64: A Widower's Advice On Living Life To The Fullest
Through a mutual friend, Jill Devine was introduced to Brandon Janous. Brandon lost his wife, Rachel, to breast cancer on March 1st, 2020. With the one-year anniversary of her death approaching, Jill invited Brandon on the podcast to share Rachel's story because as he describes in the episode, "there's beauty in the brokenness".
To gain a little insight on who Rachel was, here's some information from her obituary:
Rachel excelled in everything that she attempted. But it was dance that captured her heart. From the time that she could walk to the time that she could walk no more, she danced. She danced everywhere she went and never in her life had trouble finding a dance partner.
Rachel attended the University of Nebraska (Go Big Red), where she not only danced on the sidelines of every football and basketball game as a Scarlet, but she also excelled in the classroom. It was here, in Lincoln, Nebraska, where Rachel would meet the love of her life (though she didn’t know it at the time.) He knew it. It just took her a bit longer to be convinced.
His name was Brandon Janous, and because of a silly flag football tournament, their love story began. Brandon was introduced to Rachel through some of her High School friends (Go Oak Park) on a weekend trip he and his buddies took to Lincoln from the University of Missouri (MIZ).
On March 13, 2010, Rachel and Brandon said their “I do’s” and began what they would consider the greatest love story ever told. The first of their 3 children, Hadley Mae, arrived just over a year after their wedding day, and for the next few years, Rachel would spend most of her time in maternity clothes. In 2012, they welcomed their second daughter, Cooper Grace, and in 2014 they got their boy, Macklin Lawrence, and became what is now known as The Janous 5.
Rachel was an incredible nurse because she loved people so well.
Rachel was an incredible mom because she loved her children so well.
Rachel was an incredible friend because she loved her friends so well.
Rachel was an incredible daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin, sister-in-law, aunt, wife, and daughter-in-law because she just knew how to love everyone so well.
Rachel was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was only 36 years old at the time. But she fought it hard, beat it and was in complete remission for about 7 months. In July of 2019, the cancer came back, and it came back with a vengeance. Down deep, Rachel had always felt that it would eventually come back, and she was prepared to battle it again. The problem was that this time, the cancer took over her entire body and before long, the doctors had exhausted all treatment options.
Rachel could have easily given up and been angry for the hand she’d been dealt. But instead, she decided she’d do her best to change the world. And that’s exactly what she did.
She taught us how to love people better. Not just when it’s convenient, but to love them through their ugly times and worst days and to love them well.
She taught us that cancer is hard, but that everyone has their “hard.” And that you never know what someone is going through. You never know their struggle. You never know their pain. You never know where they have been or where they’re going. So to always be kind and to always love hard.
She taught us that God is so dang good. And that while dying of cancer at 38 years old isn’t fun, dancing in heaven was going to be a blast!
She taught us not to take moments for granted and that it’s the little moments that matter most.
She taught us all how to hug better.
She taught us that there is so much beauty in the brokenness. And that even in her final days, when she knew death was imminent, she was helping everyone around her heal. She was encouraging and equipping everyone for the next chapter. She was leading people, so many people, many that she’d never met, to know Jesus.
If you didn’t have the chance to meet Rachel, you missed out. Just five minutes with her would have had a major impact on your life.
Rachel's story is one every person should hear. Your perspective on life will change after hearing it. #LoveLikeRachel
Instagram and Facebook: @brandonjanous
Jill would like to acknowledge and recognize the hard work moms put in on the daily. It can be a thankless job at times, and Jill wants these moms to know their worth, so she created the Supermom Shoutout. This week’s Supermom Shoutout goes to Rachel. Jill Devine is nominating her on behalf of all who have loved and continue to love Rachel:
How could I not make Rachel this week’s Supermom nomination? This is a woman who continues to touch lives, mine included. I can only imagine what it was like to be loved by Rachel. What a true gift from God! Every time I get sad thinking about Brandon and the kids, I try and relive the conversation he and I had about Rachel’s final days. In Rachel’s honor, we all need to love and love hard.
Rachel - you will be forever seen and forever supported!
To nominate a Supermom (or you can nominate yourself) email firstname.lastname@example.org. Submit the name of the Supermom, where they're from, and a brief description as to why Jill should shout out this particular Supermom.
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