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Reflections

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by Eddie Bass

Although we had known for about three months that her illness was terminal, it still came as a shock when wife Jody passed away.

I suppose until the very end, I had hoped for a miracle. And that's what it would have been a true miracle if she had recovered from her liver cancer.

Her oncologist gave her no hope. He kept saying over and over, "I wish there was something I could do." But he said surgery was out of the question, that radiation wouldn't do any good and neither would chemotherapy.

All he could do was to make her as comfortable as possible. "I guarantee you," he said during an office visit, "that you won't suffer." He kept his word.

I suppose part of my hoping for a miracle came from the members of an informal Bible study group to which Jody belonged. One of the members went so far as to get down on her knees at Jody's bedside a few days before she died and pray, "Lord if you could raise Lazarus from the dead, surely you could make Jody well."

However, it wasn't to be. She died peacefully with a friend and former neighbor, and our daughter and I, at her bedside.

Jody was a remarkable person. After 53 years of marriage, you would expect me to say that. But the outpouring of love and affection that came after her death supports what I said.

She was the bravest person I've ever known. "I'm not afraid to die," she said. "And I don't want any teary-eyed stuff. I've lived a gung-ho life of 71 years."

Gardening particularly flowers and animals, in addition to her family, were the loves of Jody's life.

In all our years of marriage, I don't think there's been more than a couple months at a time that we haven't had a dog. As one would pass on from old age or affliction, a new puppy would take its place.

It's amazing how many people Jody became acquainted with as she walked her beloved dog Annie in Phelps Grove Park. In fact, she walked Annie for the last time only eight days before her death.

And the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of hours she spent working in our yard turned it into a showplace.

Jody's illness appeared to have come on suddenly because she always had enjoyed exceptionally good health. For example, she didn't even have a regular doctor when she became ill enough last November to seek medical attention. So she called the medical society and asked for a reference.

After the physician diagnosed her illness, she told him it probably was her fault that the cancer wasn't discovered sooner because she hadn't been to a doctor in years.

It wouldn't have made any difference, the doctor told her. "You have such a rare form of cancer that the doctor probably wouldn't have discovered it," he said.

Kind words need to be said about the hospice group which took care of her until the end. The care and attention they gave to her and to me was fantastic.

And I can't say enough about the dozen or so women in the Bible study group to which Jody belonged. They fed me, did my laundry, even sat up nights with Jody. And they sang and read scriptures at her burial ceremony.

There are two memorials to Jody's life.

Somewhere out there in space there's a star officially named Jody, with that fact being duly recorded in the International Star Registry in Switzerland.

And the room at Cox South in which Children's Miracle Network physicians examine their patients will be painted like an aquarium in Jody's memory.

Finally, here's a tribute written by a neighbor and which was read by the minister at Jody's funeral: "You are the grandmother I never had, the mother everyone needs keeping an eye on them and the friend few are blessed to have in their lives. You are, and always will be, very special to us.

"May God grant you peace on your journey. We know your watchful eye will be with us always."

That just about says it all.

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