Dear Friends and Family,
It is with great sorrow but no surprise that I must inform you that Julie passed away on the evening of Sunday, October 10th, 2010, around 10:15 PM. All indications are that she died without pain.
Julie and I were married for 14 years, and they were the finest years of my life. Had I known before I married her what I know now, how short our time together would be, and how it would end, I wouldn’t have hesitated in the least. The joy and laughter that we shared, and the love that started out strong and then deepened to a degree I didn’t know was possible — these make even this loss and sorrow worthwhile.
And Julie would agree. Even as late as September, when she had ceased treatment and knew that death was approaching, we would remark at how lucky we are. We had a home to live in, food on the table, jobs we enjoyed, the love of friends and family, and a wonderful marriage — while so many people cannot claim even one of these. Life is not fair. I don’t know why Julie and I were so blessed, but we spoke of this often and we were grateful.
Julie would not have considered herself a social individual. She taught herself to read well before school, and as a child often found books easier to deal with than many of the kids at school. And yet, when we look at the people she’s touched in her life, the people who have agonized with us through the entire cancer process, we see an upwelling of care and support that is just amazing. By way of example, this blog alone has been viewed over 13,000 times since she started it. That’s 13,000 instances of people caring, of people wanting to know how Julie is doing. She obviously meant a great deal to all of you, and your care and support has meant a great deal to us.
There will be two celebrations of her life, one here in town where we’ve lived and worked and have so many friends, and another in California where both her family and mine are centered and where we grew up and first met. In the next day or two I will be e-mailing out specific details of these to all the friends and family for which I have contact information. If you receive one, please feel free to share the invitation with anyone I may have missed. If you don’t hear from me, please check with family members, coworkers, or myself for specifics. While these gatherings aren’t open to the world at large, anyone who has known or been touched by Julie is more than welcome.
I’ve had inquiries about donations or a memorial fund. I’m not prepared to manage a memorial fund per se. Instead, if people want to make a contribution, my preference would be that they give to a good charity. There are a great many people in need throughout the world, and I’d like to think that our love for Julie might lead to helping some of these people. Below are some charities that Julie and I have had an interest in, but any legitimate charity would be wonderful.
- Hospice of Washington County (http://www.hospicewc.org/)
- The American Cancer Society (http://www.cancer.org/)
- The Oregon Food Bank (http://www.oregonfoodbank.org/)
- Doctors Without Borders (http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/)
- The Oregon Humane Society (http://www.oregonhumane.org/)
- Mercy Corps (http://www.mercycorps.org/)
For those of you who are just visiting this blog for the first time, the archives to the right hold all of Julie’s posts (and more recently mine) as she made this journey. In them you’ll hear her up times and her down times, her laughter and her stress, but most of all her courage in dealing with this adversity.
More than anything else I can possibly say, I want to thank you all for caring so much. It means and has meant more than you can ever know.