Saturday, December 8, 2012

When Tragedy Strikes....

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.



  1. The words escape me...

    I am thinking of you and your incredible family, Susan, especially your girl. She has changed my life with her journey.

  2. Truly touching beyond words..

  3. There are no words to express my sadness for you and your family. Jillian sounds like an extremely strong young woman and a beautiful soul. I will make sure my father reaches out to her in Heaven and gives her a great big Warrior Hug--Melanoma Warriors deserve them, always. Stay strong. Your beautiful words have hit me very hard and deep. You're an amazing mother. You raised a strong, beautiful daughter. I hope you all find peace soon.

  4. May your family have peace soon, I am deeply saddened that Jillian's disease has taken over, melanoma is horrible. prayers for your, may peace find your home.

  5. All our love, prayers and support during this most difficult time.

  6. Those are beautiful words from a mother to a daughter and Jillian is lucky to have you as her mama! I have read your blog for a long time and have quietly been rooting and praying for your daughter and your family. It has been just heartbreaking for me to read your lastest posts with Jillian's struggles. As a Stage IV melanoma survivor, I often feel guilty for my own success because I want every one that is facing melanoma to have that same success. It just isn't fair.

    Your perspective and attitude is right on though. Jillian's legacy will live on well beyond her life here on Earth. She will continue touching people with her gifts and light!

    My prayers and love to Jillian and your family...

  7. My Dear Sue-- I always say that when one of my children has a cold...I feel as though I have emotional pneumonia! Every little sling and dart of fate that touches their lives reverberates through our hearts. Their pain, sorrow and suffering is a living entity for us parents. And now you face the truly unthinkable with grace and kindness. You have found the strength to share this Journey with the world. Most would hunker down and attempt to "lick their wounds" away from the eyes of others. But you, Jillian and Steve, decided early on to use this tragedy for good. To show us all how to live a life, regardless of the duration, in a manner reflective of God's love, with character and verve! Thank you my friend! You WILL change the World as you continue the work that Jillian has already begun. You are all in my constant thoughts--constant, day and night! We will never abandon you all as the Journey twists, turns and hurts. Love from, Roz

    1. These are heartfelt thoughts that as a Mother,I feel completely. I was drawn to Sue and Jillian because our daughters are close in age and that makes it very tender for me. And then of course the courage and love was compelling,and I could never leave them. Not then,not not, not ever. That is my promise to Jillian and Sue.

    2. These are simply beautiful words!, Valerie, that express what is in the hearts of so many of us that cherish the Hayes-Wagner Family!

  8. Oh my God..what heart breaking words spoken by a most loving God sent Mother. No Mother should have to say those words, but we don't get a choice in some things, do we?
    Really Sue it is unfathomable what you,Jillian, Steve,and the entire family have endured. A man from church who I unexpectedly encountered on my dog walk today said,"life is to be enjoyed,not endured." Those are wise words, but sometimes they can't be separated. I hope Jillian feels like the enjoyment part wins.
    I pray often that you all will be lifted up and that you will find the strength and comfort that you need. And I especially pray that God will wrap his arms around you,and ready your hearts to see him face to face.
    Peace to you my friend

  9. Please know Jillian, Steve, and you (and the rest of your family) are in our hearts, thoughts and prayers.
    Knowing our Lord Jesus will hold you close with his grace, comfort, and peace. Faith is our anchor...
    love and many hugs to you all, Sue and Don Piers

  10. You are in my heart. You and Jillian and Steve know what it means to live...and love. You have taught us all. Your journey will bless us today and tomorrow. Thank you.

  11. That is so beautiful and I know Jillian continues to make an impact on us and you have too. I agree with Christina that as a stage IV warrior, I feel guilt myself. This is not fair, a mother shouldn't have to go through this. I have a friend who lost her 20 year old to this damn disease and my heart hurts for her. It is so true about saying what you want to say before it's too late. I wish you both love and I know that with you by her side, she will know how much love there is surrounding her. I thank you for sharing your very personal thoughts with us. <3 will conquer all.

  12. Sue & Family; May God give you all peace! I feel all that you have said and you are so right, her light will continue to shine always! You, Jillian and your family are such and inspiration to me! Blessings to all of you! I know that God is your strength it shows in all your writings and in your heart! Thank You for what you have given me as you continue your Journey! Please Jillian a hug for me tell her I love her and Steve very much! I will continue to pray for all of you! Jillian, you are Love, Hope and Peace in the hearts of many! God Bless, Pauline Ray