Sunday, July 12, 2009

In Memoriam

Today, July 12, 2009, at 12:40 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, our dear family friend Joanne Juraschek, whom I have known my entire life, who sang at my parents' wedding, and who is one of my mom's closest friends, departed this earth and went to be with her Savior.

She fought a long (2 years), excruciating, and courageous battle with cancer, enduring chronic pain, multiple hospital stays, multiple rounds of chemotherapy, and restrictions on her tremendous energy and talents. She blogged her way through it, sharing some of her difficulties with us but also so faithfully sharing the spiritual treasures she mined from her Bible and hymnbook. She made every day count, and although her course was shortened, causing much grief to those of us who love her, her life had eternal value.

It sounds like a cliché, but I can't help rejoicing that her months of suffering have ended and she has been released from the body that caused her such pain. At the same time, my heart feels heavy, especially on behalf of her husband Paul and four children, all of whom are young adults old enough to be on their own, but no doubt with many years ahead in which they will have occasion to miss her dearly. Even today, I tried several times to reach my own mom once I heard the news from Joanne's daughter, but kept getting her voicemail. In my frustration, I realized that my mom was the first person I wanted to talk to, and although I am an adult with children of my own, I -- perhaps unreasonably -- expected her to be available to me. What about Anna, Stephen, Elizabeth and Andrew? How often will they have matters burdensome or trivial to share and think of calling their mother?

After realizing I wouldn't be able to visit in time, I wrote Joanne a letter and mailed it Thursday, sharing my appreciation of her with inadequate words. That letter will probably arrive tomorrow, a day too late. I hope somehow its contents will find their way to her heart.

"O death, where is thy sting?
O grave, where is thy victory?"
(1 Cor. 15:55)


Naomi said...

Thank You for sharing this. I was so saddened to hear the news earlier today. We are standing with the family.

Eclectic Mama said...

I'm so sorry you lost such a close and valued friend. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

Please accept my condolences. I read a few entries in her blog and I was touched by her faith.