Monday, July 27, 2009

our sweet deana

I received an e-mail update from Jack Reynolds today, that his beautiful wife Deana, passed away earlier this afternoon. Although I have always held hope that Deana would make a miraculous recovery, the past few updates that Jack had posted on their CaringBridge website, made me realize that the complications associated with Deana's cancer, were terminal.

It might sound odd, but my first reaction when I read Jack's words were relief. The past few months have been so difficult for Deana. In addition to the unrelenting chemotherapy, she has had pneumonia three times, sepsis, and just last week, had to begin dialysis because her kidneys were shutting down. Her mouth was covered in sores. Her body ached.

Today, initially, there was was relief that she is no longer suffering.

But now, there is sadness.

Terrible sadness.

It was less than a year ago that Deana was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. It was less than a year ago that she was put in a hospital and told that she had a 90% chance of survival. It was just seven months ago, that we received the most inspiring Christmas card I had ever laid my eyes on.

Ever since Deana was diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphoma in August of 2008, her husband - her two little boys - and her parents, have remained devoted to her recovery.

They have remained devoted to her.


One of the most amazing things that I have witnessed in this past year - was the incredible love between Jack and Deana. The unwavering devotion that Jack had for his wife, was so transparent in all of his posts about her. Although doctors predicted that Deana could not be saved, Jack went to the ends of the earth trying to prove them wrong. And Deana's parents were there - every step of the way, doing whatever they could to support their daughter.

In today's post on CaringBridge, Jack shared the following lessons that he has learned in Deana's triumphant ascension to Heaven. I hope that any one who is reading this, will take Jack's lessons to heart:
1. Have blood or platelets? Donate them. There is no greater gift you can give nother human, but a chance at life.

2. Hug your family. Do it often and for no reason at all. You will all feel better.

3. Family and friends are everything. With them at your side, ALL things are possible.

4. Never, ever quit. No matter what, rise to the occassion. It's what makes life worth living.
Tonight, my heart is heavy that Deana's body is gone. My heart is heavy that Zane and Zachary will never feel their mother's loving arms around them again - that Jack will not be able to hold his beautiful bride's hand - and that Bruce and Martha will not see the light dancing in their beloved daughter's eyes.

But I find solace in the fact that Deana is no longer in pain and the knowledge that her spirit will live on. It is a well known fact that energy can neither be created nor destroyed.

Just as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow, Deana's spirit will always live on.

I love you, girl.

29 comments:

  1. I am so, so sorry to read this. My prayers for peace go out to Jack, his children, and all of her amazing family.

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  2. I was really sad to read this. Reading about her fight and will to live I had really hoped that Deana would beat it and would make a miracle recovery. I will keep her family in my prayers. It is another affirmation that we all need to live life to the fullest as you just never know what is around the corner. ((HUGS)) from London, I am sorry you have lost your friend.

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  3. Stupid (@#$!) Cancer.

    Marg.

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  4. Jen, I'm so sorry to hear about Deana. Like you, I was hoping for her miraculous recovery so "we" could all chaulk another one up against this "f-ing" disease. At least now she is safe, at peace and out of pain. I'm so sorry for Jack and their boys.

    XOXO

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  5. I feel like I know Deana through you. Following her journey in little bits and pieces has been so inspiring. I'm sad now for you and with you and her family. Our prayers are with everyone now. And rest in peace Deana.

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  6. Seriosuly, I cannot wait until we get cancer beat. This makes me so sad. I'll be praying for her family.

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  7. She was, and is, and inspiration. Prayers for her family and friends.

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  8. I'm so sorry to hear about this...

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  9. Jen,
    I'm sorry to hear that Deana's battle didn't end as we'd hoped. But I'm so proud to know you and see all you've done for awareness and research on her behalf. With friends like you, her boys will NEVER forget what an amazing woman Deana was while here on earth. Someday, they can look back and read your blog posts about her. What a great tribute.

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  10. I am so sorry for your loss. Lymphoma is an ugly disease.

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  11. I feel so sad for Deana's family & her friends. I feel like I know her through your posts. This is why I participate in Relay for Life-hopefully working together we can put an end to this horrible disease.

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  12. i remember when you first posted that image (the last one) of deana with her boys. i fell in love; i fell in love with their family, with her courage, with the energy which clearly surrounded this woman. i'm sad to hear she lost her earthly life to cancer, and will keep her family in my thoughts, close to my heart. i am grateful to know, however, that because of people like you, her spirit will live on.

    i have never met deana. i have never met you. and yet, i've been touched.

    thank you for allowing us all to walk that journey with you, with them.

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  13. I am so sad to hear this. Deana was in my prayers every night. I feel so terrible for all her family and friends. I hope that she's found peace and painlessness.

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  14. One of many cuzzins!7/28/09, 11:33 AM

    Jen,
    How sad. I am so sorry. Her boys are simply adorable and I loved what her husband Jack said about seeing her image in their eyes. So touching. God bless and keep them and she will always be an angel in their midst.
    ~Regina :(

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  15. Jen, I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend, I was so worried when I emailed you last night and prayed that perhaps I was mistaken. My heart ached when I opened my inbox this morning and saw your note. My heart is broken for her friends, husband, parents, and those sweet boys. I can't even imagine.

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  16. Oh, Jen. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. It saddens my heart to know she didn't make it. I'll pray for her family.

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  17. What terrible news! I am so sorry for your loss.

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  18. my heart is just broken over this. I'll keep her family in my prayers.

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  19. stup!d cancer is right. :(

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  20. Beautiful, just beautiful Jen! Deana touched so many of us...even those of us that didn't have the irl pleasure of getting to know her. I'm glad you had the honor! Love your tribute to her! What a sad day.

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  21. I met Deana, the same day I met you - at the zoo.
    What a remarkable woman - she has shown us all what it means to be strong, and how to love.

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  22. I am so so so sorry to hear of this. Damn it.

    I may have told you that I have a great-grandmother who died from it, and my mother has it, too. It seems to touch someone in everyone's life.

    I'm glad you shared Deana's story.

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  23. Our family will change our prayer tonight from asking God to heal Deana to thanking him for doing so.

    My heart aches horribly as I think of her husband and boys. And what she endured to remain with them.

    I am so grateful for the positive, hopeful spirit of Deana's husband and for his reminder that love isn't simply something that exists here on earth. It's bigger. Much bigger.

    All the same...grief is real. And it hurts. And in this case, it is the result of the monster called cancer. Thank you, Jen, for keeping it in the forefront for all of us that something MUST be done. Personally, I love your idea of a cookie...let's see what we can do to get that one some press...!

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  24. I am teary up reading this...

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  25. I am so sorry that Deana lost her battle. May her boys always be inspired by her courage and strength.

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  26. Erika - Carolyn's Boards7/29/09, 2:52 PM

    Amazing post Jen.....thanks for paying such tribute to amazing Deana......she will be missed.

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  27. I'm so sorry to hear that Deana passed away. Every time I use my Red Ipod (thank you again Jen) I will think of her, her beauty full boys and loving husband. I am so sad for them. Too much sadness to comprehend. Why does this monster called cancer have to exist, it does nothing but tear families up, put families through hell, put the fighter through hell. I don't understand. At least now Deana is at peace. Thank God for that.
    Love, Denise.

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  28. I am so sorry to hear this... another young woman lost to a stupid stupid disease. I am glad for no more hurt for her but to those left behind... my sincere condolences.

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