Joyce Rothman, Woman Of Strength, Dignity And Courage

by Sherry Riter in Death,Self-Development  

Joyce and Karen

On Wednesday, February 3, 2010, at 3:27 p.m., I received my first email from Joyce Rothman. Over the next month, we talked many hours about writing, blogging, being a mother of one daughter and the joys of being a grandmother. Joyce hired me to help her understand the design aspects of a blog and to teach her all about how to market her writing on Twitter, Facebook and all over the internet. Joyce wanted to learn SEO, but mostly wanted me to be a ghost across the internet while she worked on writing a book.

To get to know more about Joyce so that I could help market her better, she sent me this information in an email:

“Karen, my daughter and her babies – Lexi and Tyler are the most important people in my life.

I love cooking, gardening, reading, music (blues, especially), design and of course writing. Good wine, good friends, walking, smelling salt air and nature.

My favorite color is green and my favorite season is spring.

You asked, “Why do you like writing?” My answer is “To Make Sense of It All” – making sense of life, healing, growing, creating.

I’ve been writing for 30 years.

I live in a little coastal town that is dubbed “The Gateway to Cape Cod”. I moved here from Boston 7 years ago, fulfilling my long time dream of living in a village by a beautiful harbor. I wanted my life to be simple and it’s not quite there yet, but getting closer. I have 1 daughter and 2 grandchildren whom I adore. I’ve been a RN for 40 years and in my more energetic days; I worked in Intensive Care Units and Emergency Rooms. I went for the adrenalin rush until I burned it all up.

After I started meditating years ago, my writing jumped to a new level where answers to my questions started flowing out of me. They say that we all have the ability to tap into divine consciousness and I believe whole-heartedly that I had connected. Incredible wisdom came through me and I knew I had because this information was and is often so profound. That’s when the real growth and change started. My life today has no resemblance to those earlier years although I continue to grow and learn, overcome and change some more.

When I became more confident in my writing ability, I shared what I’d written with the hope that if it could have such a positive impact on me, others might also find the comfort, support, wisdom and love that we can access inside of ourselves. So, I began putting it out there and am getting feedback that it is inspiring others and giving hope. My memoir, “Making Sense of It All” is a journaled account of my life from three perspectives: my heart, my mind and the soul of my spirit.”

In May of 2010, my daughter had a horrible experience which left me with PTSD. Joyce called and wrote encouraging words all the time.

Then in July, she told me her terrible news. A few days later on July 6, 2010, Joyce wrote the following on her blog:

“Today I learn I have lung cancer. I feel like I’m writing this about someone else but it’s me.”

On August 13, 2010, my dad was diagnosed with several very aggressive cancers and on October 15, 2010, he passed away.

Joyce remained positive about her journey and through all the tragedy, we became friends. It wasn’t hard to love Joyce and I always felt better after talking to her on the phone.

For the past two years Joyce has been on a roller coaster of experiences and emotions while fighting for her life. Today, July 25, 2012, cancer finally won the battle and Joyce Rothman, at the young age of 64 has passed away. She no longer suffers pain, but her family and friends already miss her.

Joyce once wrote something that has stuck with me. Each time “something” happens or I meet someone new, I remember what Joyce said:

“I can’t help but think about me, with cancer, in relationship to all there is and what the lesson is. If my journey is part of all there is, then my journey isn’t just mine. It touches everyone in some way, just as everyone’s journey touches mine.”

Joyce touched my life with her compassion and loving friendship. I feel honored to know a woman who lived and died with dignity, strength and grace. God bless you, Joyce.


This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gloria Faye Brown Bates July 28, 2012 at 6:34 am

This touched my heart in such a way as to leave goose bumps on my skin. I was feeling deeply what I read, I couldn’t read farther…. the pain. I’ve been through so much like she has… I was hoping to ‘Follow’ her blog…. then, when I read farther on your blog… I realized your special friend died. I am so, so sorry. I sit here caring with my heart. Gloria/Granny Gee I just know she was a beautiful person…..


2 The Redhead Riter July 29, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Thank you.


3 RLS August 9, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Thanks for writing about Joyce. I started reading her blog in November 2011 when I found out my brother’s lung cancer had returned. His is just 41 and has two young kids. I found myself sitting up night after night researching and looking for hope. I looked forward to Joyce’s blog writings. I’m glad I happened upon yours too.


4 The Redhead Riter August 9, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Thank you RLS for visiting my blog. I’m glad you were able to read Joyce’s writing and that you connected. My dad was diagnosed right before Joyce, but he passed away three months later and Joyce kept living and writing. She was often a comfort to me in times of sadness when I missed my dad. {{{hugsss}}}


5 RLS December 2, 2012 at 5:19 am

Hi, I’m back; looking for answers. My brother passed away 11/23/12. I’m glad he is no longer in pain and I feel he truly went peacefully, but it’s still hard to realize. I connected so much with Joyce while she was going through her “journey” and blogging, then once July came and I read she had passed, it was a big turning point for me. I felt lost and sad that she was gone because she could no longer tell me what my brother’s journey might be like. I also started caring for her, her daughter and grandkids.
And now he is gone too. I’m just looking for something familiar since things are so unfamiliar right now.
I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. Thanks for sharing about him.


6 Sherry Riter December 2, 2012 at 1:29 pm

I’m sincerely sorry for the loss of your brother. I have found that when someone I care about passes away, there are so many emotions that bombard me at one time. If they were in pain, I’m overwhelmingly grateful that they are not suffering any longer. However, nothing feels right or normal. Everything in the world feels wrong. It makes no sense that the sun keeps coming up and people keep on doing things they have always done when I feel a big void. I give myself time to grieve the way I need to grieve. There is no time limit and no “right” way for grieving. Let all the little stuff slide and focus on you. Give yourself time to cope. My thoughts and prayers will be with you. {{{hugsss}}}


7 Marc Lippa- Brother of Joyce Rothman July 28, 2012 at 9:56 am

Thank you!!! Very Touching & truly Thoughtful.
Karen’s email is
Cell: 774-210-0206

With warmth,


8 The Redhead Riter July 29, 2012 at 1:12 pm

My pleasure. It was easy to write about Joyce because she was so wonderful.


9 Skip_D July 28, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Joyce sounds like a wonderful woman & a very special friend, whose death diminishes all of us, whether we knew her or not. I regret not having known her, & send my deepest condolences to you, her family, & her friends.


10 The Redhead Riter July 29, 2012 at 1:13 pm



11 Joan July 28, 2012 at 8:27 pm

This was a very beautiful and moving tribute to your dear friend, Joyce. I know that the memories you have of her will always live on in your heart.


12 The Redhead Riter July 29, 2012 at 1:13 pm

So true, Joan. We always have our memories.


13 Virginia Llorca July 28, 2012 at 11:18 pm

What a touching, beautifully written tribute. I always feel so at sea when a beautiful soul like Joyce is taken from this world that so needs her.


14 The Redhead Riter July 29, 2012 at 1:14 pm

It really makes you contemplate the whole meaning of life when someone passes away. Thanks for your comment.


15 Susanne July 29, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I can only echo what everyone has already said. When Joyce originally found the courage to share herself in her blog, I’m sure that her family, friends and followers were so glad to be a part of her world. We always hold a special place in our hearts, for those who have touched our lives in profound ways. Because Joyce was willing to put herself into words, her spirit will be that much closer. I hope that this be of some comfort, to all who will miss her terribly.


16 The Redhead Riter August 2, 2012 at 1:17 am

Very true…Joyce will always hold a special place in my heart.


17 Annie August 1, 2012 at 3:10 pm

I’m so sorry to hear this. What a beautiful post you have written, a real tribute to her. Cancer sucks…we all need to be reminded at times that Every Day Here is a Gift.


18 The Redhead Riter August 2, 2012 at 1:25 am


“Cancer sucks.” Yes, you can say that again. Did you read my post about Kathy Griffin and what she did for cancer awareness?


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