Sunday I went to Cedar Rapids to visit my niece Jody in the hospital. Many of you know that she is the baby sister I never had. I’m the youngest in my family. Jody was born four years after me. For several years my sister and the kids lived in a trailer home on my parents farm. We ran back and forth between the trailer and my parents house ALL THE TIME. She was my bestie…I’ve loved her like most people love their sister. She’s super precious to me.
Jody has been dealing with recurring breast cancer for six years. She’s been the most amazing trooper doing the brunt of raising their five kids while her husband David worked long hours to support them. In November she found out that the cancer moved to her liver.
We all know that liver cancer is a bad one but Jody stayed super upbeat. She was the bravest gal I know. At one point she had done weeks of chemo, losing her hair and feeling terribly sick only to find out the treatments had done nothing. In fact, the cancer got larger.
The docs changed her chemo giving her some wicked stuff that pulled her out of her everyday life and put her on the couch and even in bed. This last month has been especially hard for her.
Jody spent several days in the hospital…thrilled to finally be home. Sadly that was short lived… She went back to the hospital last week and there she has stayed getting worse and worse news.
For those interested, Jody’s blog is HERE. She hasn’t been able to update for awhile. If you want to read a story of a woman of faith…her’s was the blog to read.
Karl, Kelli, Georgia and I went to see her on Sunday. It was a hard trip. All the feelings from Kramer being there were rushing back…but that gave me strength even though it was super sad.
I’m no doctor but seeing Jody, made me believe that we were nearing the end. Everything was so much like Kramer…I talked with the family and they didn’t seem to know. It was the biggest struggle for me. I know how precious that last bit time we had when Kramer knew he was going. He said the things he needed to say. We said the things we needed to say. I didn’t want my precious niece to miss the opportunity so I (not knowing if everyone was going to hate me) took another niece with me and talked to the nurse asking a few questions. She asked if we wanted to talk to the doctor and I said yes.
Before long the doctor showed up and had the hard talk with us. Jody is at end of life. The doctors have thrown everything at her that they know to do. The cancer has turned very aggressive and the end is near.
Jody had slept most of the morning but later, after we heard the news, I went in to tell her good-bye.
I tried to be brave. I tried to tell her all the things…How precious she is to me…the amazing mom she is…considerate, loving daughter she is…hard working wife….I reminded her of all the good she did in the world. She has been the parent volunteer for EVERYTHING! I told her she only had a few more days and asked her to continue to brave and go when Jesus came for her. I reminded her of all the friends and family who would support David as he continued to care for their five kids. Then I asked her a favor. I asked her to go take care of Kramer….and give him the biggest hug when she got there.
This was one of the most emotional days of my life…crying, hugging, laughing but most loving on Jody and my sister’s family….so now. I wait. I pray. I pray that passing is not a struggle. I pray she can let go of her precious family. I pray they can let go of her. I wish the phone call will never come…but I know it will.
Jody made my childhood happy. She made family easier to understand. She shared craftiness with me. She really means the world to me. My life was better because she shared it with me. Here or in heaven, she’ll always be my Jody.
If I’m gone for a day or two, you know where I am.