facebook. It came to my attention that one of my Sorors had changed her status to reflect the wishing of restful peace to another Soror of ours who isn’t quite my age yet. So, like many sorors – I questioned it and more so, i doubted it. Impossible that she might have passed. She just updated her Facebook page on Thursday to say she was headed to Philly. Impossible. After a little investigation, it was revealed to be true. My Soror Jimmia Joy Woodyard has passed on from this Earth at the age of 29. We’re told that she was feeding her baby daughter (who, according to her Facebook she had just found reputable daycare for) and while feeding, she had a fainting spell and never woke up.

My most memorable moment with Joy was at a stepshow being held at Hofstra in 2006. Earl was judging so I tagged along. When I arrived there were Sorors from all over the city. Even my line sister, Nique, came through. But for whatever reason, we weren’t all together. A few here. A few there. Which – actually – I wasn’t used to. So I tried to find out why. Some newer sorors from a chapter that shall remain nameless had taken it upon themselves to “shade” Sorors they think “skated”. (Funny enough, the list included me and my LS cause they didn’t know who we were). I found this out while speaking to Soror Joy who was also listed and standing with another so-listed soror a ways away from the “official Sorors”. I knew I could walk over to those girls and politely mention to them that I knew their dean’ dean’s dean. But the spirit with which Soror Joy was deflecting their negativity moved me to stay right where I was. She laughed it off, assured me that she was comfortable with her membership and participation in the Sorority and couldn’t wait to see the show. Smiled the whole time. Unphased. And I was proud of her and honored to be relegated to her section. She enjoyed the show and went home. I regarded her differently from then on. She was focused. She knew what she was here for and didn’t even wish harm or negative will towards them. and I continue to admire that about her.

In a world where death is so frightening because of the gruesome and heartless ways we kill each other or ourselves… I am not distraught at how Joy passed. In my version of how it happened, she was peaceful with her baby daughter, whom she was caring for tenderly. And they both drifted to sleep in the silence of the home. With thoughts of a husband that loves her and the promise of her baby’s bright future, the Lord whisked her away. Painlessly. Quietly.

She will be sorely missed, but there is no question on where she is now.

Rest in peace, Soror Joy.



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