Sunday, January 6, 2013

"Where Are You Going?"

It’s been one week and one day since Jillian has left this Earth. The week has passed quickly, the week has gone by at a snail’s pace. Family have been in and out of my house constantly. Arrangements for Jillian’s Celebration of Life needed to be completed. The kids, Steve and I, spent several hours going through photo’s for the slide presentation for her visitation. So many photo’s. We all had pictures we wanted shown. It was therapeutic for us as we went through old photo albums remembering and laughing about fun times.  Each of us felt Jillian’s  presence. In the end, the presentation lasted about 25 minutes. It was beautiful. 

Thank- you, for those who came to Jillian’s visitation. It was so nice seeing people I hadn’t seen in years. So many kids, parents of soccer team mates, teachers, coaches. Someone said to me, “Does all this really help”? Are you kidding me? Yes, it helps. These are the people who have been praying and supporting Jillian and our family. These are the people who have their own memories, their own grief to cope with. It helps our family, and it helps them. Yes, it is hard to go through. But I think it’s important.

The service itself met all of my expectations. And more. It was geared toward the younger crowd. Why? Because Jillian was young. It is not the natural scheme of things to have a young woman of 23 die. There was a time of sharing of memories where I spoke, as well as Jillian’s brother’s, Jonathan and Joshua, and Jillian’s Uncle Jeff. The message was one of Hope, Love and Life. I know Jillian approved and was proud.

So now what? My house is empty, quiet now. The kids have left for various activities, Steve’s family from Bay City have gone home, and Steve went up north to his cabin to spend some alone time with Jillian.

I’m trying to figure out how to feel. Where do I fit in now? The last two years have been spent living around Dr. appointments, and caring for Jillian. I know I have a lot of emotional work to do. I haven’t properly grieved the death of my dad. My husband filed for divorce the day after Jillian came home with Hospice care. Jillian is gone. Now what? Now I have to learn how to navigate around that gaping hole that was Jillian. BUT, I’m not planning to fall into that hole. Maybe I’ll plant flower’s around it. Add a pond filled with fish and frogs.

The song “Where Are You Going?” keeps ringing in my head. I don’t know where I'm going yet. But I do know this. Jillian would stand. She would not let life’s circumstances break her. Jillian would live her life each and every day fully. She would have fun!  I’m terribly sad, but I’m not broken. I’m lost, but I’ll find my way. God hasn’t let me down so far, not once. I’ll listen for His voice, and wait for His exciting plan for me.

In the meantime, I’ll take Jillian’s lead. In honor of what she has taught us, I’m going to Fall Seven Times, and STAND Eight. Or eighty eight.

~Peace and LOVE!


  1. I have no doubt that you will STAND time and time again.

    My thoughts are with you as you prepare to travel down this new and windy road. XO

  2. As I have witnessed my sister-in-law grieve the loss of her daughter to Melanoma it amazes me the strength she has to continue Tina's passion to make others aware. She is relentless in her pursuit to make others aware, encourage legislators to pass laws against minor tanning, and give to those fighting the courageous fight. I have such admiration for all who fight this horrible disease with such dignity and touch so many. Prayers are with you. Kathy Hinkle

  3. You are a special person, Susan. I am so glad to "know" you and Jillian and her story. You will stand. You will find your way through all of this. Much love to you, Steve, her siblings, and anyone and everyone who loved Jillian.

  4. I celebrated life for Jillian this week by going outside and enjoying nature while skiing. I said Jillian,this is for you! I never met her,but thought she'd like that. hugs from California.

  5. Just as Jillian found her way down here on earth and now in heaven with her grandfather, you will find your way and outlets here in her memory, Sue. Bill (and his loss to the same beast) has taught me a lot. When I encounter a situation in which I am unsure what to do, I think "WWBD" - What Would Bill Do. When I keep that in mind, I know my solution and move along. I'm sure you will do the same with Jillian. She was with you everyday since she was born and she is still with you, Sue. Bless you and all your family.

  6. Praying for you and your family, Susan! Jillian's story is an inspiration to so many.

  7. From one mom with an "angel child" to another, you make me feel so embarrassed I don't have your strength! You & Jillian were a heavenly team for sure! I have Jillian & you in my heart, along with my son, Paul. Best wishes dear friend. Oklahoma sending their best for sure.

  8. I am in awe of you and your strength, Susan. I think we all know where Jillian got her strength from! You and your family are constantly in my prayers.