Well. I know what I need to say, but I don’t really know how to say it.

At the end of last week, Mike, Annabel, and I drove up to the San Francisco Bay Area after Jackie!’s sister told me to come. Jackie!’s brain tumors have grown to the point where she needs care around the clock. It’s been four years since she was diagnosed, but things have moved at a hideously fast pace in the last week. Too fast for me to comprehend.

Jackie!’s family is amazing. They turned their dining room into a replica of Jackie!’s apartment. They were always ready with food, drinks, and hugs. They were nice enough to allow me to basically camp out at the house and run their errands (You want dry ice? You want pool cleaner? I’m your girl.). You’re probably thinking, “they *let* you run their errands?” But I was there to help, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to let any of them leave her side.

I got to sit with Jackie! and hold her hand. Sometimes she was awake, and we’d talk. We whispered secrets and we made promises to each other. She was in good spirits, even when the rest of us were breaking around her. I am so lucky that I got to look into her eyes and tell her I love her. I am luckier that she said “I love you” back.

Yesterday morning her dad put his arm around me and told me that I had to keep going. That I had to go back to my life and live. I needed him to say that, because even though Jackie! had told me the same thing, I just…needed to hear it again. So I will do my best to keep going every day, because they made me promise I would, and you do NOT cross Jackie!’s family. They know people.

Still, it took me several hours to get up the courage to walk out the front door of their house.

There is no timeline. She’s surrounded by her family, and love from her friends is coming in from all over the world. I know she feels it.

Heather & Jackie!
Me and Jackie, July 17, 2008