"Oh, no. Jules died." Rick said. We were both writing at our desks.
It was as if I'd been hit in the stomach although I never met her or her husband Stuart.
I knew her and her husband only thru Facebook. We are on With Flying Colours, a Facebook photographic group which posts photos with a different color theme each week.
He has a weird sense of humor in his postings and in his comments. He also posted regular updates on his wife's cancer treatments.
She was diagnosed in 2011. The couple has been fighting this disease for six years when the doctors predicted only three. In his blog, Stuart wrote, 'Jules said to me “Look…, the one thing about all of this is that we won’t be able to live long and enjoy our old age together.” So we decided to have our old age together NOW !!'
We saw thru his Facebook postings when things were terrible and when there were glimmers of hope. We saw when he lost it posting the word "cancer" over and over.
The one thing that came thru was the couple's love.
In another series of Facebook postings from Australia, earlier this year Kai died of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) cancer. He was just a few weeks short of his fourth birthday. His mother posted each step of the family's trauma, when hope was raised and when it was dashed. Pictures of this beautiful little boy were heart wrenching.
She did it to raise awareness for disease research and received support in messages from all over the world.
Local Australian papers picked up the story.
Kai was taken home to die in his parents arms.
I never met this family either, but I cried too when his death was posted. As a mother, I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose my child.
Some might say that these things should stay private. I say not if it helps the survivors, not if wishes from strangers helps give them strength to do what needs to be done.
From losing people I love and have known personally, I know no matter what, there is that terrible moment when after all that has to be done is done, the loneliness and the realization that one can never hear the voice, feel their arms, share a laugh again. One only has the memories to bring us thru the pain.
To Stuart and to Kai's mom, I can do nothing but wish them strength and courage to carry on.