Tragedy can strike at any time and to anyone. It can disguise itself in many different ways. It can be a loss of a parent, a sibling, spouse or a friend. Or a child. It can be the breakup of a relationship, or the loss of a job. Either way, when tragedy strikes, it can be crippling.
Watching my child decline a little bit each day, knowing the end is near, is the hardest thing I’ll ever have to endure. Nothing can compare. Ever. Watching Jillian cry as she understands exactly what is happening to her, and that I can’t fix it, is devastating to my heart.
I just got done reading some of the face book posts that people have been putting on her wall and on the face book page I created for her, Jillian Hayes- Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight. Tears slowly slid down her face as I read the beautiful, heartfelt letters from friends, schoolmates and soccer teammates. It is frustrating for me because I cannot get into her head. I still cannot wrap my arms around the reality she is dealing with now, facing her own death. I just tears me up inside. I can’t make this go away like a mama should be able to. All I can do is love her through it and to assure that she has made a huge difference in everyone she has touched in her short, interrupted life. And how much I love her, and how proud I am of her.
When I finished reading all the posts from her friends, I asked her if she wanted to hear what I wrote for her. She nodded her head yes. I am happy that I got the chance to tell her once again how special she is to me, and what she means to me. I’m happy that I was able to tell her about her Grandpa’s promise to me before he died and that he is waiting to greet her with open arms when she gets to heaven.
Before tragedy strikes you or your family, if you have words that are unspoken to someone who is special to you, say them now.
Here are some of the things I read to her today. Words to Jillian from her mama.
This hurts Jillian. From the moment you were born into this world twenty three years ago, you have been teaching me and everyone around you what it means to live. As a child you had such a zest for life, which continued on as you became a young adult. You are a magnet. Others are just naturally drawn into your light. That inner light grew brighter with each passing day, gently touching people where ever you went.
Just as your life was getting started, you were given the most difficult challenge any young person could face. And like any challenge on the soccer field, you took this one on with fierce determination and courage.
You, my daughter, have been my precious gift. You have taught me what it means to Stand. To be able to see joy, love and laughter in the middle of so much strife. You have inspired me and so many people throughout your melanoma cancer journey. People from all over the world know your story, and you have given them Hope when they couldn’t find it themselves. I am so proud of you sweetie and so incredibly blessed to have been your mama.
So now, that light that is you will shine on within us. It will burn brightly and pass from one person to the next, spreading joy and love and laughter. There is no stopping it.
Your job here on Earth is almost complete. I promise you that I will pick up where you left off, shining your light for all to see. I will make you proud,
Well done sweetie, well done.