Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My Sweet Sister Jacqueline

I'm writing this to let you know that my dear sister Jacqueline is getting close to leaving this world.  For anyone who doesn't already know Jacquie was diagnosed with Leukaemia almost 2 years ago.   She and her husband Zia have put up a valiant fight against this nasty disease.  She is still breathing and comes back into consciousness briefly but the time is coming near now and I feel it is a matter of hours. Paul, Gerry, Fran, Zia and I are here with her in the El Camino Hospital.   They have been doing everything possible to manage her pain and keep her comfortable in these last hours of her life.   We have been here for almost a week and it has been a deep and powerful experience.   The is the first day that she has been unconscious for most of the time.  Yesterday we were joking and kidding one another just like the old days.   I love her very much.

After her diagnosis Jacquie endured months of chemotherapy, and finally received a stem cell transplant from my brother, Paul, on November 22, 2012.   She was supported through December and January by Zia, Paul and Geraldine who set up a sterile safe house in Mountain View California, close to Stanford Hospital.  We were all pretty excited because Paul's stem cells were close to a perfect match and she responded well to the transplant.   I came down in January and stayed with her until the end of February when the first 100 days were completed.   She was looking good and seemed to be getting a little better every day.  Needless to say, we were thrilled.

Unfortunately, she crashed in April.   Her blood began to deteriorate and they rushed to get her back into a chemo program as quickly as they could.

It has been a long and difficult struggle for Zia and Jacquie.   Zia has virtually never left her side, monitored her meds, her treatments, and looked after her in every way.   He has researched every drug, every symptom, every option in relentless detail.  He has fought with the system, with the doctors, with the insurance people and yes, with our family to keep her safe.  She called him her tiger and I know that he has done more than anyone could possibly ask to keep her alive.

But Leukaemia is a stealthy, relentless and nasty disease.  It attacks and affects the very core of human existence, going to the source of cell regeneration and destroying the body's ability to protect itself.

In Jacquie's case, it has won.   Her grace, humour, her gentle loving, and her warmth are disappearing from the world and we are all very sad.  Jacquie and Zia are Bahais and believe in life after death.  I hope they are right.

Here are a few pictures of Jacquie in her younger years.   She will be survived by her children Kelly, Kerrie and Shahawn, her devoted husband Zia, her sisters Geraldine and Francine, and her brothers Paul, Mike and Jim, that's my family name.
Jacquie Kelly and Kerrie
Jacquie and Kerrie
Jacquie and Kerrie

Jacquie and Shahawn
Jacquie and Zia
Jacquie and Kelly