Saturday, March 30, 2013


Saturday. Here you are again. You are not my friend.

It’s the day before Easter. A day of rejoicing, hope and promise. I’ll be honest, this past week I haven’t felt much like celebrating.  This Easter is the first of many firsts our family will experience with “the empty table”. Even though the last couple of years, Jillian spent this day with Steve’s family, I knew where she was. We still talked.

Another first: I was in a taxi cab a couple of weeks ago with my friend Sheryl. The cab driver wouldn’t shut up. He kept rambling, and once his conversation became political, I shut down. Then he asked me how many children I had.I answered him.
“Four. Three here on Earth, and one in Heaven”. Silence.

Sheryl and I exchanged glances, both secretly happy that those words stopped any further conversation in its tracks. Poor guy. Well, not really.

I know many  people are going through the same set of “firsts”.  I, (we) sometimes feel that we need to be upbeat and happy. Sort of like putting on that happy mask. The tears of a clown. I don’t particularly like pretending I’m feeling something I’m not.

As I was talking with my sidekick Mary last week, we discussed this very subject . Kristen, Mary’s daughter, left us 10 years ago at the age of 20. On Christmas Day.  We laughed hard together when I told her that I’m just overall crabby these days. Pretty blunt, I know, but I recognize this in myself. I’m embracing it as part of the grieving process. Mary and I also discussed some of the terms we don’t like when referencing our daughters that are no longer with us. This is her take:

“My daughter didn’t die- her earthly body gave out on her, but she hasn’t missed a beat- she lives on in Heaven, just not physically with me. She still lives”.

Mary and Kristen

Now here comes the next part.

I’m grieving. I’m sad, I’m mad, and I’m missing my daughter terribly, as is the rest of our family. I am not happy about it. In a way, you could say I lost the “joy”. Even though our family is moving on with positive things, something felt “off”.

We have recently started the Jillian HayesFoundation.
I was given the opportunity to share Jillian’s story and spread awareness on WOODV 8 Daybreak yesterday.( click on the video one you get into the website). These all all very good things, it's what we have been striving for.

 And yet. And yet……

Until this morning. A Saturday. Good grief.

I’m listening to Pandora, and the song from Rascal Flatts begins to play, “Stand”. Oh, how I love it when Jillian speaks to me through music.

"You feel like a candle in a hurricane
Just like a picture with a broken frame
Alone and helpless
Like you’ve lost your fight
But you’ll be alright, you’ll be alright”

Cause when push comes to shove
You taste what you’re made of
You might bend, till you break
Cause it’s all you can take
On your knees you look up
Decide you’ve had enough
You get mad you get strong
Wipe your hands shake it off
 Then you Stand, Then you Stand"

Jillian is right there in my heart. She talks to me. She nudges me, and rolls her eyes when I feel sorry for myself. She helps keep me on track. I have been reminded once again that I must live my life like Jillian did. Falling Seven Times, Standing Eight. Always.

So tomorrow I will go into Easter with Hope. With the promise of new beginnings, with renewed strength. Hanging on to the knowledge that Jesus Lives. And so does Jillian, and Kristen. And your loved ones that no longer share the Earth with us.

Thank you, my precious daughter. I needed you this morning.



  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Karen! Happy Easter to everyone in Bay City!

  2. Happy Easter to your family!! xo

    1. Thank you, Diane! Happy Easter to you and yours!

  3. Oh how my heart tore and then mended again as I read this. You are in pain and grieving Sue,and that is not self pity.Never have I sensed any self pity on your part,and you have permission from everyone to be crabby any time you please. Also if you ever feel the need for a teeny weeny pity time or a big pity time,you go straight ahead my friend.
    But today you have faith in the Resurrection,and a ticket to Heaven . But don't rush things,OK? You have work to do....We need your voice and passion.

    1. Thank you, Valerie for the kind words. Don't worry, I wont rush anything. Just one day at a time, that is all I need to do for today.

      Hugs to you, my friend!

  4. Susan this really touched me and this paragrah most of all (Jillian is right there in my heart. She talks to me. She nudges me, and rolls her eyes when I feel sorry for myself. She helps keep me on track. I have been reminded once again that I must live my life like she did). I also feel my Tina doing the same thing to me during those times. I often look to heaven and say I hear you dear and I am trying. Sometimes it works and sometimes not...But heaven is their reward and will one day be ours. Hugs to you and also during all your first. But our belief in our savor is our future!

    1. Thank you Rose. Not always easy to do when what we really want is to have our loved ones here with us. Faith keeps us moving forward. :)

  5. Hey Susan,

    I just randomly found your blog. I was diagnosed with melanoma in February of 2011 at age 28 and am currently no evidence of disease. I just wanted to say your courage and wisdom and patience moves me and even though I never knew her, Jillian is in my heart too.

  6. Oh Julia. Thank you for this post. It makes me happy to know that Jillian still lives on in others. Congratulations on being NED! Keep standing, young friend!