Thursday, July 22, 2010

Resting in peace

Around 7:30pm on Wednesday, the hospice nurse told mom that Shayna probably had 24 to 48 hours until she passed away. As mom was delivering the news to me, the nurse came out and said we probably needed to join Shayna by her bedside because her blood pressure had dropped and 24 to 48 hours shortened to a few hours. From the time that we were called into the room, until Shayna passed away, we all sat around her, prayed for her, cried for her, rejoiced in the fact that she would no longer suffer, wept at the fact she would no longer be with us, and intently listened to every breath she took. As the night wore on, we could tell she was close. We all stood around her, each and everyone of us, utterly helpless as she fought to hold on. 3:25AM on Thursday, July 22nd 2010, Shayna Lane Pearl took her last breath, her heart made it's final beat, and God called another angel back to Heaven.

For 2 months and 10 days, Shayna was an absolute warrior. Back in May, when she was told that she had cancer, the first thing she said to me was "I'm scared" and we talked for a bit and I did my best to encourage her and let her know that if she fought hard enough and really wanted to live, she could do it. I believed she could. It wasn't a highly rational belief because although it was entirely possible, without a miracle, her odds were slim. As soon as the doctors told us it was Spindle cell sarcoma, I jumped online and tried to research it as much as I could. Every single piece of information I could find about spindle cell sarcoma said the same thing: "Life expectancy is 2 to 5 years". It was obviously quite discouraging to find out that someone who was only 26 years old would only make it to 31 at the oldest unless she was able to miraculously be cured. "It's possible... anything is possible"... When you keep hearing "anything is possible" you start to believe it... I really thought Shayna had a shot...she did too. Despite what the doctors had told Shayna and what research she had done on it herself, she never once thought she was going to die. At least she never expressed it if she did. Everyday, she would do whatever she thought it would take to get well again. She would pretend like she wasn't in pain when you could see the discomfort all over her face. She truly felt that there was more life to be lived and that it was just too soon for her to go so she fought until her body just couldn't fight anymore.

I am so confused by this entire situation... Shayna was one of the best people I've ever met and it took me losing her this morning to actually realize just how amazing of a person she actually was. For the 24 years and 9 months that I have had the honor of being Shayna's younger brother, she has always been there for me when I needed her. She was an amazing role model because no matter what the situation, if it came down to choosing to be "cool" or doing what she thought was right, no matter what people would say, she would do what she thought was right. To add to that, if someone was picked on for being different, or was treated unkindly for any reason, Shayna would ALWAYS be the person to show them genuine kindness and be the friend that everyone should be. Shayna was the type of person that everyone would be beyond fortunate to have as a friend, or in my case, a sister. I could go on and on about her but if you have ever met her, you know nothing else needs to be said.

I know you all would like to know what the plan is as far as funeral arrangements but Shayna is going to be cremated and we will be holding a memorial service for her. The date, time, and location is still to be determined but as soon as we get that all figured out, I will post it on here.

I was hoping with everything in my being that I would never have to share this news. She will truly be missed by everyone who ever knew her and her memory will live on. She is no longer in any discomfort, she will never feel pain again. She fought the good fight, she ran her race for as long her body would allow it. May she rest in peace, and may her memory live on forever.

Although I'm not even aware of the amount of pain her loss has caused, is causing, and will cause me, I've got to say I'm happy that the last memory I'll have of Shayna speaking to me was her telling me that she loved me. Ever since I can remember, she has always loved Big Red gum... She was so very weak, and so sick, but she had a craving for it. When I was at the grocery store last week, I had picked some up for her so that she could chew on it while she recovered... I brought it into to her, and mom said "Look at this, Shayna! Jonah brought you Big Red!" and she said "I love you, Jonah"... that was the last thing she would ever say to me in this life.

"Life"... the combination of four letters to form a word to describe what we all experience from the moment our hearts start beating until they beat no more. It is impossible to provide the word with an accurate definition; it is so very different for everyone. When you were born, where you lived, who your family was, who your friends were, who you loved, what you experienced through your own eyes, the unique thoughts and dreams created by your brain. It seems like there should be different, significant, individual word for what everyone simply just calls "life". Shayna would be a good word to describe her life because Shayna is Hebrew for beautiful. Her countenance, her personality, her spirit. Everything about Shayna was beautiful and beauty will never be the same without Shayna here. May we all find some comfort in the fact that although we no longer have her here as a living, breathing person, we have the joy and beauty in the form of memories that she has helped us create throughout the course of her 26 years and 11 months.

I love you Shayna, Mom loves you, Cameron loves you, Sam loves you, and anyone who has ever met you has undoubtedly found love for you. The only way I can smile right now is thinking of you getting to spend time with dad again. Please keep him company until we all come to our times to find each other again.


  1. Jonah - thank you very much for taking the time to update Shayna's blog and to give us an insight into her final moments. You are a wonderful brother and Shayna always made it very clear that her family was most dear to her heart.

  2. Jonah... I want you to know that if you or your family ever need anything I want you to let me know.. I am and have been praying for your wonderful family during this horrible time... Please keep me posted on her memorial service. My family and I would live to come an support you guys. Like I said if you need an old friend to talk to I'm here with my ears, arms and heart wide open... Love ya man... Hang in there...
    Rebekah ratliff

  3. Jonah & Family, I am so sorry...I just found out via Deborah, a fellow Mustang Obsessed friend. Words cannot describe how any of you, her family, must feel, and you all have my sincerest sympathy. I just cannot believe someone who lived her life, and lived it so well, is gone. She was an amazing person, an overly loving friend, and just an all around wonderful person to be able to have had the pleasure of knowing.
    Deepest Condolences,
    Natasha Welcher

  4. Jonsh - I have been keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers throughout. I too, was so hoping for a miracle. We don't always know God's reasoning for things and this is especially hard to understand. I'm sorry I didn't know Shayna better. My only real encounter with her as an adult was at Thanksgiving a couple of years ago. Just that one time inpression was that Shayna had such a sweet spirit, such an inner beauty that it just shined through. You have such an awesome family . . . My heart goes out to you all in your time of sorrow.

    Linda Hand Martin

  5. Jonah, you are a special and caring brother to write such a loveingly blog about your sister. I did not know Shayna much as an adult but the few times I have seen her, she was the sweetest person and I knew she had a heart of gold and love for everyone. You may not remember me and my husband, Foy, as we have only seen each other at Betsy's for Thanksgiving a couple of times. I knew Shayna a little better. You probably know our daughter Sherri. Your family will be in our thoughts and prayers through this hard time for all of you. Love, your Great Aunt Nancy and Uncle Foy

  6. My heart is heavy for your entire family. After reading the comments by her younger brother, I am so inspired to tell all of my loved ones just how much each of them mean to me. What a blessed tribute to a sister who touched lives in a beautiful way. God Bless You All as you remember your cherished loved one. Linda Sharpton, Laurens, SC

  7. Please post where the memorial will be and when. I am sure a lot people are unsure of it and would love to attend to show their love for Shayna.