Thursday, December 12, 2013

Simplicity Without Answers....

I don’t have the answers. My mind isn’t capable of grasping the full depth and meaning of life, even if I were given the opportunity to glimpse into God’s window. The universe and it’s majesty are just too big. I’d miss something, and I don’t want to miss anything. I’m not quite ready for His revelations.

December. It’s snowing outside, and absolutely beautiful in its simplicity. Last year, in August, Jillian asked how long she had to live if her treatments didn’t work. She was told that she may not see the snow fall. Well, she did, and I’m thankful for that.

 I look out my window at those huge white flakes and I’m reminded of her, and how she loved the snow. How she loved snowboarding with her friends. I’ll always remember Jillian when I see the beauty of a snowfall and its Simplicity.

Every single day since Jillian’s birthday in September, I'm reminded of things that happened a year ago. And dammit, the memories haven’t been good ones. I’ll be working, or in church, or driving, and random memories just flood my mind. I can’t stop then from popping in for a visit. And I don’t want to.

I remember how her left foot turned in on her wedding day, and how I was afraid she’d fall and break her ankle. I was reminded of the “Buffalo Hump” between her shoulders from all the steroids she was taking. I think about her short term memory loss from all the brain radiation and how frustrated she was. How difficult it was for her to concentrate just to unpack some boxes after she and Steve moved to Gobles. The thought of emptying them and putting them away was overwhelming to her. These are just a handful of memories I’ve been grappling with.

The other day I panicked. I dropped my cell phone in the toilet as I was cleaning. On that cell phone was a voice message from Jillian I had saved. I haven’t been able to listen to it yet, but I knew it was there and I know what it says. I had her voice just waiting for me when I was ready to listen. My very own treasure. I tried to get my phone to boot up, but it wasn’t working. I was devastated. I’d lost her. Again. Oh…..
I put the phone in a bag of rice, and was able to retrieve the voice message the next day. Whew!

Years ago a friend and I trained for a marathon in San Diego. I injured my hip during training and was unable to complete the training and compete in the race. I haven’t been running since, unless you count last May, when I participated in the Fifth Third River Bank 5K Run in honor of Jillian. I ran side by side with my grandson, Spencer. If you could call what I did as running. I walked most of it, Spencer running circles around me. This year, Spencer, Kaytie, Jenni, Josh and whoever wants to join us will be running again. I’m committing to a 10K. Ugh. I don't like to run anymore.

I went to the gym last night, and as I’m on the treadmill listening to my iPod, I hear some songs playing that I hadn’t loaded to my playlist. I have no idea how they got there. I can only think that Jillian must have loaded her playlist onto mine somehow. As I’m listening to the lyrics, I realize this was what she listened to while she was jogging last year. I was given a glimpse into her head: 

"Just one more day, one more day...
Let the world crash, love can take it.
Love can take a little, love can give a little more.
I'll stand beside you, never leave, through it all.
Faith will bring a way to the impossible"

There are several other songs that I wouldn’t normally listen to, but I’m going to listen to each one now. Jillian and I will be running together while I train. I will feel her close to me. I’ll  feel her pushing me on as I hate every minute of this running thing. I’ll think about her and  inspire to be as strong as she was, and to persevere even when I feel like I can’t run another step.I will push through it.

And I’ll think about all the other melanoma warriors I’ve grown to love, and how they battle each and every day with one demon or another. Whether it’s a physical demon, or a mental one as they struggle with this heinous disease. And I’ll hurt with them. And I’ll remember.

So, no.  I don’t have the answers. But I do believe I was given a gift last night.  I don’t need Jillian’s voice message on my phone to remind me that she’s here. She’s been here all along. Like my friend Becca said,
 “ She keeps finding a way to send love to you, doesn’t she?”

Yes. She does.
I’m not alone. None of us are.

~Peace and Love


  1. tears and hope...i know you are going to make it through today,tomorrow,next week,Christmas,December 29th and every day. i am so glad you shared this. Thank You. much much Love

  2. Beautifully written, as always, Susan.
    Sending you hugs from southwest Ohio and believing that you are so strong. So glad you feel Jillian's presence and that those songs are on your iPod.