The Judy Joseph Palliative Care Program
In the Parable of the Matchbox, Judy was one of those matchsticks that gave forth the brightest flame, shining a beautiful light to the people around her to brighten up their lives, albeit only for a few magic moments.
My memories of Judy are that of a cheerful and loving sister, always ready to lend a helping hand. She found time for friends and family, even when she was already tired from work. She looked at the bright side of things, rather than dwell on the dark. She played the hand that's dealt to her, never complaining, always smiling. She was steadfast in her faith in God.
Her fight against cancer was by itself an inspiration to all. She gave a good fight, never giving up. She worked full time in between her chemotherapy sessions, still caring for her patients when others would just have folded back, until her health deteriorated. She touched the lives of many, not only her family. She put up a strong facade even as her health deteriorated, so her parents would not have to worry about her.
It has been 18 month since Judy passed on, but I still think of her frequently. I still remember what she told her son Arthur early on, that there will be a period of mourning but then life goes on. She has missed a lot of joyous family occasions since, like Arthur's acceptance into medicine last year, our niece Stephanie's wedding last September, nephew Aldrich's wedding next month, niece Joyce's wedding in August and our niece Lucille's wedding in June next year. I take solace that she is now in a better place and though she is gone, she lives in our hearts forever.
April 26, 2013
It's been nine months since you've left me, nine long months. I have been thinking about you every single day, and it's no easier now than it was 3 months or 6 months ago. At first it seemed like you just went to work, and that you would be back in the morning. That day turned into weeks, and those weeks into months, and now it's almost a year, and I really miss you. Everyday I hope you'll be walking through the door, only to be disappointed.
You've been the best mom in the entire world, and I am truly blessed to have had 22 wonderful years with you. We've always been very close, closer than a mother and son, closer than the best of friends. They always said that the doctor forgot to cut the umbilical cord between us because we were always so attached to each other. We never needed anything to do, as just talking and watching a television show was more than enough for us. We would always go out to lunch every Saturday and Sunday just to have some time together. Looking back now I'm even more grateful that we spent those times together because it makes it so much more special and meaningful.
I'll always remember the amazing memories we've made together. All the talks we have had, and all the lessons you have taught me will never be forgotten. I will always remember you telling me that you believe in me, and that you have confidence in me when no one else did. Moving forward without you is the hardest thing I've ever had to do, but I promised you that I would fulfill my dream for the both of us, and that is precisely what I will do.
Mom, you're the best, and you will never be forgotten.
Judy loved and cared for many people, literally and figuratively. It has been said we live one of 3 kinds of life in this earth. The first one is the life of survival, where one goes about the daily grind aimlessly and struggles to survive. The second is a successful life, where one is consumed with one's wellbeing and the possession of material wealth and fame. Judy lived neither one of these. She lived the third kind. She lived a "Life of Significance". A person living this life is consumed about the wellbeing of others more than himself/herself. A person in this life overflows with Joy, Compassion, and Love. Judy had all of those. She touched the life of many, and especially myself. She was always there for me, and she was there when I was going through some tough times. The many who showed up at the viewing is a testimony of the "Life of Significance" she lived. She was surrounded by her many loved ones--her loved ones from work, from her church, and from her family. She blessed many, and she was blessed by many.
Judy not only lived a "Life of Significance", but she also lived a "Fully Surrendered Life". Judy lived a life fully surrendered to the will of GOD. During one of our many conversations with her last few months, she told me that she was not bitter at all and that she does not ask God "Why me?" She said eternity is such a long time, our life here is but a glimpse of it. She said, "We can't see the whole picture that God sees, but I know that He has a great purpose, and I just have to trust Him". She said because of her condition, she came back closer to God; " Adams and Arthur (husband and son) came to know the Lord, and if this is the reason for my condition, it is well worth dying for." She refused to go, and she hung around just long enough to see and hear her most important wish come true. It was so important to her that she told me, "If I die without seeing it come to fruition, you must carry on. You must make sure of it". You see, Judy had a dilemma: Judy knew where she was spending eternity, she knew that she was going to heaven. She knew because God made it very clear in the Bible. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." Judy believed and trusted in Jesus Christ as her savior. Her dilemma was that she knew that she was going to heaven, but she also wanted to spend eternity with her loved ones in heaven also. She wanted to make sure that she will one day be reunited with her parents in heaven. Her most important wish before dying was to see her parents come to trust Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior also. She lived to see that happen the Sunday before she passed away. Our parents committed their lives to God. After Judy knew, she went home about 30 hours later. I truly believed she waited for that moment before peacefully passing on. That is living a "Life of Significance". Consumed by the wellbeing of others, putting others before herself. That was Judy's testimony. She is now in heaven, ready to hear her master say, "Well done, Good and Faithful Servant".
To post your own memory about Judy here, please email us at ICANCancerPrograms@askican.org and we will post it within 24 hours. Please include your phone number.
The Judy Joseph Palliative Care Program
is a vital part of ICAN's Cancer Patient Advocacy and Clinical Trials Program Advocacy Services.
Federal Tax I.D.: EIN 86-0818253