I have news to share – it is both sad and happy…my heart feels heavy, but joy fills my heart at the same time! My dear, sweet friend, Jeanne, left her earthly body today to join her Savior, Jesus, in heaven. Right now she is walking those streets of gold, holding Jesus’ hand and having the time of her life!
Here’s a short re-cap of Jeanne’s Cancer Journey: Jeanne was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2007 and started chemo treatments soon thereafter. Zach and I got married in October, 2007. Despite being sick and worn out from her chemo, Jeanne did not want to miss out on our special day. So she and her husband Dale attended our wedding and were there beside my parents. She even went to Hawaii in February 2008, and was doing great! Then at Christmas time 2008, she was having back pain and after a few doctors’ visits, they realized the cancer was back. She started the chemo process again, to fight just like last time. The cancer reached too many parts of her body and she couldn’t hold on any longer. Last Thursday she took a turn for the worse, and Dale and the family decided to move her to a hospice center. The nurses took care of Jeanne and made her as comfortable as possible. This past Saturday night, Zach and I were able to stop by and visit with her at the hospice center. She was sleeping peacefully when Dale woke her to tell her I was there to see her. I talked to her for a bit while holding her hand – telling her how much I loved her and how much she meant to me. She closed her eyes because it was too hard to keep her eyes open and respond but although she could not talk back, I know in her heart she was telling me how much she loved me and that Jesus is calling her. I don’t understand why Jesus wanted to bring her home so soon, but He did. She cared for SO MANY people. There are people all over the world who know God’s love because she let it shine! Maybe even more people will know God’s love even through Jeanne leaving to be with our Father! If you want to read more about her journey, the blog Jeanne and her daughter, Laura Jayne, kept can be found here: http://jeannescancerjourney.blogspot.com
Dale & Jeanne have been in my life since 1998. They started attending our church, Heart of the Springs, in 1998 and they just fit right in with everyone – especially my family. Dale helped dad finish our basement just in time for Greg’s high school graduation party in May of 1998. Not only did they fit in with our family, but they became my family. They were always there, right beside my parents, almost like a second set of parents! Dale & Jeanne gave me a book for my high school graduation called “Balcony People”. The book is all about how you have encouragers and cheerleaders in your life – teaching you, mentoring you, cheering you on. Jeanne wrote in the front of that book telling me they were MY Balcony People.
Over the years, I have called Dale & Jeanne when I’ve been happy, sad, struggling, frustrated, etc. They would listen to my woes and encourage me. Sometimes what they had to say, I did not want to hear – but God placed them in my life as a second set of parents to help keep me on the right path. Even when I made choices they did not agree with, they told me their opinion, forgave me, and loved me – just like real parents! They were there during all my joyous occasions as well. As I said above, even though she was sick and worn out from her chemo, Jeanne & Dale came to our wedding. Jeanne walked down the steps to our wonderful ceremony and sat there with mom, arms wrapped around her, sharing the joy of our day. She was laughing and cracking jokes at our reception dinner – with smiles on both her and Dale’s faces! They have been my Balcony People – through thick and thin…. Loving me the whole way… Not letting me feel alone, ever.
I somehow lost the “Balcony People” book they gave me. When I heard that Jeanne was in the hospice center, I broke down and bawled! I could not lose my Jeanne!! I frantically started looking for my “Balcony People” book – I needed to read those words… I needed that comfort from a book that was given to me almost 10 years ago! I could not find the book; I don’t know how I lost it. I spent hours digging through boxes and came up empty handed, so I ordered a new “Balcony People” book. It should arrive this weekend. I can’t wait to read the words in that book and cry out of happiness because Dale & Jeanne were my Balcony People AND will continue to be my Balcony People! Jeanne will be cheering me on from heaven, while Dale is cheering me on from here on earth. Some day when I reach heaven, those who have gone before me will be awaiting my arrival with Jesus. Jeanne will be there – still cheering me on – loving me all the more!
I was driving home from work today and I heard the song “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me on the radio. As I listened to those words, I thought about Jeanne. I’m not going to write out the lyrics to the song, but I’m going to write out the words I sang as I listened to that song today:
I can only imagine what it’s like for her right now. She’s walking, by His side. I can only imagine, what she’s seeing, with His face, before her. I can only imagine! Surrounded by His glory, what will her heart feel? Will she dance for you Jesus? Or in awe of you be still? Will she stand in your presence or to her knees will she fall? Will she sing hallelujah; will she be able to speak at all? I can only imagine, I can only imagine!
Now every time I hear that song, I will think of Jeanne, in heaven with Jesus! She’ll be dancing and singing and laughing and praising God with all of her heart! She’ll probably even be cracking jokes – just like she did here on earth! She’ll be looking down on me and my family with joy in her heart!
I heard another song on the way home, where a child is reciting Isaiah 40:31 “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” That verse touched my heart. I know Jeanne suffered with the cancer and everything that came with it – but she was strong in the Lord, He gave her strength when she needed it and comforted her! He told her when it was time to come home, and she went… peacefully!
There is something about saying goodbye to someone so amazing that makes me want to strive even more to be more like Jesus. Every song I hear, every verse I read, the words touch my heart differently than they would have last week! Jeanne had a huge heart for the Lord’s work. She had love pouring out of her from every angle! I want to leave a legacy like hers… touching so many lives that when I leave this earth, people aren’t talking about ME, but they are rejoicing in the love of God that poured out from my life – a shining light for all to see!
My Sweet Jeanne – I love you! Thank you for the love you have shown me over the years! There is no way for you to know how much you have impacted my life. No words can describe just how much I will miss you! I know you’ll be cheering me on, from heaven, the ultimate Balcony. You will always be one of my Balcony People. Someday, when Zach & I have babies… you’ll be up there rejoicing because you’ll know just how full our parents’ hearts will be with joy! Thank you Jeanne for your investment in my life! I love you!
Daddy Dale – know that I love you and think you are an amazing man. I know that you two were a wonderful team! I know you will continue on her legacy, because that’s what she would want! She’ll be up in heaven cheering you on! Stay strong. I know I don’t have to tell you that because I know you’re strong. When we saw you at the hospice center, you told me “let me know if we can do anything for you!” I know your heart has been hurting, but in all of that, you selflessly have been making sure everyone else is taken care of. Thank you Dale, for your endless love and kindness! I love you!
I’ve posted pictures of Dale & Jeanne in our Tribute to Jeanne Photo Album. In the album, each picture describes in a few words, the overflow of love I felt from Dale & Jeanne: My Sweet Jeanne! Dale & Jeanne…came to our wedding…excited for us…Sharing our day! With love in their hearts… caring & joyful… always there… loving me… My Balcony People!