A Tribute to Felicia Jearlds, a Strong, Compassionate, and Caring Warrior
One of the hardest emotions to deal with is grief. Processing loss is difficult. Two weeks ago, I lost a great friend and supporter when my mother-in-law, Felicia Jearlds, lost her battle with cancer. I dedicate this column to her loving memory.
In my career, I often work with people who are learning how to deal with the difficult emotions of grief and loss, and how to move on with their lives. The first thing I let them know is that there is no specific amount of time one must grieve. Many memories and specific moments in time stick with us forever.
I met my mother-in-law in 2008, when my now wife and I decided to make our relationship official. My wife told me later that her mother had said I was a good one. From that moment on, my relationship with my mother-in-law began to grow. As we learned more about each other, and I learned about the many obstacles she had overcome in her life, one word came to mind: resilient.
As a child, she dealt with trauma that many others have a hard time overcoming. She became a mother at a young age, and as with any young parent, she made mistakes. But she didn’t allow those mistakes to define her. The same resilience and mental fortitude she displayed as a young child eventually evolved into the trait of compassion.
My mother-in-law chose a career in healthcare as a medical assistant. Then, she went back to school and obtained a license to be a phlebotomist. She became a supervisor at LabCorp, a diagnostic testing and drug development company, leading several of the company’s sites.
In 2015, I was diagnosed with a pituitary adenoma, and then Cushing’s disease. I had transsphenoidal surgery. My mother-in-law would check on me both before and after surgery to ask if she could help with anything.
In 2016, she was diagnosed with colon cancer, and her battle began. We bonded during this time, and encouraged and supported each other during our recoveries. We understood each other’s frustration, and the highs and lows of our emotions. When I was at my lowest or doubt began to creep in, my mother-in-law would send me the right motivational quote, Bible verse, or video.
She was a huge influence on me to change my eating habits and make healthier choices. After her cancer went into remission, I noticed how much healthier she looked, based on what she told me she had been doing. Once I began opting for a healthier lifestyle, too, she always let me know that it was working and that I was looking better.
Earlier this year, she learned that the cancer had returned and was much more aggressive this time. In her final days, I stayed in constant contact with her to encourage her to continue fighting, and her daughter and I fought along with her. When I spoke with her, I could hear her pain, and I could tell how weak she was. But the fight was still in her. Sadly, she was called home to Glory on Aug. 29.
I will remember my mother-in-law for all of the things I mention in this column. She was a woman who grew in her faith and had an infectious smile and laugh. There will never be another person like Felicia Jearlds. She impacted my life in many ways. Her legacy of caring will continue through her children and other loved ones.
We miss you, love you, and will continue to thrive.
Note: Cushing’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cushing’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Cushing’s.