From left: Helen, Jen and Grace, summer 2012

All three authors live and work in the caring professions in the London area of southwestern Ontario. Jennifer Fazakerley is a regional manager with the South West Community Care Access Centre, where Grace Bradish is a home visiting nurse practitioner. Helen Butlin-Battler is a spiritual care specialist with the London Regional Cancer Program.

In August 2009, Rob and Jen Fazakerley learned that Rob had cancer of the pancreas, which had spread. They accepted immediately the certain outcome of this diagnosis and sought to make the time remaining as good and full as possible. E-mail linked Jen with caregivers Grace and Helen and a growing band of supporters, documenting the daily reality of the medications, chemotherapy, family and friends, and emotions of living well with a terminal illness. Far from being a tragedy, Just Stay ... shows powerfully how the forces of life, hope, and love can have the last word, even in death.

“Rob never declared that he was ‘fighting’ cancer. Yet he lived every day in the hope that there would be a tomorrow, until there simply wasn't. When that time came, then he turned his face to his end of life with a quiet courage that did not resist, nor withdraw from us in despair or deny the inevitable. He lived every day of his terminal illness with good humour and love for his family. His dying was a full and rich living. In his year of living with cancer, our witnessing this was his tremendous gift to me and to all of our children. I hope it becomes his gift to you.”

Jennifer Fazakerley