A Single Tear

Last night, I lost the love of my life. My sounding board. My go-to person. My Best Friend.

I had just finished eating dinner, with my two brothers and father in law, which included memorable chats about growing up and old friends, when I went into the room to trade places with Connie, bedside next to Jo.  Earlier that day, the nurses had adjusted her to prevent bed sores and in a way so she was less on her right side – a side which had always been less painful for her and she would only choose to lay on at home for the last several weeks.

As I sat next to her, I talked of our kids – my favourite thing to do when with her – and also of my cherished memories and things I’d miss most about her. I knew she was listening and could hear me even though she had been sleeping fairly heavily for the last day.  I carefully timed every sentence between each laboured breath she took so she would hear every word – as I knew things had progressed significantly that day and I may not have too many more opportunities to talk to my love – to ensure the last thoughts for her were happy ones – the ones I will always remember and treasure.

As tears dropped off my nose, down my cheeks and onto the side of the bed – I holding her right hand – courageously, she started to say words that were so very faint and hard to hear. As I tried to understand what she was saying, she bravely and slowly moved her left arm and hand across her body – eyes closed and found my other hand, anchoring herself, and pulled herself back onto her preferred right side – a place I had watched her lay on for the last several weeks in our bed, while we either chatted or I watched her sleep, often stroking her beautiful short hair – always appreciating how lucky of a guy I was to have spent a shorter than liked,  but such glorious time with the only girl I had truly ever loved. She was now how she wanted to be – and so close to where she wanted to be – ready to say goodbye.  Although it was so hard to accept the time had come, I knew my girl would soon be at peace.

Knowing I wanted her to be surrounded by as much love as she could – I called out to her mom, brothers and father in law, who all joined me bedside to send off our beautiful Jolene.  As our girl took her final breaths – a single tear – formed in her eye, and ever so slowly ran down her precious cheek, then nose and onto the pillow.

It was beautiful. It was perfect. It was our Jolene.

We all knew our girl was truly at peace. So Loved.  We said our last goodbyes and then all embraced – now knowing we would need each other more than ever, as she was so much of an influential and loving part of our lives. All of us. Always to be Remembered. Until we meet again.

Our girl now flies so very high and is welcomed with open arms by Papa, G.G. and her dear sister Amy. So very fitting as they are three people who all adored and loved Jolene so deeply – a feeling shared by so many of us.

In closing, we want to thank the compassionate support of Dr.’s Welch, Sugimoto, Fryer and Raja; the dedicated and loyal efforts of Bonnie, nurses and the entire team at London Health Sciences Centre; the friendly and empathetic Chemo team and staff at the Woodstock General Hospital; the kind and affectionate efforts of the Saint Elizabeth’s nurses; the loving and tender care of nurses and staff at the Sakura House Woodstock; and finally, all of you who reached out in her final days with stories and messages of love, support and encouragement.  They were all read bedside, next to her, and I truly know down deep, helped prepare our dear Jo for the warmest send off that she could ask for. We are forever grateful for each and every one of you – for helping keep our girl “lifted” on her year and a half heroic journey.

Please feel free to share with family and friends who do not follow her blog. Finally, for those who like to plan, (especially as much as Jolene did J) – visitations will be held Thursday afternoon and evening, followed by a service on the Friday – further details to be shared shortly or found on the Dwayne Budgell funeral home website in coming days.

Jolene Read

Sleep well Lovey. I’ll forever miss you.



28 Comments Add yours

  1. Tara Lockhart says:

    So very sorry for your loss Justin. Sending thoughts and prayers to your whole family at this very difficult time. I’m sure she felt all the love I the room.


  2. Sharmayne says:

    My heart is with your entire family 💗
    Blessing and love to you all
    Rest In Peace beautiful you will truly be missed 💞


  3. Anonymous says:

    Justin and family. I am truly sorry for the loss of Jolene. May she be forever peaceful in heaven.


  4. Malgorzata Kozera says:

    Justin and Family, I’m so sorry for your loss, stay strong and cherrish the love you had and don’t let it fade away. My heart is heavy and it’s hard to absorb this news. Thank you for sharing Jolene’s last moments. My deepest condolences.


    1. Anonymous says:

      RIP sweet Jolene! May you fly high and continue to look out for your family and friends. Thank you for sharing such an inspiring But heart breaking blog.


    2. Amanda Rilan says:

      Justin. I am so sorry for your devastating loss. I recently saw you all downtown at The Old Spaghetti Factory. I saw you enjoying time as a family at such a silly fun place. It made me glad to know you were all making memories and that Jolene seemed well. I’m beyond saddened to hear that you’ve lost your love, that your sweet babies have lost their Mama. It’s just completely wrong. Thank you both for sharing this difficult journey. It’s been an honour to have read about all of your strength and love for each other. I will have your family in my thoughts and heart. I’m truly heartbroken for you.


  5. Mary Ann Smith says:

    My dear Justin, I have just read your last entry of your lovely wife Jolene. I read your blog on your telling the children that Mommy was not coming back after you took her to the hospice. I cried so. Never forget that your family and friends some of who have only known you for awhile will be there to support and help you on your next journey. Be thoughtful of yourself and it’s ok to cry to the fullest. Your grief will come at you in waves that you think you are drowning. Reach out to all your lifelines we will always be there. My deepest sympathy to you the children and all the family. Thinking of you at this time. Mary Ann Smith, Gerry Harmer’s friend. 🤗🤗🤗


  6. Anonymous says:

    We are so saddened by the loss of your dear Jolene. Even though life is a beautiful thing, it can be incredibly unfair at times – this is one of those times. We will be thinking of you all during this extremely difficult time.


  7. Maurice Chelli says:

    So sad for your loss Justin. She fought a great fight and I am sure you and the kids will share fabulous memories.

    Stay strong


  8. Rob Campbell says:

    So heartbreaking Justin. No words are ever right, I’m so sorry.


  9. Cigi Manning says:

    Justin and family,

    I’m so sorry for your very deep loss, Jolene was such a beautiful woman. You are all in my thoughts, sending you lots of love, with the heaviest heart,



  10. The Klassen’s says:

    Justin and family. We are so very sorry for your loss. I prayed often you all during this journey, hoping so dearly for a true miracle. You are all in our thoughts during this very difficult time. May God grant you the strength to get through the next couple of days as you plan your final farewell and the he continues to watch over you all as you seek to find a new normal.

    God bless you Jolene. I’m forever grateful for meeting you. Your story has been so inspiring for us all.


  11. Kathy Maclean-Sellers says:

    There are truly no words that will sooth your pain or grief but keep her memory close to your hearts


  12. Melissa H says:

    Justin and family. I’m so sorry for your loss. Jolene had a beautiful smile and we heard the most wonderful things about her from the Arsenault’s (Christina is my sister). Lean on your family, your friends and your memories. Biggest hugs and much love. Melissa Hinch


  13. Anonymous says:

    We pray for you and the family to have peace and comfort at this time and forever. I’ve never met you guys, but Jolene had inspired me and changed my perspective in life ♥️♥️♥️


  14. Tim says:

    As I only new her from work.She was a lovely women and fellow habs fan.I will miss her dearly.My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Tim Macintyre xxoo


  15. Karly Cummings says:

    Rest peacefully my beautiful friend, although you are gone from our sights you will always be in our hearts. I know you are smiling down upon us and sending us the strength we need, the memories of you will forever provide me comfort and gratitude for our friendship. I’m holding close our last visits as we were able to reminisce, and embrace our final goodbyes. I love you Jo forever apart of my soul.

    Justin, Ry, Campbell, Gallagher, Connie, Ron, Brenda, Mike, Cindy, Jessie & Jenn
    You all are the reason she fought so hard, enjoyed every moment she had and was so at peace in even the darkest days. Jo loves all of you unconditionally and knew she was leaving her family and legacy with the best of the best. Jo will forever live on in each of you as the memories and your love for her will be forever sealed in your hearts.

    Goodbye’s hurt the most when the story wasn’t finished….until we meet again my dearest friend xoxox



  16. Anonymous says:

    Dear Justin and family, I’m so sorry to read this blog, but also knew the time had come when Jolene would no longer be in your lives. Thank you for sharing her last moments. You all have been in my thoughts and prayers and will continue as you face your time without your best friend. Sincerely. Kathy


  17. Kevin Bond says:

    Justin and Family I am very sorry for your loss! Rest In Peace young lady!


  18. Laura Dzsudzsak says:

    Rest peacefully, beautiful.

    You fought your battle with such dignity and grace. Even in the darkest moments, you still managed to keep your brilliant and beautiful humour and sass… you truly are the strongest woman I’ve had the privilege of knowing. I’m forever in awe of your honesty, strength, and courage, as you persevered in this journey. You’re a class act.

    I am so grateful our paths in life crossed. I am holding on to so many special memories with you, and I’m especially thankful for our visits during the last few weeks. I will wear your many special dresses and pieces with such happiness, warmth, and pride.

    To Justin, your beautiful babies, Connie, and your families; our hearts are with you all. Jo’s light will live on in the lives of those who loved her so dearly. She brought a community of love together even closer, and leaves a remarkable legacy, that we are all so proud of.

    I will forever miss you Jo, and will carry you in my heart forever and always.

    Goodbye for now, our brave angel. Until we meet again.


  19. Micki J. says:

    I’ve quietly followed along, the past year or so. Silently praying, hoping and thinking of Jolene and your beautiful family Justin. I was blessed to work with you and know how incredibly kind, giving and loving you were. I know Jolene would have been just the same. I am just so sorry Justin, for you and your beautiful family’s loss. xo.


  20. Michelle Mackay Patel says:

    I am sorry for your loss of such a beautiful soul. Jolene was always so kind-hearted and what a brilliant smile she had. It has been a long time since I last saw her, but I will always remember that smile. I know thinking of it will bring you joy on your difficult journey ahead.


  21. Anonymous says:

    Deepest condolences to you and your family .
    My thoughts and prayers are with you all.🙏


  22. Missy Little says:

    We are greatly saddened by your loss.Sending love and prayers to you and your family.I just started to follow the blog Jolene had started,and was greatly moved by her writing and her strength and courage. Please know that she has place in my heart,and I pray for your strength and comfort in the days to come.love Victoria.


  23. Shelley Vlasic says:

    Rest peacefully my beautiful friend

    Justin and family. I am so incredibly sorry for the loss of your amazing warrior. She really did live her best life! She lived every day to the fullest and has inspired so may others to do the same! Her reach to people around the globe is astonishing.
    Justin you and Jo were a perfect match and you have created such a beautiful life together. The legacy she leaves behind is undoubtedly an epic one.
    I’ve be rereading her blog the last couple days finding it heartwarming. She truly was an incredible human and I feel lucky that our paths crossed. She taught so many people the value of family, friends and how important it is to not get wrapped up in the little things that actually don’t matter.
    Her spirit will live on forever through your beautiful children.
    Sending you all my deepest condolences xox


  24. Anonymous says:

    Justin, Ryersyn, Campbell and Gallagher:
    I hope that you feel the love from the collective hearts of the people Jolene touched. Those of us who don’t know your family felt privileged to follow Jolene’s journey on her blog. My deepest sympathy.

    To Jolene’s Mom:
    Jolene’s words were a testament to you as a mother. You have lost so much and are in my thoughts and prayers. Your family is fortunate to have you to help them through the next tough chapter.


  25. I’m sorry you know this kind of pain. I wish the world weren’t so broken. I pray that heaven will feel a little closer now, easier to live for. Give yourself grace as you continue to grieve knowing that you have loved your wife well.


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