Gone yet always around, one lady was determined to be there for her children, even if it meant connecting with them from beyond the grave.
In 2013, 55-year-old superwoman, wife, and mom Jacqueline Zinn or "Jacquie" was diagnosed with a deadly brain cancer called glioblastoma.
However, true to her nature, instead of buckling under the heaviness of the news, Jacqueline did everything to take on what was, sadly, a losing battle. She passed away on July 16, 2013.
Jacqueline Zinn with her loved ones. | Source: facebook.com/james.zinn.54
LEAVING BEHIND A LEGACY
While death may have finally defeated her despite her tenacious attitude, this mother was not one for losing, leading a highly successful lifestyle. As her obituary reads:
"She graduated magna cum laude from Duke University in 1979 and received her MBA from UNC Business School (now Kenan Flager) in 1989."
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this inspirational woman's immeasurable achievements in just over five decades.
MOM OF THE YEAR
However, out of her many aspirations, being a mother was her number one joy, experiencing pure happiness when around her children. Her eulogy stated:
"The role, of which she was most proud, was mother."
This is why during the few weeks before she passed away, Jacquie wrote letters to each of her kids: Christopher, Jerry, James, and Mary Kathryn Zinn. She wrote some while paralyzed on one side and in a wheelchair.
NEVER REALLY GONE
These letters, which she worked on every night before her death, were meant for the kids at different milestones. Jerry received his first one at 19 years old, which partially said:
"I will be watching over you every day to see what new and exciting things you will accomplish -- regardless of what occupations(s) you pursue."
He would also be receiving a letter on graduation day, which Jerry admits was a huge motivation to finish college. An old friend of Jacquie, Steven Petrow, suspects this was part of her "master plan."
Of course, true to Jacqueline's style, she planned her funeral, even leaving behind a final missive which, in part, expressed:
“Please go out and celebrate my life. It was fabulous!”
From her achievements to motherhood to her simply beautiful spirit, this lovely woman will remain in her family and friends' hearts for the rest of their lives.
THE POWER OF PIZZA
Another deceased woman certainly lived in one man's heart to the point where he had suicidal thoughts and had lost the will to live.
That is until, like Jacqueline's children, he appeared to receive a message from the individual he was grieving -- his late wife.
Walking into a pizzeria, 59-year-old widower Dennis Kust had lost all hope. That is until he received a gift from an anonymous patron: A pizza with words written inside the box which read, "Stay Strong."
A letter written by Dennis Kust [left]; Dennis Kust crying [right]. | Source: youtube.com/CBS New York
Kust said she repeatedly uttered these words to him during the last month of his wife's life. This gesture, he claimed, saved his life.
Words could comfort someone grieving, help them finish college, and even prevent another from dying. There is no doubt then that the pen or keyboard still holds a deeply underestimated power.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.
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