Three Years

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Yesterday marked the third anniversary of Madang – Ples Bilong Mi.  Today’s post will be a short one, as events are moving very rapidly here in Brisbane and I need to focus my energy elsewhere.

What I take with me today as I think of three years of this journal is the realisation of how much life can change and how suddenly that change can come about. Here in these posts, over the last three years, you have seen a celebration of life. Over the last few weeks the tone has understandably darkened

However, that does not mean that I am not still celebrating life. Though I cannot see the shape of my life to come, I must believe that I will somehow find some measure of joy again – some small measure.

Today, I give you an early picture from one of the first posts on Madang – Ples Bilong Mi  when Eunie, Val and I visited the USS Peleliu as it made a goodwill stop in Madang:

It’s not a good image, but this isn’t about photography. The expression on Eunie’s face is illustrative of the way she interacts with people. With Eunie, you always feel as if you are engaged with and the focus of her attention. I’m certain that this busy naval captain will remember the attention he received from Eunie three years ago.

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Two mornings ago I had the worst day of my life, so far. My son, Hans, and I had to tell Eunie that she was not going to be going back to Madang in the body that God has given her for her journey here on Earth. It was, by far, the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

I need to tell all of you, those who love Eunie and those who come to know her through reading my journal, that her days are very likely counted now on a single hand. That is the medical opinion. Our promise to her was to keep her from pain and love her forever.

Our sadness is, of course, immeasurable. However, in our system of belief, Eunie is merely crossing the final bridge to the place where she has always belonged. She believes this absolutely and is composed beyond belief.

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19 Responses to “Three Years”

  1. Ray Selby Says:

    Jan, That last picture of Eunie and yourself posted yesterday says it all. God bless.

  2. Glenn Douglas Says:

    I am shocked and silent with sadness……

    Words are hard to find but please know that my love and thoughts are with you all.

    Jan, your words move me and have made me realize how lucky we are to have our loved ones around.

    Please send my love to Eunie, your words “you always feel as if you are engaged with and the focus of her attention” is so true!!!

    Sorry for my rambling, love to all.


  3. kristy Says:

    Continued prayers for all of you and for peace and painlessness for Eunie.

  4. Ged Says:

    Jan, wow what a powerful testimony to your faith and lifegiving love to each other. We’re all thinking of Eunie, you and Hans here. Give Eunie a huge overwhelming hug from Hannah & I. Ged & Han

  5. Tobi Says:

    May Eunie continue to be pain-free for the time she has left…that is a blessing. We, the ones who stay behind, take the pain for them. I wish you healing and love. Your posts remind me of what love TRULY means.

  6. Nancy McDonald Says:

    Your strength is getting Aunt Eunie through this. Love the picture. As we do all of them. Thank you and Hans for your strength and love during this hard time.

  7. Pam and Gary Says:

    Our darling Jan, Fay has just introduced me to blog. You’ve been here for 3 years. You know we are not technical. I am so gald that I can at least assure you of our prayers and heartfelt love at this devastating time. I could feel the love in the lying together photo and it made me weep with you. Your love and comfort to Eunie is very special and I know you will be strong in the Lord as you take one day at a time. Make the most of every minute and tell her we love her heaps. Our supportive prayers are with you and our hearts ache for you. Much Love always Pam and Babe

  8. nancy sullivan Says:

    Sending love in terrible grief for you and :Hans today. Eunice will always been in our hearts

  9. Colin Huggins Says:

    It must be very hard and it seems to me to be so sudden, after all it wasn’t too long ago that Eunice was in Fiji with you for some conference?
    I am so pleased to see that Hans is there with you.

    I find, mate, this previous entry so very much distressing:

    “I cannot view this image without weeping. Eunie is speaking to her daughter-in-law, Tamara, and our granddaughters Pippa and Audrey Rose in Hamilton, Ontario while our son, Hans holds the phone for her. You can see the joy in her expression”.

    It really is heart breaking.
    Take care, God will welcome Eunice. She has been a wonderful wife to you.

    Finschhafen 63/69.

  10. Marcel Says:

    I heard about Eunice from Karen and Trevor, they have been in Goroka for 3 days. Not much to say after reading your touching stories, but from the Highlands of PNG I just wanted to let you know that I think of you and Eunice.

    Wishing you all the love and strength to guide you, Eunice and your family and friends through this difficult period.


  11. Julia Toussaint-Jackson Says:


    We have heard the shocking news today of Eunice’s passing. We are deeply saddened. But we also know that if anyone has a guaranteed entry to heaven, it’s Eunice!

    Eunice was a truly remarkable lady. I will always remember her as having the biggest heart, the kindest spirit, and the most honourable character of anyone I know. She helped me numerous times, and I thank her profoundly.

    Jan, we can only imagine your pain and loss at this time. Please be assured that we are praying for you, and know that you have the strength to keep yourself going to keep following your life’s path.

    With all our love,
    Paul, Julia, Alex and Olivia Toussaint-Jackson

  12. Heather Says:

    I heard today that Eunie passed last night. We know that now she is at peace, that she is out of pain and that she knew she was loved. Eunie was a vital force who made differences in people’s lives — indivudually and structurally. I count myself as blessed to have had the opportunity to know her, even for only a portion of her dynamic life. Jan, my thoughts go to you at this heartbreaking time. Aloha Nui Loa!

  13. CarolBeth Says:

    Oh, Jan, I just read in the above post that Eunice has passed on. As I said on my facebook page. the loss is truly great, for all of us except Eunie. {{{hug}}}

  14. ZydecoDoug Says:

    Jan, I read your “Three Years” post some 18 hours ago, as it was still fresh off your keyboard. I was simply too shaken and heartbroken to respond at the time, for there really were no words to be shared.

    It is with such earthly sadness yet heavenly rejoice that I offer my sincerest sympathy to you, to Hans, and to all your family and friends. As your dear Eunie’s indeed crossed that final bridge to eternal peace, she leaves a legacy of warmth, compassion and undying love to those of us who mourn her mortal passing.

    Peace to you, Jan.

  15. kristy Says:

    My sincerest sympathies and prayers continue. May God grant you the peace to deal with the pain of your grief. The same for your son, Hans as well and his family.
    A friend, whose son died recently, had a tshirt made which hopefully applies to you as well, “Grieving, but not without hope.”

  16. Diana Says:

    Jan, I am so sad to hear Eunie died last night. My memories of Eunie in Madang are of a bubble of spiritted happiness always busy, usually, in my case, somewhere in the CWA. I know you will be comforted by your family, friends and your faith. What I learned through a simular sadness is that grief changes but never goes away. Be strong as I’m sure you will be and take care of yourself. My thoughts are with you, Diana

  17. Brenda Says:

    Dear Jan,

    The world has lost a wonderful human being, heaven has gained an angel. Our heartfelt sympathies at this most difficult stage of life for you. May the multitude of memories that the two of you created together over the last 46 years bring a small measure of comfort at this time.

    Our sympathies also extend to Hans and his family. The one small blessing is that Hans was able to be with his Mom (and Dad) until the end of life on earth for Eunie.

    Ron, Brenda, Katharine & Jennifer

  18. Karen Denison Says:

    Give Eunice a kiss for me and wish safe passage. Your love for her is so evident in your writings – it must be very therapeutic for you to write. It is also plain to see that you and Eunice have many friends that are supporting you in this difficult time. Soak up their love for you…it will comfort you in the days and weeks to come.

  19. Eunice H. Says:

    Eunice was such an amazing person that it was easy to miss seeing how amazing her husband is, too. I have full confidence that you will move forward from this moment, from this immeasurable loss. Not fast at first. But you will. And you will not take these steps alone. Some will walk closely beside you, others will stand in front and beckon you forward, others will be on the sidelines cheering you on. We love you and we continue to pray.