Friday, October 4, 2013

Bean's In A Box...


For those of you who knew Jillian personally, I’m sure you remember her nick name, Jilly Bean. That name originated when she was a very young girl. Jillian was in perpetual motion, always with a ball in her hand, or between her feet. She scampered like the wind, never slowing down until dark. And even then, bedtime was a challenge. Jumpin’Jilly Bean.

That high energy followed her where ever she went. She was a girl with a true zest for life. And it was contagious. You couldn’t help but feel alive when you spent time with her. And happy, and silly. There are days when I cannot for the life of me get my arms around the idea that this energetic being is not sharing this world with us anymore, and that the force of who she was, is just….gone. Some days I just shake my head in disbelief.

I’ve been avoiding going through her things. They have been sitting in boxes upstairs in her closet. One day a couple of weeks ago, I put on my big girl pants and started to dig in. The first box I came to looked safe, labeled, “Jill’s Shoes”. The second, “Jill’s Coats”. One by one, I went through her boxes of clothing until I came to the one labeled, “Jill’s Dresser”. Inside the box, nestled on top of some of her personal items, were her wigs. I took one look at those wigs and snapped the box shut.  The memory of Jillian, Steve and I, as we went shopping for those wigs, slammed through my heart, making it hard to breathe. I recalled trying really hard to make the outing fun that day. It was precious to see Steve gently pull back what hair she had left, as he placed the wig on her head. It was a sweet, loving moment those two shared together, and I got to be a part of it. Fun? No. Sweet? Absolutely.


I put the boxes away, knowing they’d be waiting for me when I had just a little more courage to face them again. Throughout the day and into the night, the thought of those boxes lingered with me. I kept thinking, “This is her life. Jillian’s life in a box”. Everything she ever owned is in those boxes. I touch her things, and I can still smell her. But now, I can feel her. She is all around me, my constant companion. She’s not about to be stuck in a box. Nothing could hold her. No one could tell her what to do, how to behave or how to think.  She is still bursting through this world, making waves.

Our family is headed to Lansing, Michigan this coming Tuesday to share Jillian’s story in front of the Committee on Regulatory Reform to support Bill 4405. This bill would ban tanning beds for minors in Michigan. I know Jillian will be with us as we speak out in her honor, for all of those currently effected by melanoma, and for the many people who are unaware of the dangers of tanning beds.

Life moves forward. It just does. We have many reasons for rejoicing and many opportunities to choose Joy.

This weekend is my oldest son, Jonathan’s wedding. Saturday he will be marrying the love of his life, Ashley. What a celebration of love. Jillian won’t be there to celebrate in the flesh, but I know she’ll be there is spirit, dancing and carrying on just like she always did. The Circle of Life. New life, new beginnings.



Jilly in a box? No way.

Peace and Joy~


9 comments:

  1. Beautiful (((hugs))) my friend

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    1. Thank you Sonja. Hugs right back to you!!

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  2. Thank you for continuing to share Jillian with us, Sue. You are so very generous. Best wishes to Jonathan

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    1. Thank you so much for the well wishes! Hugs!

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  3. Replies
    1. And I love you! And so did Beans. :)

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    2. And I love you! And so did Beans. :)

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  4. Susan I have just been looking through your blog from the UK, why I don't know? But the tears and lump in the throat take me back to last year to my own wife's loss to melanoma.
    In a very reflective mood the last few days and would like to send you strength on your journey x Brian
    http://lynnmasson.blogspot.co.uk/ Lynn's Melanoma Blog

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    1. Bria!n,
      I'm so very sorry for the loss of your wife. The memories just pop out unexpected, don't they? Thanks for your kind words. Strength right back to you

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