TEMPLETON — The Central Coast had a very special birthday Monday, Jan. 28. Joyce Wright, a long-time Templeton resident, rang in another year at 103 years old. Born Jan. 28, 1917, Joyce has lived through the Great Depression, World War II, the Vietnam War, and the moon landing, to name a few. Joyce was surrounded by friends and family on Monday as her Wilshire Hospice care team threw her a birthday party to celebrate this momentous event. Wilshire’s Hospice Musician, Chris O’Connell, and Spiritual Counselor, Berkeley Johnson, co-wrote and sang a special birthday song for her that started with the lyrics, “Joyce has turned 103, she thinks it’s not a big deal. We beg to differ, and are all gathered here, to let you know just how we feel. We see a full life, graced with beauty and skill, and wonder, “Just how did she do it?” 

The rest of the day was spent reading notes from her “love jar.” These notes were collected from friends and family all over the country wishing her well on her birthday. According to Joyce the day was pretty special, “It was amazing. The whole thing was just amazing. Especially that love jar that I got with all the messages from everybody. There’s hundreds of them in there. I guess (a lot of people love me), because that jar was jam packed with notes. Everything was wonderful.”

While everyone enjoyed the birthday party, Joyce’s great-granddaughter, Haley Riggs, shared the importance of hospice in their family’s life these past couple of months, “When gram first got sick, when everybody came out, it was like all hands-on deck…. Nurse Nanci was trying to make her feel better, not cure her. And that’s the only reason she’s alive, is because of nurse Nanci. She would have been gone months ago. And so without Wilshire Hospice, I would have had a lot less time with her.” As the day continued, her hospice nurses brought lunch for the family and friends and even made a homemade cake with a family recipe. Joyce opened gifts and cards from loved ones, sharing tales of growing up and times past, with a big smile on her face. Haley shared, “she loves people and having visitors around her. So it’s so nice to see her surrounded by people, especially the people that helped her stay with us. She loves it whenever anybody from Wilshire comes. She gets so excited. So to have everyone here at once. She’s been looking forward to this and telling everyone about it.”

Getting through this together, Atascadero