J Says Goodbye

Posted: Friday, May 2, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Dear Readers. A few weeks ago, I wrote about a former Keloland co-worker I identified only as "J." After suffering a stroke 15 years ago she was left unable to speak or move below the neck. "J" had made a conscious decision to end her life. I can tell you now that her actual name is Jan Peterson..one of the most capable, caring, good natured..and it turns out "bravest" people I’ve ever known.Jan completed her journey of life on earth this past week. She passed away peacefully at Harmony House in Waterloo, Iowa..her home since the stroke.Jan’s dad died when she was very young. In recent years she lost her mother..who also had a stroke at a young age..and her brother, Ron. Her sister Susie was the only immediate family left and honored Jan’s wishes to stop all nourishment and allow her to die. Jan’s faith was strong and in spite of her confinements, she was a joy to be around for those treasured friends who came to see her. She never lost the ability to laugh.I wanted to share a final note that Jan had written..not to make you sad..but to appreciate her faith, strength and relilef that her long painful ordeal is finally over.Jan Denise Peterson  1960 – 2008Dear Family and Friends, Thank you for coming today. I want this to be a celebration of my life, not a mourning of my death. I requested a closed casket. I want you to remember how I looked when I was alive. I planned my own service today. Thank you to those of you taking part. To my friends and staff at On With Life in Ankeny, thank you so much for all you did for me. My computer and wheelchair enabled me to be so independent! I will never forget you. To my friends and staff at Harmony House in Waterloo, thank you for taking such good care of me. Thank you for holding my hand when I would cry because I missed everyone so much. Thank you for being there. For all my family and friends, thank you so much for being there for me and my family all those years. Thank you for all the things you have given me over the years, for all your visits, cards, e-mails, for everything. I have loved them all. I am being buried today with all of my absolute favorite things. Drowsy, the doll my daddy gave me when I was born, the stuffed bear my niece Kristin gave me when I first had my stroke, the pillow Susie gave me, made from my brother’s jeans, a beautiful suncatcher from Susie, a soft cat my brother gave me and a beautiful pink blanket from my dear Aunt Elaine. On my wrists are the beautiful friendship bracelets my best friend Monica has made for me over the years. I am wearing my favorite On With Life sweatshirt, along with my Amanda the Panda warm fuzzies. I am up in heaven now, with Daddy, Mom and Ron and all my other family and friends. I can talk and walk again and I am free of all pain. I am having the time of my life! I can’t wait to give you all a big hug when I see you again! I love you all! Jan

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