Why the Redwood Forest slideshow?

Judy had always loved trees, and in 2008 we spent some time among the California Redwoods. Some of the ingredients in Judy's chemo cocktail were derived from trees (not Redwoods but Yews). We always knew that Judy loved the trees, and the trees got their chance to repay her affection.



Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Farewell to Judy

Dearest friends around the world,

This morning at 7:50, Judy finished the valiant fight that she had fought for the past two years. I was at her side—holding her hand and telling her how much I loved her and thanking her for everything she had brought into my life—when her breathing became lighter and lighter and she finally slipped away. The sun had just risen over the horizon and touched the room.

Judy's last few days in the hospital had been filled with her fiercely fighting the cancer. It was not a pretty battle, and I don't intend to belabor the issue. Those of you who saw her in those last few days know how hard she fought, how much resistance she put up, how exhausted she must have been. The nurses kept telling me that they could not believe her strength, physically and spiritually. Well, those of you who had the great fortune to know her and be touched by her know what a tough little package she was.

When Dr. Phillips told me about her failing kidneys and liver on Tuesday afternoon, it became clear that nothing was going to stop the inevitable, and it was easy to decide to not try to prolong her agony but make her as comfortable as possible. Nevertheless, her tremors and fight continued as never was a quitter.

On my request, Tuesday night our friend Andy Y. offered Judy and about 15 of our closest friends communion, something that I felt was important for Judy at this final juncture of her life. Even though she could no longer speak, all of us saw how much comfort she drew from this act. All of us witnessed how she accepted that the fight was over. The speed of her final path seems to be testimony that with that acceptance came a way for her to let go and leave us.

Judy was always worried about others, and she was worried about how I would fare. Well, I don't know about the future, but today I was OK. I did not feel the haze and helplessness that I experienced when we were given the first diagnosis of cancer two years ago. Her final ten hours with us gave me closure, too, and even though I shed hard, hard tears in our last private moments in the same room this morning, I felt surprisingly at peace with everything that had happened.

I would like to ask all those of you who have traveled with us on this long journey to do something for yourselves and for all of us—and many of you may believe for Judy as well: Would you please share how Judy affected you and your life through who she was? We will be having a Celebration of Her Life this Saturday, October 2, at 12:00 noon in Chas. A Guy park (87th Street and Memphis Avenue) here in Lubbock, and we would like to share your comments with all of our friends who we hope will show up. Please send your comments to Liza who has graciously taken over the task of compiling it all. Her e-mail is l.muse@sbcglobal.net. Please send whatever fits into an e-mail!

We will have a memorial service at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning at Judy's church, St. Paul's on the Plains Episcopal, 1510 Ave. X. With the celebration at noon everybody should be able to slip into attire fitting for the kind of get-together that our archetypal party-lady Judy would have been at the forefront of organizing. There will be food, and there will be neutral plastic cups if you'd like to bring your own beverage. Bring your kids, because Judy loved them as you know.

And finally, since so many of our friends have already asked: Please do not send any flowers. Judy enjoyed them, but she enjoyed even more feeding the homeless on Thursday mornings at her church. So, if you would like to support that ongoing effort (and I know they were always short on funds), please feel free to direct any donations in her memory to St. Paul's Neighbor-to-Neighbor Ministry, c/o St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 1510 Avenue X, Lubbock, TX 79401.

Dear friends, I hope you will be able to join us on Saturday. Nothing would make me more happy than to share my sorrow and my joy, my tears and my laughter with you at both the service and our celebration of the one that we all loved: my beloved friend, partner, buddy, and wife, JuJu.

In love,

Jürgen

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jurgen,

So sorry for your loss.

Lots of love, hugs and prayers.
The Odom family

Anonymous said...

(((HUGS)))
~martha

Anonymous said...

Jurgen,
Robbie and I are very saddened by Judy's passing. Judy's strong, yet gentle, spirit and innate sweetness will never be forgotten .
Robbie and Jim Walker

Anonymous said...

Our thougths, love and prayers are with you. Juju will be missed greatly but never forgotten. We take comfort in knowing the suffering is over and she is in a better place.

Love, Fefi and Lee

Anonymous said...

Jurgen, you speak of the peace that passes all understanding. I grieve the passing of your lovely wife and my friend. I will miss the celebration of her life as I am in Italy and cannot return in time. I will lift a glass of really nice cab and propose a toast in my own way here.

I will never forget Judy cargo bike surfing at Interbike or her infectious smile! A farewell good friend, I'll see you soon!

Arrivaderci!

David.

aka Kathy said...

I'm trying to hold the tears back and it's not working...

Judy was such a beautiful, giving lady and I will miss her smile.

Godspeed Judy - you will be missed.

Jürgen, I so wish we could be there to share memories and to shed a tears with you.

Anonymous said...

Jurgen, my mother used to say there are worse things than death, and you've been through it. May you find comfort in knowing that Judy used her time wisely here and touch so many hearts, but now she's not suffering and I'm sure she's smiling down on us all. She was so very special and I am so honored to have known her.
You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Cynthia Stewart

Anonymous said...

Jurgen,
It's me Shiloh. So sad I missed you at the airport today. I would love to help do whatever I can.
Judy was a beautiful soul with one of those golden oras. I have very fond memories of you guys over the last 10 years.....Please call me! 806-790-3034. Give my name and # to anyone who needs me. Judy was such an unselfish giving person. I will try my best to do what I know she would if it were me!

Kay said...

Jurgen,

I am so sorry for your loss.
Judy was so sweet and loving.
I will never forget the kindness and acceptance she gave me when I first meet her 8 years ago.
On the day I had the pleasure of meeting her, Dietmar had brought me over to your house and she invited me into her home and asked, if I would like something to drink or a snack.
She then proceeded to ask me a million questions about myself......
It was at that moment I realized what a Wonderful, Sweet, Caring person she is.
For you see::: She was making sure that I was the "right" person that was marrying Dietmar.
For you see Dietmar had been through a hurtful divorce and she was looking out for him.
Judy had been there to help Dietmar with his two girls during the divorce by having his girls over to make cookies.
Judy and I finished our visit ( or as I called it my Inquisition) LOL
Judy walked me to the door and smiled at me and said" I am so glad Dietmar has found you and gave me a hug.
She then said " I assume you cycle? " I looked at her and laughed and said "NO"
She looked at me kind of puzzled for a moment and then laughed and said "Oh, well thats ok, But you do know that by marrying Dietmar that you will either have to learn how or be his biggest fan!

Well, those were definitely some of the truest words ever spoken.
I became a True fan of Cycling, My Husband and Judy Austin!
My Thoughts and Prayers are with all that will miss Judy.
Jurgen, please let us know if we can do anything.

With Love,, Kay Kennel

Stefan said...

Juergen, Stefan hier in Austin. Mein herzlichstes Beileid. Das sind sehr traurige Nachrichten aus Lubbock.

She was a very happy person and we'll all miss her.

Sincerely,
Stefan Rothe

Celia said...

Jurgen- I am so, so sorry. It was a privilege to know Judy. She was a very special person and I think back to our time together with Howard and Lidya this time last year. I haven't been on the blog for a few days and had no idea.... I will tell Howard. I wish I could be there with you. All my love Celia x

Douglas said...

Will miss her. She was a true ray of sunshine at all the races. God Bless you both. I know the bike races in Heaven just became much more organized and fun with her there.
Doug W.

Brandon said...

My favorite memory of Judy was at Comfort at one of the collegiate races when she was telling all of us to wear our helmets at all times while on the bike. She then hopped on someones bike with no helmet on and went over the handlebars in the grass. The only reason it was funny is because she was unharmed and got up laughing histerically.

God Speed Judy.

Anonymous said...

Jurgen,

Knowing Judy only from cycling she had an infectious positive attitude not just sometimes but all the time the world needs more people like Judy Austin.

We are so sorry for your loss Jurgen please take comfort knowing that Judy is at peace after fighting courageously for so long.

Bill and Catherine Moritz

Anonymous said...

Dear Jürgen,

I had always hoped that one day it would work out that I could spend some time knitting and chatting with Judy~and now we know that will never be.
Although she and I were never able to meet, I still felt like she and I were friends.

I wish we could get to Texas~but that isn't possible...so Saturday Rich & I will head out to the backyard with the fuzzies to celebrate Judy's spirit~ I think she would approve of us toasting her with ice cream and cookies-don't you?

Thinking of you~
Hugs,
Cindi et al~

Anonymous said...

Jurgen,

The world and the cycling community lost an incredible person, and Judy will be surely missed by all those who have been blessed to be in her presence.

Chase Wesley and Texas Tech Cycling

welch_kristi said...

Jurgen...I barely know you and Judy. You probably don't even know who I am. But tonight, I am sitting here with tears rolling down my eyes. I am truely sorry for your loss. I admired the two of y'all from a distance. The memories I have of Judy are from afar, but only all wonderful memories. Her kind and funny demaenor at the starting line of the tmbra races, her spirit, love, and laughter did NOT go unnoticed. I feel unfortunate that I did not get to know her better. She will be a memory of mine forever!

Anonymous said...

Jurgen,
We are so sorry to hear about the passing of Judy. She was full of life & always made us smile. The two of you always made the events we held so much more enjoyable. Her wit and charm and grace under pressure will be missed. I will now have to go find an actual bullhorn at the races without her around to yell at everyone & her calling up all the pussies (PS Es) to the line to race.
All our love,
Ian, Cat, Daria & Sophie Moore

Val said...

Charles and I are very sad to learn of Judy's passing. Judy was always a bright light at the races and I'll always remember her spunk. She has been, and will continue to be, missed by all of us fortunate enough to have met her.

Vallarie Richards & Charles Covill

Anonymous said...

Jurgen,

My eternal thanks to you for your dedication to Judy and to the posting of this blog.

When I think of Judy, there is one word that surfaces more than any other - the word "grace". She showed the rest of us how to live life.

Veljko said...

Dear Jürgen,

We are so sorry for your loss and our thoughts and prayers are with you.

We were all very blessed to have known Judy. She was a warm, caring, and always optimistic person who could never do anyone wrong. In the brief occasions we got to see her she became an instant friend and remains a great one. We will drink a toast to her and her life.

Veljko & Diane Roskar

Anonymous said...

Judy was a friend to Donna and I , we are very sorry.. i have tears in my eyes, my friend and we know she is in Glory... Keep the faith JURGEN,,, Your friends William and Donna...

Roxann said...

It was my pleasure to know and care for Judy during her journey. Her stronge will and couragousness made my job easy. Judy was a Great women and I will truly miss her and her little smile.
Jurgan, you gave her great strength and fight. She will always be in your Heart!!
Roxann RN :)

tiura said...

Via con Dios, Judy. You were a fast friend to myself and my wife, Kit. Kit almost never immediately likes people, but rather needs time to assess them. You and Jurgen were exceptions to her, and to me.

Jurgen, I can't begin to understand the painful part of what you're dealing with, but I can fully understand the incredible gift you were given in this life to spend the years you did with Judy. She made an indelible impression on us in the short time we were fortunate enough to know her, I can only imagine how much she lit your life. Our thoughts will be with you. Take care of yourself and remember; Judy's life left her body, where it suffered recently and returned as the sunrise, where it can always signify new beginnings.
Our love to you both.
Kit and Kai

brownie said...

Jurgen,

I so wish I could be there. Just read the Txbra post this morning. Nothing would make me more happy than to be there with you at this time to support you. I just finished riding with Mr. Wiseman this past weekend at the TTT in Glen Rose and asked how the two of you were doing. You are in my prayers my friend!

brownie

Anonymous said...

Dear Jurgen,

Lynn, and I send you our deepest condolences and offer our prayers for Judy's eternal life.

In spite of the deep sadness that all of her family and many friends must feel at her passing, we're certain that Judy's concerns must have been for you. And we are confident that the love and support directed toward you at the gatherings that followed must have pleased her greatly. That support will continue.

Many years ago, I recall being given a lesson on dying. It is that death is really a lesson on living. And I find some measure of comfort by asking myself what things I most admired about the person who's life is being remembered. And then I make a commitment to myself , in their memory, to reflect those qualities in my own life. My hope is that these reflections will improve my life and the lives of those whom I love. And in time, perhaps others will be similarly influenced by those same things. I believe that life is never in vain. Most importantly, lives greatly influence others. Just as Judy's has, and will.

I cannot help but admire Judy's upbeat attitude, her fighting spirit in the face of the challenges she faced, the pleasure of hearing her laugh and seeing her smile (she was generous with that). From my perch during your annual visits to Sonoma County, I saw no quit in that gal. Rather, I witnessed her passion for life. She loved those triathlons and always seemed to apply the "rules of the road" with fairness, prudence, and just the right amount of discretion. Although I could hardly feel her on the back of my motorcycle, I knew that I was ferrying a big hitter when it came to USTA events. She was justifiably proud of teaming with you to bring high quality officiating to these events. It occurred to me that her own motto must have been: "let's see how much life I can embrace."

Jurgen, as a motorcyclist, I often ride part of the Vineman bicycle loop. It contains some of the finest, most scenic roads in the county. Now, I will never ride that loop again without recalling my favorite passenger and course official. It seems fitting that it is such a beautiful ride.

We look forward to seeing you in the future. Meanwhile, may god bless Judy, and you

With Love,

Pete & Lynn Imbs
Sonoma County, CA

Anonymous said...

I just found out yesterday, 10,20,2010. I am so sorry for your big loss. I had hoped to see her soon.
Everyone who knew her knows she, indeed, was a lovely lady.

I am Maria; Rick's and Angelica's mom.