Rachel Elizabeth John
She's an angel now
Rachel Elizabeth John, 31, was anything but ordinary. On October 17, 2016 Rachel sprouted her wings and flew home. I held her hand and told her not to be afraid, feel my energy and I would walk with her to a place of unconditional love and no more pain.
In her 9 month struggle with Burkitt's lymphoma she endured more than cancer. She was diagnosed when she became paralyzed due to a tumor on her spine. She was twenty-five weeks pregnant when she was informed she had stage 4 of the most aggressive lymphoma. The baby was delivered via c-section at 27 weeks so she could begin chemotherapy 2 days later. She remained in the hospital for 2 months, then 5 day treatment every twenty-one days for the next 6 months. Other complications accompanied her in her battle.
This was one time I agreed with her when she said " it's just not fair, why do I have to have cancer and I can't walk?" There were many complications, but most of the time she put on a brave front. We had our tears, especially when listening to music and she was afraid of dying. I hope I made it easier for her to leave us when I never wanted to let her go. Looking at her journals now I realize even more how she protected the ones she loved. Her family was the most important to her. Concerned about money she would ask me if she could order food while in the hospital or she would watch the kids after only being home one week after chemo while I went to work to save on child care costs. I would tell her I am only filling in for you with your boys until you are able to take care of them. I never wanted her to feel less than the excellent mother she was.
She of course made sure the nurses worked for their paycheck. Once they knew her they realized what a loving, compassionate, protective soul she was, even if a rebellious soul, she was humorous in a sarcastic manner without being mean as Pricilla, a nurse at the hospital wrote on Rachel's board in her room. And please get her food order correct! What are mashed potatoes without gravy!
Bitter in the beginning, she came to a place of gratitude and appreciation for life, that only one in a dire condition can achieve. She loved the feel of the warm breeze on the stubbles of her head when it was starting to grow. She would say "make something of your life, make your dash be filled with love and compassion, let the kids make a mess, and remember people are not just one aspect they are multidimensional."
She just wanted to hear the sweet sound of her older boys voices, would have loved to have been able to physically interact with her babies, and most of all she wanted to be with all four of her boys and come home to Pennsylvania. She was filled with hope taking care of her legal issues and looking forward to being reunited with her children. As she put it " the first time I saw you, my sweet son, I knew my purpose in life was to be a mom." She continued to care for others while 8 months pregnant in July, she mowed the neighbor's lawn without being asked, because he had broken his hand. She would pick people up walking in the snow because they looked cold and were carrying groceries. Of course, she would call mom and ask if she should.
She loved her four boys Ian, Alexander, Isaac, and Ivan John with her entire being as well as her four letter words. Some may say she may not have been an angel here on earth , but I am sure she is now and at peace and happy. She was my angel on earth and we could always depend on each other. Rachel was brutally honest in her opinions, but was able to feel empathy for others even while fighting for her life. She would offer baby clothes to nurses that were pregnant, buy me gifts from the gift shop or online(usually matching gifts for us), and order toys for her boys online
I had the pleasure of looking into those beautiful dark brown eyes for 31 years. As a mother I had the privilege of living with my daughter and being close to her for almost her entire life. Most parents don't get to be in physical proximity with their child in their adult years. I was a very lucky woman to know, live, interact, and communicate with my baby for 31 years. She respected my opinion and I respected hers. I can thank her for teaching me to be fearless and take risks and that everything works out. She made me feel proud n her belief that I could do anything.
She would go outside, the only patient the staff ever unhooked and made friends with patients and family members. She always asked about their condition without offering any of herself. This was one problem that didn't have a solution, as was her philosophy. That may have been my fault always saying every problem has a solution. I guess it did , I just don't like this solution. She trusted me enough to leave her boys in my care and I will always say, "what would Rachel do?" If I can be half the mother to her boys as she was I will have succeeded. Her mother, Jacqueline Lash, who loved her more than life itself and would have traded places with her ,if possible, survives her. Special thanks to her step father, John "Scotchy" Newman for calling her from the onset of her disease and visiting her in Florida, making her feel special. In addition, father Michael John survives her. Other members that survive her are her grandmother, Audrey Stasenko, who she had a special bond and will always be in her heart, Robert and Lucy Lash, Gigi Lash, and of course the cookie queen, Sydney Lash.
She was so excited to have a second chance to to the right thing in the last half of her life. As a wise woman told me this is her second chance. She's home now, but she's an angel protecting us from another realm. I see her everywhere showing me she is happy. I love you!