Since September, when we received the news from our oncologist at U of M that Jillian’s tumors were growing, I have been really taking a good look at my life. I feel as if all the experiences I've had in my life have been preparing me for this time. Right now.
When I was newly married to Jillian’s dad, my best friend was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. At the time, cancer wasn’t something that happened frequently, especially to young people. At least not in my secluded world.
Debbie fought the disease for two years. After she died, I felt so alone. Her parents were dealing with their own grief. I didn’t have anyone to talk to really. I had other friends, but what I really needed was time with her family. I still needed to be connected to her somehow. I wanted to go through pictures of her with them. I wanted to laugh about the time we all drove back from Florida and her younger brother threw up in the hat we won at Disney World. I wanted to cry with them, laugh together. I just needed to share. I am convinced that if I had more opportunity to talk and grieve with them, I would have handled the loss of my best friend a little easier. As it was, it took me ten years to think of her without crying. I STILL think about her every day.
I have been receiving so many heartfelt messages from Jillian’s friends. I know they are struggling with losing their friend, classmate, and team mate and trying to make sense of it all. Several friends are using Jillian’s page, "Jillian Hayes- Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight" as a place to remember and to share and to post photo's. Many have lost friends recently,and it is frightening to face their own mortality when they lose one of their own.
Because of my own experience, I want to make myself available to whoever needs to get in touch with me. Message me on the page, text me if you want. Plan time to come see me so we can talk if you’d like. For those that know Jillian, she would want this.:)
This is just one of the dot’s that have been connected for me. The others can wait for another day to write about.
Love and peace~