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Tears of Sadness, Tears of Joy

December 8, 2010

This is the blog I never wanted to write.

At 2:05pm today, my wonderful sister, Jill, lost her long battle with cancer. I will miss her terribly as I’m sure many of you will. When I’m a little less emotional, I will come back and fill in some details. I’ll just say her passing was very peaceful and I know she is with Jesus right now and probably making all of her heavenly friends laugh, just as she did for all of us while we had her here on earth.

In the Bible, in John chapter 11, Jesus tells Mary who has just lost her brother Lazarus, ““I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” Jill is only gone from the earthly life – she is in heaven with Jesus and I know I will see her again.

Please continue your prayers, especially for Hank and Daniel as they go through this difficult time. Too soon yet for memorial service plans – I’ll let you know.


38 Comments leave one →
  1. Jennifer permalink
    December 8, 2010 3:53 pm

    ((sniff sniff…tears)) So very glad that Jill is no longer in any pain and although she will be greatly missed, the angels are rejoicing as they received a wonderful gift that we so wanted to hang onto. Thank you so much, Debbie, for sharing your tears of joy and the assurrance of eternal life with our Father in Heaven. Our prayers go out to Hank and Daniel and the rest of the family. We love you!

  2. E Lis permalink
    December 8, 2010 3:54 pm

    Oh my! And really oh my to you all! Prayers, ((HUGS)) and although it always seems trite I am so very sad and sorry for all. The world lost one of the most beautiful souls I’ve ever known. Thank you for telling us.. I sit here with tears in my eyes.


  3. Ellen permalink
    December 8, 2010 3:57 pm

    Oh Debbie, I am so sorry. She fought so hard. I’m at a loss for words, please know that you and your family are in my prayers.

    I never actually met Jill in person, but I was fortunate to have known her in the cyber-world sense for over 15 years.


  4. Sarahtee permalink
    December 8, 2010 3:57 pm

    Hank, Daniel, Debbie and family, Jill’s parents and everyone else, we are so very sorry for your loss.



  5. Penny permalink
    December 8, 2010 3:58 pm

    I am so sad for you. My love and prayers are with your family from the Midwest.

  6. Resa permalink
    December 8, 2010 4:08 pm

    So very sorry to read of the loss of everyone’s Jill.

    Her life touched so many, so far away.

    My heart is with Hank, Daniel, your family Debbie and Kim and “mom” I don’t know the other sibling names and I am so sorry I don’t.

    She breathes easier now. Her time of enduring is over, now she can enjoy forever.

    However, it’s horribly unfair for those left behind.

    My best and love to you all.

  7. December 8, 2010 4:12 pm

    Debbie, my heart, my prayers and my love are with all of you right now.

    This is the poem I read at my father’s funeral, and has always resonated with me…its imagery is very vivid.

    All Is Well

    Death is nothing at all,
    I have only slipped into the next room
    I am I and you are you
    Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
    Call me by my old familiar name,
    Speak to me in the easy way which you always used
    Put no difference in your tone,
    Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
    Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
    Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
    Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
    Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
    Life means all that it ever meant.
    It it the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
    Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
    I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
    Just around the corner.
    All is well.

    By Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918)
    Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral

  8. Mina permalink
    December 8, 2010 4:13 pm

    Heartfelt prayers to you and your family. Jill was such a beautiful, kind person and she will be greatly missed. She was a wonderful person to work with and a good friend. I will never forget her words of wisdom as she helped me navigate my way back to work after my first child two years ago. And as I am again on maternity leave, her words echo in my ears. She was a great mentor too. Thank you Debbie for keeping us updated as hard as it is. All my love to you and your family. May the Lord hold you all in the palms of His hands as you shed tears of sadness and tears of joy.

  9. Barbara Austin permalink
    December 8, 2010 4:17 pm

    Debbie so sorry to hear of the loss…as you say she’s in a better place with our Lord. You and your family will continue to be in our prayers.

    Your brother and sister in Christ Fred and Barbara

  10. Gina Agne permalink
    December 8, 2010 4:17 pm

    Rest in Peace Jill. Jill made the world a better place by being in it. Prayers sent to the Byington Family.

    “What Cancer Cannot Do”

    Cancer is so limited . . .
    It cannot cripple love
    It cannot shatter hope
    It cannot corrode faith
    It cannot destroy peace
    It cannot kill friendship
    It cannot suppress memories
    It cannot silence courage
    It cannot invade the soul
    It cannot steal eternal life
    It cannot conquer the spirit.

  11. Beck permalink
    December 8, 2010 4:22 pm

    So very sad to read this – my heart and prayers joins with everyone elses for you, Hank, Daniel and the rest of your family ((((hugs)))

    Be at peace Jill – you will always be missed

  12. Murray permalink
    December 8, 2010 5:01 pm

    Nothing I could say as I sit hear and cry seems helpful. I know she’s in a better place, but she was so dear – even to us so far away who only knew her as an online teacher and mentor. She made a huge positive impact on my son’s life, for which I will be eternally grateful – as I’m sure she knows. I will pray for Daniel and Hank. What a loss for you all.

    Though you must be hurting so, thanks for helping us.



  13. Sandy Bartell permalink
    December 8, 2010 5:12 pm

    Debbie, I knew the instant I saw the title of your blog posting in my e-mail in-box what had happened. Somehow we always think our loved one will last just a little bit longer, but it’s always up to God when they’re called home. I am so glad she’s out of pain and in a better place. It must be so hard for you and your family right now. I am glad you have each other for comfort, especially for Daniel and Hank. If their is a memorial I plan on coming so I can meet all of you.

  14. Arzelie permalink
    December 8, 2010 5:15 pm

    To all of Jill’s family, I’m sending hugs and crying with you.

  15. Marcia permalink
    December 8, 2010 5:45 pm

    no words, just sadness, sympathy & love. Jill was very kind.

  16. Rachel permalink
    December 8, 2010 6:00 pm

    My heart is aching, and my thoughts are with Hank & Daniel and the rest of her family. Jill had an elegance that was striking, and a gift with words that I will greatly miss.

  17. JakKim permalink
    December 8, 2010 6:07 pm

    Godspeed to our friend. As Ellen mentioned, I too have never met Jill in person – she was part of our on-line Moms community for years and for a while there, she was one of my email sounding boards as I pondered opening my own business. But, pen pal, cyber pal, “in real life” friend, no matter, I will miss her.

    Peace for Jill and continued prayers for all of you, her family.

  18. December 8, 2010 6:12 pm

    I am so sorry, Debbie. Much love to you and all your family.. I will miss Jill a lot…

  19. Babs permalink
    December 8, 2010 6:23 pm

    Sorrow has the horrible reputation of leaving people at a loss for words.

    As other’s have said, I was not able to meet Jill “in person” but have been lucky enough to call her friend for over 15 years.

  20. Laura (Bayou) permalink
    December 8, 2010 6:24 pm

    Good-bye to Jill…I will miss her wisdom, her eloquence and her humor. Prayers for Daniel, Hank and all of you as you go on without her. So so sad…but I’m glad her pain is over.

  21. Kerri Lunsford permalink
    December 8, 2010 6:53 pm

    I never met Jill in person, but she gave my son a love for writing. She was a very special teacher. Please know that I am praying for her family. I am so sorry.

  22. December 8, 2010 7:09 pm

    Oh, I’m so sorry….My prayers are with you and the whole family. God bless you and Jill.

  23. December 8, 2010 7:21 pm

    My heart goes out to all of you on this very very sad day. December 8 is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Jill was an amazing person-a wonderful writer, teacher, sister, daughter, friend, partner, loved by all. God bless you. Jill is dancing in heaven with her daddy. My love and sincere condolences, Cynthia Brian

  24. Bemused Boomer permalink
    December 8, 2010 7:53 pm


    I didn’t think it would happen so soon…I was so sure she would rally again.
    Oh…no…no. Not yet! I’m so sad for all of you in her family, for all of us who have been touched by her spirit and entertained by her words, and for the world that has lost this amazing person.

    Blessings to all of you.

  25. December 8, 2010 8:16 pm

    Jill was making us laugh just a week ago! This feels so sudden, even though I know she’s had a really rough time lately.

    There is a worship tune from John 14 that has been playing on loop in my mind lately. . . And I need it more now, than before. It’s my prayer for Jill’s family, too, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. “

  26. Sami permalink
    December 8, 2010 9:02 pm

    (((HUGS))) to you Debbie, it cannot be easy writing this post. I am so very very sorry. Thank you so much for keeping us updated these last few days. Please give your mother, Hank & Daniel a hug from us and yourself as well. Jill will never be forgotten and I know you are right, she is definitely making her heavenly friends laugh. 🙂

    • Sami permalink
      December 9, 2010 7:19 am

      and I can’t take that smiley away…. I want to because I don’t feel ANY smiles really…..

  27. Tammy permalink
    December 8, 2010 9:59 pm

    May her memory be green (not pink) in all our hearts until we see her again. I’m glad she doesn’t have cancer any more. Praying for Hank and Daniel and all her family and friends who love her.

  28. December 8, 2010 10:09 pm

    Debbie — thank you so much for your work keeping up the blog; I know this has been hard for you to pick up and do. I’ve known Jill on and off for 17 years; we met when she was working as a tech writer at Boeing, and she later helped us put together the Scholars Online writing program. Her students loved her, and she gave them a great gift, teaching them to think clearly, and to write well. I will miss her friendship and her wicked sense of humor, her clarity and her dedication very much.

    Our prayers are with you, Hank, and Daniel. Please let us know if there is anything we can help with in the coming weeks.

  29. Lisa Welch permalink
    December 8, 2010 10:38 pm

    My thoughts are with all of you. I was having dinner with my daughter tonight, remembering that the restaurant we were in was the place I last had lunch with Jill, before her latest months of challenges made it harder for her to get around. It was during that meal tonight, as I was recalling that other meal not so long ago, that Kim (Jakkim) called to deliver your sad news.

    While I now know it was her wish to have no non-family visitors, I now feel so priviledged to have had that one last brief visit 2 days ago, to let her know how much her moms group community loved her and how many people had their arms around her. She was able to say, “So glad.” I’m not sure I told you that, Debbie (or where that box of chocolates came from! I hope they helped someone’s need for comfort food!). I will think back fondly on our e-mails and the few in-person visits we were able to arrange, and all the words of elegant brilliance she shared with our group throughout the years. She was truly a gifted thinker and communicator.

    Daniel, I don’t know that you remember me – my younger daughter and I had breakfast with the 2 of you once a couple of years ago – I think when our friend from Denmark was visiting. Your mom loved you tremendously. I have a daughter your age and we enjoyed comparing notes on your high school experiences. You were the center of your mom’s world. She was very proud of you, and I know she will be watching over you all the days of your life. Cling to your dad for comfort now and walk this journey together.

    • Jakk(Kim) permalink
      December 9, 2010 1:21 pm

      *sniff* Lisa. Thanks for visiting with Jill, and for having such a wonderful way with your words. Hank, Daniel,”Mom”, Debbie, all the family, Lisa has put into words what I’m sure all of us feel, but few of us know how to say.

  30. Mimi permalink
    December 9, 2010 1:13 am

    So sorry to hear that Jill is no longer on this earth! Sorry for those who love her that she left behind. Rejoicing that her trials and suffering are over. I’ll keep her family in my prayers.

  31. Cristina permalink
    December 9, 2010 10:05 am

    Jill was and is a very dear friend and co-worker. I am sad to hear that we will no longer be blessed with her day-to-day presence. Somehow, it seemed that she would rally from the latest set-back and eventually recover yet again. And it is not to be. The burden of cancer and all the treatments has been lifted from her shoulders and heaven will be blessed with her wit and warmth. Daniel and Hank, whatever I can do to help, just ask.

  32. Marie Barth permalink
    December 9, 2010 11:01 am

    We send love and prayer support to Jill’s family and friends. Debbie, thank you for your faith filled words in the sad announcement of her death. She has been in our prayers daily and we are happy for her that her suffering is over and her new life has begun, including lots of reunions with loved ones that have gone before. George, Ann and Bob are celebrating her arrival!!

    Marie and Earl Barth (Earl is Bob’s cousin – the son of Jennie Thorson Barth)

  33. mom permalink
    December 10, 2010 8:11 pm

    I have no idea what kind of a comment I can make. I was lucky enough to be with Jill at her last moments. My blessed girl. Always was and always will be. Thank You to Marie for her beautiful words of celebration. It is so. Mom

  34. Roger Ingalls permalink
    December 15, 2010 7:57 am

    Words seem so inadequate…I’m am sad to say this news caught me by surprise.

    We are so sorry for your loss, and the loss the world has suffered.

    Hank, Daniel, anything you need, just ask.

  35. December 17, 2010 6:41 pm

    I’ve posted some memories of Jill to the Scholars Online blog at

  36. Sarahtee permalink
    December 18, 2010 8:59 pm

    Christe, thank you for the link. It is great to read about another facet of Jill’s life.

    Hank, Daniel, Debbie, Kim, Jill’s Mom and other family members and friends – you are all in our thoughts and prayers.

    Sarah in Aus

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