John Kelley

First post: Nov 27, 2022 Latest post: Dec 18, 2022
On Saturday, November 5, 2022 my brother John was hospitalized at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago Illinois.  John became so weak due to a lack of ability to eat and swallow.  Those of you who know John understand he is a hard-working single dad who prides himself on providing for his daughter Lily.  John's wife, Lily's mom, Veronica died in April 2021 to cancer.  John and Lilly were deeply saddened by their loss and have been trying to adapt to life without her but succumbed to grief and depression.  John is a typical low income American who  can't afford to take a day off of work to care for himself.  Especially, after losing the income of Veronica in the household.  Personal care has been compromised by financial strain.

John started experiencing symptoms of heart-burn, indigestion and acid reflux but kept trying to manage it on his own.  He knew his diet wasn't perfect and he gained weight after Veronica's death and those variables were contributing to his symptoms but never in John's wildest dreams did he believe he would be a 45 year old battling cancer.  John is selfless and endures with grit and toughness to his own detriment.  He never complains.

John was born on October 2, 1977 and just recently celebrated his 45th birthday.  John was born deaf.  A family trait that has been passed on through the generations.  For the first 6-7 years of John's life he wore hearing aides, was bussed over an hour from our Lockport, Illinois family home to a special school in Joliet, Illinois for the hearing impaired.  John settled into childhood as a disabled child.  Along our neighborhood streets were signs indicating a deaf child was nearby to dissuade motorists from racing down the street.  John was a nice kid with a great smile and peaceful calm demeanor.   In a freak accident in the mid-1980's John fell off a 6 foot tall slide on the Ludwig middle school playground.  Falling to the ground and landing on the side of his head resulted in John's hearing being restored.  However, John was behind all the other kids with minimal verbal skills.

Trying to endure his new path with found auditory skills John worked to catch up.  Against most odds John found a way to tackle life despite having been developmentally at a disadvantage.  John quickly learned his best assets were hard work, perseverance and loyalty.  John would not aspire to be a college graduate but rather be a dependable, loving, selfless person who strived to bring good to the world.  John is the youngest of 4 kids in the Kelley family.  Being the youngest, he also was most impacted by the life change caused by the divorce of our parents.  Life was challenging and the good times of the Kelley kids childhood would be overshadowed thereafter.  The family struggled to pay bills and provide basic necessities.

Our mother Carol worked multiple jobs and did the very best she could.  John and us siblings knew we were different than the other kids; we had far less and it obvious.  We all started working  once we hit 15 years old out of necessity.  Despite the bumpy times during influential developmental years there were good times that came before.  Times of holidays with Aunt's, Uncle's and cousins.  John and our siblings do have some fond young childhood memories of family.  John after the divorce and through his adult years wanted to be loved, respected and treated with decency.  

He has lived his whole adult life being honest, genuine and a decent human being.  John would never achieve richness financially but his character and sense of responsibility will stand tall next to just about anyone in this world.  His loyalty and dependability always on full display.  In his adult life he held one job for 17+ years and his current job for over 5 years.  Wanting to be accepted John at times has fallen vulnerable to the tricks, jokes and thieving acts of others.  His desire to always see the good in people at times revealed the ugly of the world.  But, in 2006, John's daughter Lily came into the world on July 9th.  Lily has been the love of John's life.  She became his purpose along with his wife Veronica.  John to this day, continues to want Lily to be happy and live a good life with success beyond what he could accomplish for himself.  So, John's life has come full circle back to times of great grief, financial hardship and distress.  John and Lily are still grieving the loss of Veronica and now are faced with John's sickness.  

Our sister Dawn died in 2016 suddenly due to a brain aneurism.  Our sister at 47 years of age was gone.  She died without fulfilling her desires for herself and her kids.  Life can be unfair.  Now, 2 of 4 siblings in the Kelley family will not reach their 50th birthdays.  John was struggling financially to begin with after the loss of Veronica; this illness is a crisis emotionally, mentally and financially.  John has been providing for Lily pay check to pay check so there are no savings, no extra resources that are readily available.  Measures are being taken to secure disability benefits, social security benefits and other assistance in Illinois but it all takes time.  The red tape is unbearable but we will work through it as best we can together. 

Despite it all John is trying to be positive, trying to believe and have faith that he will be the lucky one but history has proven otherwise for John.  John has Esophagus Cancer that has metastasized to his liver and adrenal glands.  John has a feeding tube and has to feed himself liquids through his stomach.  Home health services are being dispatched and all avenues are being explored.  Palliative care has been ordered so more services are on the way.  This will be a tough journey for John and Lily.  I will keep you updated along the way.   

As updates become available,  will provide them.  John is home and can talk on the phone.  If you'd like to reach out, please let me know.

~ Diana, John's Sister.