Life is short but sweet for certain

Monday, November 12, 2012

It has been a tough week. The other day, I actually clicked on my high school friend Jeannie Hayes' Facebook profile. Why, you ask? Because I was looking to see how many likes Jeanne Claude Van Damme had to prove that even if I was old, people knew who he was. Jeannie had just posted some pictures from a breast cancer walk she had done with some friends. In the next day or two, I started to see more things about Jeannie appear on Facebook... but they were things I didn't want to see.

Jeannie was someone who always had a smile on her face. She quite literally exuded enthusiasm for all things. We had a few classes together in high school -- I vividly remember a picture of she and I outside near the lockers of an English class we had, but for the life of me, I can't find the picture right now. She was an on-air personality at WREX in Rockford and her dream was to work for Oprah. 

So, when I started seeing posts about Jeannie being gravely ill, I was worried. On Wednesday night, I got a message from Jeannie's friend Kim explaining that Jeannie had felt sick over the weekend, went to the doctor on Monday (and was sent home with an antibiotic), and on Tuesday, was so sick that she had to call 911. She lost consciousness on the way to the hospital and never regained it. At the hospital, she was diagnosed with acute leukemia. It also became apparent that she had serious brain swelling near her brain stem and went in to emergency surgery. 

As Thursday rolled around, the news became worse. It was apparent that Jeannie's condition had deteriorated tremendously. Late that evening, Jeannie passed. 

So many things have come from this, I'm not even sure where to start. Everyone I have talked to who knew Jeannie, even if only briefly, has been tremendously impacted by her and her passing. I've been able to reconnect with old friends and tell them how important they are to me. It's made me say "I love you" a little more often, and offer hugs and a listening ear a little more willingly. I think this has made all of us step back and realize what really matters in life. Lately, I've been so stressed about work and the new teacher evaluation system, and in all reality, in the end, those are NOT the moments I'll be remembering. I don't want to take a second for granted. I want to teach from the heart, but mostly I want to soak up times with those I love and experience everything the world has to offer. Jeannie did just that... and she'll never be forgotten. 

Click here to learn more about Jeannie


  1. I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. This is so sad and even more so as she was so young. It sounds like she was doing what she wanted to do with her life & she was happy. It's all hard to take but by the grace of God she did not suffer long & she is wrapped in His arms. Lots of hugs & love to you. You are a special person - so happy to have gotten connected with you!

    You are so right...life is short, we never know just how short it might be. Don't put off your dreams - make them a reality and live life to the fullest!

  2. Thank you for the hugs, Sherry! I keep telling myself that she is in a better place and didn't have to suffer for too long, and there is comfort in that! But, you're so right -- tomorrow is promised to no one, and if we don't follow our dreams now, when will we? I'm so proud of you for following YOUR dreams! You're doing to do so great!

  3. We are never ready to let go of people we care about but they are always in our hearts! Sending prayers~

    I am on the heels of my dream. Not sure I'll do great but I do want to finish. I'd love to bring a little chunk of Disney "bling" home with me!

  4. You'll be bringing a whole TON of Disney bling home with you! I know you can finish it... it's your dream!

    Ran five on the dreadmill tonight and thought about how lucky I am to be here and running. Jeannie's wake is tomorrow evening -- I'll be there with some high school friends, so at least we can support each other. :/

  5. We are lucky to be here for sure! I'll be thinking of you & sending prayers. That's great you'll be with some friends - this is so devastating. The TV tribute was awesome - made me cry. She would be proud!


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