Jackie’s family wrote the most amazing tribute to her, and I wanted to share it here. It includes something at the end that was completely unexpected that made Mike and me sob. Her family is just so awesome and I really can’t express how much it means to me that they made such a touching gesture.
Jacqueline ‘Jackie’ Oswold
November 13, 1978 – August 3, 2012
An artist can be defined as many things. Some are writers, dancers, and musicians. Some build, sculpt or bake beautiful things with their hands. For a rare few, like Jackie, their artistry is simply in how they lived.
The masterpiece Jackie created in her 33 years is awe inspiring. Though she graduated from Saint Francis High School in Mountain View, Calif. and received her degree from the University of Southern California, some of Jackie’s most notable accomplishments were outside of the classroom. With a curious, determined and adventurous spirit, she traveled over four continents. She ran marathons, sky dived and bungee jumped. She scuba dived on the Great Barrier Reef. She white water kayaked down the Colorado River and ziplined through the Redwoods. And, in the last four years, Jackie raised more than $210,000 for brain cancer research.
We’ll miss how Jackie filled a room with her beaming smile, her sparkling green eyes and an infectious laugh that touched your soul. We’ll forever marvel at how she could wear stilettos to a week long trade show or perfectly wrap a gift. We’ll think of her when visiting San Francisco, the city that she loved; watching John Hughes films from the 1980s; or sipping a really good wine. And, we’ll certainly miss how she “brought the party” to any party – from family holidays or a USC tailgate to wedding receptions.
Jackie’s artistry has left a lasting impression on those she touched, including her parents Tom and Robin Oswold; her siblings and their spouses: Stephanie and Thomas Mrus, Jennifer and Lang Tibbils, and Scott and Kari Oswold; her 10 nieces and nephews: Tyler, Drew, Jay and Cade Mrus; Dominic, Jillian and Michaela Tibbils; and Faith, Logan and Grady Oswold; her grandfather Tom Oswold; her 15 aunts and uncles; 14 cousins and their families; her friends, her InVision family, those in the brain tumor community, and countless others.
Though it breaks our hearts to lose her, we know she joins family and friends that have gone before her, including her grandparents, Dorothy Oswold and Stan and Joyce “Perky” Sandstrom; her uncles, Tracey Oswold and Gary Sandstrom; and Jackie’s special little angel, Maddie Spohr.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in her memory to the National Brain Tumor Society, 124 Watertown St., Ste. 2D, Watertown, MA. 02472 or via the Internet at http://www.braintumorcommunity.org/goto/JackieOswold.
Beth Mariel says:
That’s absolutely perfect I'm so sorry.
Oh, that is so beautiful. She sounds like an amazing person, one who will be missed by everyone, even those of us that didn’t know her. Thank you for sharing her with us, Heather.
That was absolutely beautiful.
It made me smile to think of Jackie! and Maddie running over to each other in Heaven saying “Oh, there you are…I’ve missed you!” What an awesome companion for a perfect angel.
Thinking of you and Mike and wishing you peace and comfort during this incredibly difficult time. I am so sorry. I’ve never really commented before but I felt the need to just let you know, I am so so sorry Heather.
How beautiful… I am so sorry for your loss. My heart aches for everyone…
You know that saying that the eyes are the windows to the soul? Jackie’s eyes aren’t just pretty in the physical sense. You really can see, even in a photo, how beautiful her soul is. If that photo and others you’ve posted of her were just on its own without any story, she still has that face that just radiates love and a good heart besides being pretty. I know she will be dearly missed by many.
I really thought the tribute was Perfect!!!!! And, I als0 really loved how they involved Maddie in the tribute too!!! ( I cried when I read that part). A BEAUTIFUL tribute for a BEAUTIFUL lady!!! xoxo
Crying too! What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady xx
Truly beautiful. That we should all live our lives with such adventurous spirit. So inspirational.
There is nothing that I can say that will make you feel better. My mom passed away three weeks ago after a long, slow mental decline that spanned a decade. The pain I feel wars with the relief that she’s finally free of the pain and indignity she faced. But it still hurts, it doesn’t feel better.
The last couple of weeks, reading about Jackie’s last days, I could feel your pain. It resonated with me. Your beautiful friend. And I can say all the platitudes: She’s in a better place. At least she’s healthy now. She’s watching over you. And as true as this may be, it doesn’t make it feel any better. It doesn’t make any difference to the fact that you now have to go through life without her.
I am comforted by the thought that my mom is now with my dad. My brother-in-law told my sister and me that it took Dad two years to get heaven ready for her. It’s a nice thought. But I wish they were both here with me.
I believe Jackie is with Maddie, and she’ll tell her all about you and Mike and Annie, and they’ll both watch over you together.
I am so, so sorry for your loss, Heather.
What a perfect tribute! Thanks so much for sharing Jackie! with us, can’t wait to ready more about her, too.
Thinking about you guys.
What a beautiful tribute to an obviously amazing person. The mention of Maddie brought tears to my eyes.
Jackie is spectacular and will always be remembered as such. You are lucky to have her as your friend and loved one. I’m glad she and Maddie are together and I truly believe they are.
Hugs from afar to you and Mike and Annie.
What a beautiful tribute to an obviously beautiful soul. Surely that light will never dim…she has made a lasting touch on all she knew. Peace.
No words. Just lots of (((((((Hugs))))))) for you and your angels. So, so, so very sorry.
What a beautiful tribute to an obviously extraordinary woman. That was incredibly sweet of Jackie’s family to mention Maddie. I love how they referred to her as her special little angel, very fitting I’d say and the photo you posted today really shows their special bond.
Love and hugs sweetie. You and Jackie and her family are still in my heart and in y thoughts.
Oh Heather! What a beautiful dedication to Jackie! I loved the special tribute to Maddie! My heart breaks for you all, but you are right…..Jackie would want you to live life to the fullest! You always seem to rally with such a great attitude! No matter how busy my life is; when I check in with your blog, I always instantly feel connected again! Actually, I think that I had been avoiding your page because I knew what the inevitable was! Missing Jackie for you!! Big Hugs from Iowa!
Each morning I read the obituaries – not so much to see if anyone I knew has died, but to simply honor those who have by reading that last little “tell-all” about their lives. Many times, unfortunately, I’m saddened by cold, methodical paragraphs [name, age, date of death, no family, private service, the end]. But often I am so uplifted. (Um, you might imagine how this makes my husband feel – that his wife will be smiling while reading the obits.) I am uplifted by the funny anecdotes written about an 85 year old man’s love of the ladies…and gambling – or the little tidbits about a woman’s lifelong choice of hairstyle (or love of Johnny Depp). But the absolute rarest of all is when there is a honest-to-God tribute. A real story of someone’s amazing life – well-lived, well-loved, well-traveled, brave, honest, beautiful, caring, adventurous, giving, funny, strong. These make me think and reflect on my own life. They make me happy that – although I would never have personally known this person on this earth – that someone like them actually existed. Actually shared the same small space I do. Actually accomplished all they did. Jackie just so happened to have died on my birthday. A milestone birthday at that — my 30th. And so, I will tell you this. Jackie’s story has touched me in a way I’m not sure I could adequately describe, but I do know that I will try my very best to laugh louder, try harder, love more fiercely and not be so damn scared of actually living! Because Jackie life story (all that’s been told, all the more I can imagine that never will be) – who I never knew, never saw in person, never heard her voice – has made me want to be just a fraction as amazing as her family, friends and actions in life have shown her to be.
Jackie!’s family did a beautiful job with their tribute. Although I haven’t seen a bad picture yet I believe the one above is my favorite. She rocked some short hair!!!
Watching the pictures go by on FB was such a beautiful testimony of friendship, time, and distance.
Your post yesterday was one of the best I’ve read in a while.
As you,USC’ans say “Fight on!”
You will do a beautiful job of living Jackie!s legacy.
You already have. Fight On Heather.
Ami G says:
What a beautiful tribute. I am so sorry for your loss.
Mrs Catch says:
Just wanted to let you know I’m so sorry for you both.. That tribute is so beautiful.
Absolutely beautiful. I’m sending you big hugs from NYC.
Jackie! LIVED. Madeline Alice LIVED. I am now going to get my ass out of bed and go LIVE this day as fully as I can. I love you.
She was stunning and quite clearly lived her life to the fullest. What a beautiful tribute.
I only know Jackie through your blog and she sounds like a wonderful person who lived life to the fullest. I am so sorry for your loss.
It made me sob too. Thinking of you and Mike.
What a beautiful, beautiful tribute to their daughter Jackie, and to include Maddie, as they did,,,,,,I’m sure that it means the world to you and Mike. What an extraordinary family they all are!!!!!!!!!
This is so touching Heather! I teared up again. I think it’s just a testamament to what a wonderful family she came from that they included Maddie, knowing she loved her so very much.
Gorgeous tribute. Thinking of you and Jackie’s family.
XOXO. A vivacious woman is gone, and the empty space where she used to be must feel so, so cold. I’m glad she did so many things – I wish she’d had decades to do so much more. Lots of love.
What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful person (inside and out). How awesome beyond words that they included Maddie. I can’t help but wish we’d all been blessed with a friend like Jackie! and a family like hers. Big hugs to you and Mike all the way from MN.
I hope you stay close with Jackie’s family. They do seem awesome just from the tribute they wrote. It was very sweet and touching that they included Maddie. They must truly love you and your family too, Heather. I hope you can take some comfort in that.
I do not know you or Jackie, but reading these posts about her death has been heartbreaking. She sounds like a truly wonderful person, and I cannot imagine the pain of her loss to those who did know her, when someone who never met her can feel such hurt for her passing too.
I’m so sorry.
Patti B. says:
Thanks for sharing Jackie! with so many people. That tribute was heartbreakingly perfect.
Jackie W. says:
You and Mike were definitely not the only ones sobbing at the mention of Maddie – and I’ve never even met any of you. Thinking of all of you often.
How sweet that they mentioned Maddie. That part made me cry, too. I never met Jackie!, but I can tell that she was one of those rare people who is beautiful inside and out in every way. What an amazing tribute. And how wonderful that even though she’s gone, Jackie! will continue to raise funds for brain cancer research. That is a meaningful legacy.
There’s a Jonathan Swift quote: “May you live all the days of your life.” I honestly don’t know if he was being flippant or ironic with that line (since he loved satire), but in my mind, the quote is saying something at once simple but also deep and beautiful. May you LIVE! all the days of your life. Jackie! is a stunning example of that quote. She deserved to LIVE! so much longer, for she did it so incredibly. An example to everyone. Continued love and prayers to all who knew her and love her.
She truly sounds awe inspiring. It’s lovely they put in the part about maddie. That’s a beautiful picture of her Jackie too.
And now I’m crying along with you. What a lovely tribute to Jackie, especially how Maddie was included in it.
Oh no, no, no, no, no. I have been away from blog-reading for a few days and this was the last news I wanted to hear. I am so sorry Heather. Wishing you moments of peace to ease the pain of your days and sending hugs.
Golly, that made me cry at the end too. Beautiful words from her family…sorry for your loss.
Becky C says:
This is beautiful…and heartbreaking…but mostly beautiful!:)
Erin W says:
I was in tears after the first paragraph…let alone the end! I am so sorry Heather. Such a beautiful woman that touched so many lives! She will continue to live through each and every person she came in contact with. Thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Whew. I’m at work and had to stop reading and look away three times to get through that without bawling. What an amazing tribute to your dear friend and sweet Maddie. I’m so incredibly sorry for your loss. Such hard blows you and Mike have been dealt. It’s just unfair. I don’t even know you, and it pisses me off. Like you said before, it seems the only thing left is to remember that one of your jobs now is to try with all your might to live a happy life, because they didn’t get to (not to its entirety, that is). And show Annie how to pick up and do good with a bad situation. Again, I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this. It’s too much. Just know that people who are “strangers” are thinking of you, your family and friends.
Tears. A beautiful tribute.
Heather Havins says:
Beautiful story, tremendous loss, but an amazing life well lived.
It made me sob as well. That was beautiful.
jill (mrschaos) says:
I’m sitting here in tears. What a beautiful tribute to your beautiful friend.
I’m truly so very sorry.
That was lovely. And I so hope that she’s with Maddie.
Yvette Mc says:
I was balling before i even finished reading – glanced towards the bottom saw Maddie’s name and couldn’t finish. It was a beautiful tribute to a beautiful person….
Love to the Spohrs and Oswald Family
This is absolutely beautiful, Heather. My heart aches for you and for Jackie’s family..she is obviously an amazing person and she will be missed by so many. The friendship and connection like the one that you and Jackie share is so very rare and I am positive that she will always be very near you, no matter where you are. My thoughts and prayers are with you..
Beautiful tribute for a beautiful soul x2 (Maddie)
Thinking of you and Jackie’s! Amazing family during this difficult time.
Peace and strength!
Live life as Jackie! And Maddie did!
What an amazing tribute.
You have no idea how my heart breaks for you and how sorry I am. ~hug~
Kim Orlandini says:
Heather and Mike, I am so so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to such an amazing woman and fighter, and to your beautiful angel Maddie. I am sure they are having the time of their lives with this reunion. I love you!
Heather & Mike – I’m so sorry for your loss, but really glad that you have so many wonderful memories of your friend and the ability to share them with the world. Sending you strength in the coming weeks.
All I could think is “I’m brave, I’m brave, I’m brave” ……
I am so sorry for your losses – both Jackie and Maddie. When you posted about Jackie’s death, I immediately thought that she was greeted by Maddie, and she gave Maddie a big hug for you. Sending you many thoughts and prayers as you deal with such a huge loss.
Pictures of Jackie captured the very essence of the beautiful and amazing heart and soul within. Though I never met her, I will never, ever forget her — a true gift of life by which we all aspire to live so fully, so passionately and with every ounce of strength and courage that she wholeheartedly possessed.
This tribute is such a beautiful testament to the life and love of Jackie. I ache for her family and for you and all the lives she so gently touched.
What a beautiful tribute. The mention of Maddie brought tears to my eyes.
I noticed that the picture of Jackie in the post perfectly matches up to Maddie’s picture in the sidebar, in the Friends of Maddie advertisement. That is something right there.
I’m so sorry for your loss, Heather. But I love the idea of Jackie and Maddie playing in heaven and watching over you.
J from Ireland says:
Such a beautiful tribute for such a beautiful person. So touching, my heart breaks for you all.
It’s a comfort to know that they’ll be together.
I was a long-time reader for a while years back, right around when we all lost Maddie. I took a break around the time you had Annie because I had a little one of my own who abosorbed all of my time :-).
I’ve recently come back with thoughts of Jackie in mind and was heartbroken to hear that she wasn’t doing well and I’m now even sadder to know her bright spirit is no longer with us. I hope you find peace and comfort in all of the amazing memories you two have created. Finding a friend like her is such a rarity… you are the lucky one.
That’s really beautiful. I’ll never forget when the minister at my husband’s grandfather’s funeral service mentioned our daughter Eliza specifically as being with David’s grandpa now. It meant so much to me. Amazing how even after she’s gone, Jackie continues to offer gifts like that one.
Thinking of you, Jackie, and Maddie, as you grieve the loss of a dear friend and a really beautiful person–inside and out. (Seriously, how many people can pull off beautiful long hair OR a pixie cut? Jackie awes me in many ways.)
I had tears as soon as I read that the tribute made you and Mike sob. Full-out crying when I read Maddie’s name. Jackie certainly lived a full life. There’s no doubt that she’s up there regaling Maddie with her adventures and telling her all about her mommy, daddy, and sister Annie.
I couldn’t sleep last night and came across this post on Twitter… And then I just started reading through your blog, remembering your posts about Jackie and Maddie. I started to cry reading through your struggles and pain. Hugs from a stranger out here in TX. You have had to go through such extraordinary loss in your 33 years. Thinking of you and praying that you – and all who loved Jackie – find the strength to go on without her, which I realize is such a shitty thing to have to do.
I can only hope to be remembered in such a beautiful way! This post is inspirational…reminding us all to live life to its fullest despite adversities! What a lovely legacy Jackie leaves. Again, I am deeply sorry for your loss.
Hugs to you and your family,
Mary Ann says:
I’ve never shed so many tears for someone I never met. A remarkable woman and a remarkable family. I am so sorry for you loss.
Thank you for allowing us the gifts of knowing about Jackie and Madeline through your blog. It can’t always be easy to write, or even to get out of bed, but you are doing so many people a justice by letting us in on your experiences. You, Mike, Annabel, Rigby, the extended family, the friends… are all dynamic individuals and I get a lot out of reading your blog.
I realize it has been said but Jackie was such a beautiful woman who obviously lived life to the fullest. Just gorgeous inside and out. I am so sorry for your very great loss and for the loss her family and other friends must be feeling right now.
Not a religious person but believe wherever they are, Jackie and Madeline are together and great hugs have been had,
What a beautiful tribute. And how comforting to think of Maddie having Jackie with her now…that must bring a small bit of peace to this awful situation.
That is truly the best tribute I have ever read. Such beautiful words to describe a beautiful life. She is missed by so many.
What an amazing woman and beautiful tribute. Sending love from Colorado, my thoughts are with you and your family Heather.
J ELLIS says:
I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful amazing friend.
Jennie B says:
I haven’t been back here in a while and I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I lost my brother to a brain tumor as well. My thoughts are with you and with Jackie’s friends and family.
And now I’m sobbing. What a beautiful tribute to Jackie! and so amazing that they mentioned Maddie. Still praying for you all…
las artes says:
What a beautiful post and a beautiful tribute to your lovely friend. Your words are an incredible tribute to Jackie! and to Maddie. I am so sorry for all of your heartache. You are making all of your girls proud.
Just wanted to drop a line that I was thinking of you today. I can’t imagine your loss and am not religious…so I am thinking of you is all I can say.
Susan Kalb says:
So sorry for you loss!!! What a beautiful lady with a beautiful smile!!! Thinking of you, your family and Jackie’s family.
Beautiful. I haven’t been on line in about two weeks and was afraid that this had happened. Jackie was lucky to have you in her life, and Maddie is lucky to be with her now.
My favorite term for a life cut short is “they lived wide, not long.” And after reading this obituary, Jackie certainly lived wide. What a wonderful feeling it must be for you and Mike to know that Jackie is up there with your Maddie.
I hope you continue to feel her presence.
What a beautiful tribute – thank you so much for sharing it. Sending you peace and hugs.
So lovely, Heather. I can’t get over how lovely she was. What a gift of a friend. I’m so sorry she had to go so soon. xoxo.
The first thing I thought, when I put all of this together a while ago, was that if there is anything after this Maddie and Jackie! will be together in it. I don’t necessarily think that’s all that comforting, but there you go.
Thanks to Jackie! and her fund raising efforts, cancer may have won this battle, but it won’t win the war. But, damn it’s hard to lose those battles.
Beautiful words for a beautiful person (inside and out). My love to you all.
Just beautiful and yes, that little angel at the end made it hard to breathe.
O wow, o wow, that really got me. Beautiful.
When I read this on her CaringBridge site, I loved the tribute and cried off & on throughout but when I reached the part where they mentioned Maddie, the floodgates opened!
So precious and sweet of the family to remember that special bond between the two of them!
So very beautiful and touching. So glad that Jackie! and Maddie can keep each other company and look over you all!!