Final Days

48 - 121Four weeks passed from the last post, until Julie’s passing.  Her appetite continued to improve, yet she continued to become more weak and less aware.  She was able to be with us through Thanksgiving.  A week before her passing, we drove her to the garden store and bought a Christmas tree and she watched as we put it up.  Over the course of her last week, we played quiet Christmas music for her, and she slept most of the time, ate less and drank less.  She passed away at home on a Sunday afternoon.

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Thanksgiving Day 2017

This death is so hard to comprehend.  My feelings are aways on the edge.  I can speak normally and happily and times, and then alone and in private I suddenly fall off that edge and into despair, and feel the sudden absence that Julie’s passing has brought.  The absence, the emptiness, the vacancy is so profound.  Trying to do fun things with my kids, I feel like I am just pretending, and feeling guilty about trying to have fun.  Taking my kids on a road trip I used to do often with Julie, leaves me with a sinking feeling inside.  Everything is wrong, I am trying to pretend otherwise, to keep my kids from slipping with me.  They are the ones who are helping me, and they don’t even know it.  Two nights ago after the kids went to bed, I went to my room and yelled something to myself.   Christopher must have heard me alone in my bedroom as I mourned.  I thought he was in the basement, but he came in and threw his arms around me and held me as I shook.  These kids are my angels.

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Family Support at the Cemetery

I love to look at photos of Julie, how she was a year ago, 5 years ago, and 25 years ago.  Now when I see her in my mind, I the see my healthy, vibrant Julie and not how she was at her passing.  The pictures are bitter sweet though, because they also remind me that we are no longer making new memories together.  Our photo album will cease to have new pictures of her, and she will be absent from future events, and memories of those events will not include her.  It seems so final.  It is hard to comprehend the distant future of us being together again, but it is what we believe.

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Julie, Jordan, Kendall, about 24 years ago

I know I will be OK.  I know I will feel better for longer periods as time goes on.  But I expect and hope to always have those moments of grieving over my Julie who is here no more.  I am speaking often to the children about happy memories of their mother.  For the rest of their lives, they will hear me speak things like, “If your mother were here she would be happy….your mother always liked doing this…and this was one of your mother’s favorite…”

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Dancing with Jordan, 1 year ago

Now I have the task before me of raising these kids, the way she would.  With the love and discipline that she could employ simultaneously.  Wish me luck!

This post is drawing to an end.  I will post her life sketches next and then wrap up this blog.

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Halloween snack, 10 years ago

8 thoughts on “Final Days

  1. Thank you again for doing this blog, especially for updating it during your darkest hours. I believe your words about Julie and your family’s journey has/will educate and bring comfort to others.
    Cancer isn’t just about pink ribbons and chemo; thank you so much for your candid insight and valiant effort to share your and Julie’s experience so that others can benefit from your wisdom and grace; so much grace.
    I have been thinking of Julie often. This weekend I made chicken pot pies. Because of your blog I know that Julie loved to make pies. As I made my crusts, I prayed for Julie and her family. I prayed for strength and healing. While I was praying and rolling crust, for some reason I recalled the fun bracelets that used to be so popular in the 90’s (the WWJD ones that were everywhere), a quick glance to your wrist or someone else’s and you’d have a small reminder to act in the way our Redeemer might… Then I realized the coincidence. WWJD.
    In no way am I saying that “Julie” should replace Jesus as the J in the abbreviation, I am just enjoying the thought that they are interchangeable. And isn’t that really our goal? We should all live a life that makes it so our name could be interchangeable with that of Jesus. How proud her dear mother and the rest of her sweet family must be of Julie, in her case, it is absolutely interchangeable.
    As I finished rolling my crusts I felt a wave of satisfaction. In part because my crust turned out the best it ever had and also because I realized that I will relish every pie crust, every outing with my family, the ability “to run and play” just a little bit more than I have. Her desire to live will always be in the back of my mind reminding me to really LIVE, because it is such a miracle we are here at all.
    I will be reminded to not take even the smallest moments for granted and be mindful of not complaining over small physical annoyances or mild symptoms of illness; saving energy for actual living and a future where that energy is needed for real illness.
    I want you all to know, even though your dear sweet daughter, sister, wife and mother has gone on to her great reward, she is still influencing others as she always has. I know that through her beautiful children and loving legacy, she always will.
    Again, I want to thank you. I pray for your comfort and peace as you learn how to live in your new normal. Such a difficult task. How do you get over losing someone so special?

    I think we just need to ask ourselves, WWJD? And then do it. ❤️

    Peace be with you,
    Becki

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    1. WWJD 🙂 It is so funny, (interesting funny) because I find myself saying, this is not what Julie would do, like when it comes to caring for the kids. She would have me be patient, and not let them stay up too late even during the holidays, etc. I do ask myself WWJulieD, and sometimes out load I ask her. Many thanks for your thoughtful comments!

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  2. I don’t know Becki, but everything she said couldn’t be more true. The world is a better place because of Julie, and we are better for having known her. Your willingness to share this grief stricken journey will not only help you, but the rest of us as well as we face or own
    adversities with the same honesty, courage, and strength.
    Thank you!

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing. This always kept Julie on our minds and in our prayers.
    I often wonder why Heavenly Father makes us pass thru such hard things. Somehow it must be for our good. I once asked Sam if what he learned was worth the anguish that was the price. He said it was, and even though my anguish was very different, it also was worth it. It is hard to see when you are up to your neck in it, but better days are ahead. I promise.
    The kids tell me that Sams first wife Debi shows up at important events, when they get married and when they have babies. She never seems to be too far out of reach. So I am sure she still watches over her family. It seems to be reassuring to everyone. And she is still missed, even 16 years later. Her daughters still remember all special occasions and we get to enjoy their posts about their mom and the sweet pictures they share.
    This too shall pass and He who suffered all ,understands. Let Him comfort you. You are all still in our prayers.
    Love, Sam and Bibi

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  4. Cousin Bradford — your words and pictures have warmed me this morning and washed my eyes. And I love Becki’s reminder to you and your family of “WWJD”. Thank you for sharing. My love and regard to you and your family. I didn’t know of Julie’s passing until Wednesday night when our cousin Dianne told me. Interesting, that very day I stopped by your folks’ family home while on business in Idaho. I didn’t have any phone numbers to call, and I don’t think anyone was there (I just knocked lightly), but something drew me to think of you, your parents and siblings, and stop anyway. All the best to you. David Miller

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  5. Thank you for sharing your love and pain with us, Brad. I am so thankful for your beautiful Julie and the wonderful family you are raising – even still together. You and Julie and your family have blessed our family in so many ways. Thank you.

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  6. Dearest Brad and Hatch children, how we love you and your dear family! Mike and I talk about how surreal it is that Julie is no longer with you (and the rest of us) in mortality. I love the idea that Julie graduated early from mortality and with the highest honors! She was such a positive and happy influence on our family even though we’ve lived many hundred miles away. I will never forget Julie and the righteous example she was to all of us. But most of all, I will miss her friendly, upbeat phone visits and the personal interest she took in each of our family members. She always asked about our children and wanted to know how everyone was doing. I wish she was still just a phone call away!

    My daughter Jessica wants to implement Julie’s daily devotionals in her own family this new year. Thank you Brad for your strength and devotion to Julie and your family. You have always been a wonderful father, and I’m sure you will continue to bless your children and to make their mother proud.

    You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers always. HAPPY New Year dear Hatch family!

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