Photo courtesy Nate Dunford Photography

February 25, 1974~July 3, 2010

Amy is a 36 year old mother of 6.

On April 15th, 2010, she was diagnosed with a rare and terminal cancer: Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma.

Surrounded by her family and friends, she is determined to face her future with faith, hope, courage and love.

Surrounded by her family, and with Gary by her side, Amy passed away in the early morning hours of July 3rd, 2010. Just a short 2 1/2 months after being diagnosed with cancer.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Amy's Declining Health

It is 4:00 in the morning and I cant sleep. I have been watching Amy all night long. Unfortunately we have seen her begin to decline fairly rapidly the past few days. She as had definite decreases in her cognitive abilities and we have been struggling to keep her oxygen saturation in the safe range. Amy's appetite has dwindled to almost nothing over the past several days and she is barely eating anything at all. I am afraid that the tumors in her brain are beginning to really take their toll on her and more treatment is out of the question. It seems to be getting harder and harder for her to finish sentences or to answer questions. And she is having difficulty thinking of words. She does seem to be able to remember things fairly well and once in a while, she will talk to us as if nothing has changed.

Though I know that Amy's time is short with us, we are so grateful for the time that was bought by the radiation to her brain. The past few months have been so precious to us and we have created memories that will last a lifetime. Amy has spent so much time trying to do things for us that will help us to know that she will always be there for us even though we may not see her. I know that she will always be there watching out for her children and myself.

We knew these things were coming, but they seem to be happening way to fast. No matter how hard you try to prepare yourself tor these things, it still is so hard to sit here and watch and feel helpless. Amy has been blessed in that we have been able to manage her pain very well. She is not in any pain most of the time and it seems to be hurting less and less to move her when we need to. That is a tremendous blessing at this time. From time to time she does seem to have moments when she seems more alert and wants to talk but those times are happening less and less. She is sleeping more and more and it is getting harder and harder to wake her and carry on a conversation with her. Oh how I wish I could make this all go away. But I know that we must pass through this trial for some purpose which at times seems so hard to understand. And yet through this all, I have felt at peace and am feeling more at peace every day with what we are going through. I know that this peace is a result of all the faith and prayers that have been offered in our behalf and that it is a gift from our Heavenly Father. Thank you all for your continued prayers, help and support throughout this difficult time in our lives

Also, we are looking forward to a benefit concert here in Santaquin on July 10th at 6:00 PM behind the city center at Center Street and 100 South. Peter Breinholt will be the featured artist and he will be joined by several other local artists including: Firehawk and Kathleen Howard Provstgaard. All of the proceeds will be donated to the Amy Jackson Charitable fund to help us pay for medical and funeral expenses. I have seen Peter Breinholt in concert before and it promises to be a great show. We would love to see as many of you their as possible and I will be attending that event for sure. I would love to meet any of you who may have been touched by Amy or her story in some way. It is my greatest hope that somehow our story will be able to touch the lives of others and help them to be strengthened or uplifted in some way. Amy has touched so many lives during her short time on this earth and I know that she will continue to touch lives long after she is gone from among us. We are so grateful to Kathleen Provstgaard and all of the artists involved for their efforts in making this event possible. We continue to be overwhelmed with all the love and support from our community and from others everywhere who have been so generous.

We love you all


Gary Jackson

Friday, June 25, 2010

Reflections by the light of a full moon

As I write this, I am sitting on the front porch enjoying the cool night breeze and the beautiful full moon. (Aren't laptops great.) This just gives me time to relax and think. What a beautiful night. It's nice to have the opportunity to think and pray and sort things out in my mind. I sit and I wonder at all of Gods wonderful creations and how much he loves us, to give us this beautiful earth to live on. I marvel at his matchless love and his power to create and govern all things. I am so grateful for his guidance and the strength he has given me throughout these past few months. I know that he knows and loves me and each of you individually. I am so grateful for my knowledge of the Savior and the plan of salvation and my testimony. There are so many things to be grateful for and I am...

And still I sit her and I wonder what he has in store for me and my family. I wonder why it is that my beautiful wife's time on this earth is almost up. I wonder for what purpose he is taking her from our family at this time in our lives. I wonder how will I continue on without her and what effect this will have on my children's lives. Even with all the knowledge and peace and comfort I have received, there are still so many questions. All I can do is try my best to have faith that He knows the end from the beginning and that Amy's talents and abilities are needed more on the other side of the veil than they are here. I also sit and think of all the wonderful things my wife has done and the amazing legacy she will leave with us. She has attained as much perfection in so many areas of her life as anyone I can imagine and I suppose that she has proven herself a valiant servant and no longer needs to be tried and tested on this earth.

I sit and I think of all the little things that I will miss so much about my wife. I will miss the way we tease each other. I will miss the way she always plans memorable events on holidays and other occasions to help us create so many memories and traditions. I will miss her laugh, her smile and her sense of humor. I will miss the way she lays her head on my chest while we talk in bed. I will miss the way she always says "we need to talk" (even though sometimes I've learned to dread that phrase). and yes I will even miss the way she rolls in bed and wraps the covers around her leaving me to have to snuggle close to stay warm. And then there are all the simple little things that you never realized how much you appreciated, who will pick at the pimples on my back when it breaks out( I know, T.M.I.), or who will scratch my back when I cant reach it or who will remind me (sometimes I called this nagging) of all the things that I need to do. There are so many things that I will miss about my wife that it is impossible to list even a small portion of them. There are so many things about Amy that I have always taken for granted. I just always figured that she would be there. Now I will have to adjust my life to living without having all those things that I really never knew meant so much to me and that is what is going to be the hardest.
Over the past couple of months I have thought long and hard about how much my wife means to me and I have been so grateful for my marriage and the ways in which we have grown together over the years. We have truly been blessed with a great love for each other and we have done a lot to strengthen our relationship over the years though it hasn't always been easy. We have worked hard to overcome differences and difficulties. And as I sit here, I can't help but hope that all of you who read this can have as much happiness and love in your marriage as we have. (Now don't get me wrong it hasn't been total bliss all of the time.) But we have had a strong marriage with all that we have learned and experienced.
I know that there are not nearly as many men who will read this as there are women, but to those who do, I would like to share a little advice with you that might help you to strengthen your marriage... Always take your wife into your arms each and every morning and each and every night and tell her how much she means to you. Don't assume that she knows you love her... tell her... Show her by doing little things to surprise her. Bring home her favorite candy bar when you come home from work just so she knows you were thinking about her. Call her out of the blue during the day and tell her you love her. Tell her something about her that you appreciate each day. think of all the little things you love about her and share them with her. Share a new reason each day. Don't ever think of things that you wish she would improve on, or how you wish she were different in some ways. Always find ways to make her feel like she is your queen. Think of all the things you would miss about her if she were taken from you suddenly, and be grateful for them and show her your gratitude. Don't try to change her, treat her like she is your everything and either change will come because she will want to show you her appreciation in return or more likely you will learn to look past her faults and understand that she is only human and almost as imperfect as you... I know that I directed this to the husbands because I am one, and I suppose I speak from experience as a husband, but I guess that this advice could be just as good for all of you women as well.

Now I know that I am far from a perfect husband and I don't presume to be an expert on relationships but as I have reflected on my own marriage and what has worked and what has not, I have found that our greatest happiness in our marriage came not when my wife was doing all the things that I wanted her to, but when I was doing all the things that I felt she wanted me to. Some how it seems that those efforts were always met with an eventual equal effort on her part to do the same. When we are more concerned about the wants and needs of our spouse than we are with our own wants and needs, we become less self centered and really contribute to the success of our marriages. I am not even sure why I went into all this other than I hope that as a result of the things that I am going through someone else might be strengthened or helped in some way by it. Again, I know I am no marriage counselor, but I have had a lot of time to think about what I will miss about my wife and about all the things I love about my wife. I have tried to be a good husband and I hope that I have shown her the love that she deserves. I don't want to have any regrets. and I hope that each of you will not take for granted the person who should mean the most to you.

I hope each of you who read this get as much from it as I got from writing it. It is such a strength to me to sit down and write the feelings and thoughts that I have. It is a good way for me to sort out my thoughts and feelings. It is a great way for me to reflect on all of my blessings and to recognize all that my Heavenly Father has done for me. I am so grateful to all of our wonderful friends and family who have strengthened me with your words of encouragement and support. I do know that our Heavenly Father loves us and knows what is best for us. He knows our needs and he is aware of our trials and stands ready to give us the comfort we need. The power of prayer is amazing. When we truly come to Him with real intent, he will listen and he will give us what we need to bear our burdens. Thank you all for taking the time to read my ramblings. I know that sometimes I jump from subject to subject but I am just writing the things that are in my heart.

May you all reflect on your own relationships with your husbands or wives and determine to spend your life showing them how and why you appreciate them. May you all find love and joy in your marriages and if you are not married, then may you always remember the things that I have learned and put them to good use when you do get married. May the Lord bless each of you and keep you. It is getting late and I must say goodnight to the beautiful, full moon. Till next time.

Gary Jackson

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Little Family Outing

Amy was able to enjoy a day out with her family on Friday. 
This is how Gary described it:

"Amy has been talking for weeks about how much she wanted to see Toy Story 3. The other day, she said that she would just have to hope to live long enough for it to come out on DVD. Not so... Her nurse suggested that we make one more attempt to get her out of the house.
She suggested that though it may not be easy, she thought if we were careful, it could be done.

Well... it was definitely possible. This afternoon we were able to get Amy out of the house to go see the movie. It wasn't easy especially on Amy, but we did it. Amy got to see the movie she has been looking so forward to. She did really well though it was very painful to move her and she said she will probably not want to leave the house again, she said it was worth it. As for the movie, it was GREAT. We laughed and cried, Well of course I didn't cry. (what do you think I am a bawl baby?). It was a very good movie.

Now you might think that going to the movie was enough... you would be wrong... Amy said if I am going to have to go through all this trouble... I am going to make it worth my while. So... we went to dinner at Prestwich Farms. Yumm!! I ate way too much. But, we weren't done yet. Next, Amy decided she wanted to go to my softball game. So she did. She spent several hours out of the house, enjoyed some sun, and got some fresh air. It was not easy getting her back in her bed... and it was painful, but we finally got her comfortable and she is sleeping peacefully now.

What an amazing day, what an amazing woman. With two broken hips, and cancer throughout her whole body, she is still going strong and determined to enjoy life. I'm sure it was good for her to get out at least one more time, but it was soooo wonderful for me to see her out and enjoying time away from her bed. I think it was so good for her spirits. I know it was good for mine. I hope she may feel up to trying to get out again... but... time will tell.

She is an amazing person. What has been the neatest thing for me to watch has been how she has been so blessed when she has needed it. I know that she has had Angels with her, strengthening her and helping her in times of need. I have witnessed one miracle after another throughout this whole ordeal. Amy has spent her life in service. And now I know that the Lord will grant her all the strength and comfort she needs through this trial. If we could all be like Amy, the world would be so much more an amazing place to dwell on."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Latest Update

Hello everyone,

For those of you who have been following Amy's story on her blog or facebook, I would like to give everyone a quick update on how Amy is doing and what is the latest on her prognosis.

First I would like to start by saying thank you to everyone who has been there for us. Thank you to all those who have shared their words of love, support and encouragement. Thanks to all of you who have donated so generously to the Amy Jackson Fund. Thanks to all of those who have given of their time and resources to help us with so many things that we have needed. Thanks to all of you who have brought our family meals and household supplies. All of you have been a huge part in making our difficulties and burdens lighter. As difficult as these past several weeks have been, I can't imagine how much more difficult they would have been or what we would have done without all your love, kindness and service.

I know many of you have been asking for more detailed updates and a more complete history as to what all has transpired in our lives over the last several weeks. I will try to first bring you up to date on what Amy's status is at this point in time, and then I will fill you in with a history of Amy's Diagnosis, Treatments, Symptoms and Struggles from the beginning, in a few upcoming posts. Hopefully, if Amy is up to it, we will co-mingle my posts with one or two of her own to allow you all to hear from her as much as possible.

To begin with, after all this time and all that has transpired, I still find it hard to believe that this is really happening to us. At times it still seems unreal and unfair. Yet I wake each morning to the reality of what we are facing. Everything has happened so fast. It just leaves my head spinning and wondering what will be next.

As you all know, we recently returned from a wonderful trip to sunny southern California. We spent a fabulous day at the beach followed by two incredible days at Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure. It was quite an amazing thing to watch Amy on that trip. Many of you know that for several days prior to our trip, Amy had been experiencing quite a bit of pain in her hips and legs as a result of the progressing cancer in her bones. Many times, we considered cancelling or postponing our trip in hopes that further treatments may allow her to gain strength and relief of pain, thus making her trip more enjoyable. On the last few nights prior to our departure for our trip, Amy's pain was just absolutely excruciating. We came so close to calling it off. In fact the night before we flew out, we didn't get any sleep because we spent the whole night trying to make her comfortable. However, we felt that this trip was so important in so many ways and we felt that if we postponed it, we would never be able to go. Amazingly, Amy completed the entire trip almost completely pain free. We know that this was an absolute miracle on her behalf. There were so many people who were praying for Amy and our family and I am a witness that those prayers were answered. We had an amazing time and created memories that will always be cherished and will never be forgotten.

Shortly after our return home, Amy again began to feel a lot more pain and discomfort. And then on last Friday night June 4th, Amy simply moved just wrong and excruciating pain shot from her hip down her left leg. The pain subsided only when her leg was placed in just the right position and not moved at all. After calling her doctor and describing her symptoms, he immediately told us to get her to the hospital and have her checked out. So... after a quick ride in the Ambulance on Saturday morning to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, and several X-rays and Cat Scans, Amy was diagnosed as having a badly broken right hip and a non displaced hairline fracture of her left femur. The doctors suggested surgery right away. They felt she needed a complete hip replacement on the right side and a shaft placed inside the femur of her left leg to strengthen it and prevent further damage. The surgery was scheduled for Monday afternoon.

Over the next two days and nights however, Amy's body had other plans... Due to the tumors in her lung and other places, Amy's breathing and other vital signs began to be affected very quickly. Her respiratory function quickly diminished and she soon had to be kept on 5 liters of oxygen in order to keep her O2 Saturation levels in the safe range. The nurses and doctors tried several times to reduce the oxygen Amy was receiving, but each time her O2 levels dropped to the unsafe range. After consulting with literally every doctor, nurse, anesthesiologist and social worker involved with the case, it was determined that with Amy's body in its weakened state that the operations would be far to risky, The anesthesiologist even went so far as to say that he would refuse the case because of her high risk. Many of the doctors felt that if we went through with the surgery, we would have a very likely chance of losing Amy on the operating table.

At this time, we were faced with some very difficult decisions. were we prepared to take a chance of losing Amy at this time? What would Amy's quality of life be like with or without the surgery? How would we continue to care for Amy if she didn't have the surgery? What would her prognosis be with and without the surgery? So many things to think about. We knew that if we chose not to proceed with the surgery, Amy would be bound to a hospital bed for the remainder of her life. We knew that it would be almost impossible to continue with any treatment to the cancer. We also knew that if we continued on with the surgery, Amy would have to spend several weeks in rehabilitation in the hospital and a care center before being able to come home. We also knew that this surgery would not add any time to her overall prognosis and in fact may even shorten it considerably. After several hours of prayer and discussion, Amy decided that she wanted to come home and be made as comfortable as possible and be able to spend the remainder of her time at home in the company of her family and friends.

So... that brings us to where we are now... Amy is at home, in a hospital bed enjoying what time she has remaining, with her family and she says that she prays each and every day that she may just have one more day with her family. She is now on hospice care with a wonderful company called Love Hospice, which is such a blessing. Their sole purpose is to make the remainder of Amy's time on this earth as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Though Amy is still on oxygen and cannot get out of bed, so far we have been able to make her pretty comfortable. But at times, when we have to move her ever so slightly to treat her bed sores, or bathe her, or change her bedding, she does unfortunately suffer some pain in her legs and hips. Over the past few weeks I have witnessed first hand what this terrible disease can do to a person. We have seen her physical abilities decline rapidly. She however, almost never complains. She is still such a wonderful example of Christ-like love and service. She is constantly trying to find ways to do things for other people, to make them feel loved, or to comfort them when they need comfort. Though her legs no longer work and her pain at times seems unbearable, she continues to find ways to inspire and uplift those around her.

I know that Amy's time on this earth is short and it will be so hard to say goodbye... for now... to my sweetheart and eternal companion. But I am so grateful for each day I get to spend with her. It is such a blessing to be in her presence at this time. I am continuing to learn so much from her each day. I pray each and every day for her comfort. I pray continuously that I may learn to be more like her, that I may learn from her what it means to truly be a servant of our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ. And I pray for the strength to endure my own trials with a smile on my face and faith in my heart that all will be well. I pray for the courage to persevere through the difficult times ahead. and most of all I pray that some day I may truly be worthy of the wonderful blessing of being the companion to one of God's elect ladies here on this earth.

With all my love and devotion to my beautiful wife,

Gary Jackson

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

When You Wish Upon A Star

When you wish upon a star...

Makes no difference who you are...

Anything your heart desires will come to you!

If your heart is in your dream...

No request is too extreme...

When you wish upon a star, as dreamers do!

Like a bolt out of the blue...

Fate steps in and sees you through...

When you wish upon a star...

Your dreams come true...

When you wish upon a star, as dreamers do!

Special thanks to A Life's Wish and
Disneyland for truly making dreams come true.
To family and friends for making the trip a reality.
To Mel and Leslie for their help before and on the trip.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010