Monday, December 17, 2012

Connecting the Dots~ Part I

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~

14 comments:

  1. You are amazing. I think about you and Jillian every day and I say many,many prayers for your whole family. You are loved and you have a very special gift Susan. You are making the best of what life has given and you have taught me so much! I love the way you look at everything. Nothing but love and great admiration for you my friend! xoxo

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  2. Thank you, Melissa for your continued prayers, love and support. I love you right back, my friend!

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  3. Susan you are truly amazing easy to see where your daughter gets it from. My brother Jack Beld died after a 2 year battle with Hodgkin's disease in 1979, just 3 years after he married the love of his life he was 23, I was 22 and it was not talked about much even in our big family:( either. Hoping that you and Jillian continue to have friends and family close. You both continue to be in our prayers...hugs Sue and Don Piers (Casey's mom and dad)

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  4. Thank you Sue. We have everything we need right now. Our family surrounds us constantly. We are truly blessed.

    Hugs and love!

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  5. Susan,
    I am in awe of you and your love, encouragement, and strength that you show to others while watching your daughter slowly drift away before your eyes. I can not possibly know what you are going through but wanted to let you know that I have been following your postings and feel as though I am getting to know you and Jillian through your well written postings:) My heart goes out you and Jillian and pray for you daily:) Blessings, Donna Piunt

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    1. Donna,
      Thank you for your support and your prayers. And thank you for reading and sharing Jillian's story!
      Hugs,
      Sue

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  6. You are very special, just like your beautiful daughter. You are saving lives by telling this story of love and grief. We are grateful for your strength and grace.

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    1. Thank you Rene' for your kind words of support. Jillian is beautiful, inside and out. :)

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  7. Dear Sue-
    I wish that I could have know your friend, Debbie. She sounds like she was truly one of The Special, Irreplaceable Souls that walk the Earth for a brief time, yet leave an indelible impression on our hearts. Thank you for keeping her memory alive.

    Love from, Roz

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    1. Debbie was an angel. She too, touched everyone she met. I miss her still,and it's been 30 years since she's been gone.

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  8. That will truly be a gift of healing to all. Thank you for being willing to give of yourself, to so many. I know Jillian is proud of her Mama.

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    1. Thank you Karen. I'm so proud of her, and her spirit, and her strength.

      Hugs!

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  9. Susan, thank you so much for sharing Jillian's story. Your honesty about what you are going through will definitely save others. I have a young daughter and I can't imagine what it would be like to lose her. I have shared Jillian's story with every awareness presentation I have done since I found you online. I tell the students that at 23 Jillian's life is ending, but it should just be beginning. Bless you and your family.

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  10. Beth,
    Thank you for helping spread awareness,and sharing Jillian's story!
    xoxo

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