Jill Kinnaman Death – Dead | Jill Kinnaman Obituary | Cause of Death

On the Passing of Jill Kinnaman

Jill passed away Wednesday evening, after 41 months of bravely fighting brain cancer. She was 46.

About six weeks ago, we stopped treatments as the tumors continued to advance. At that time, we had shifted her to comfort care and hospice.

Even so, her passing yesterday came more quickly than expected because she was still hanging tough, all things considered. Although her condition was steadily declining, she was still ambulatory, able to talk, interact and eat. On her last day, she had friends over and greeted our neighbor—over to fix the internet for the thousandth time—with a cheery, “Hey, Dave.” We had pumpkin pancakes for breakfast and turkey and cheese for lunch and watched It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

In the late afternoon, she suddenly started labored breathing, was put on oxygen, experienced a paroxysm or spasm probably brought on by seizure and was quickly gone. We don’t know why exactly, other than her brain was essentially on fire with tumor activity, but it was probably a brain bleed or pulmonary embolism that took her so quickly.

However you slice it, death is cruel, and brain cancer sucks.

My aunt Tere, who is a nurse, was with her in the end. Sweet Jill was giving Tere a thumbs up to more oxygen, brave and cheerful to the last.

We all knew that her demise was coming, and we’ve been saying and planning goodbyes for what seems like 41 months, but waking up to her being gone is so very difficult. There are never enough ways or words to say goodbye, for now.

So, we are devastated by the loss of her, but we also take great comfort that she’s with Jesus now. A few weeks ago, I told Jill how proud of her I was and how courageous she’d been through 41 months. I told her she could bravely go to the next life when she was ready. We cried as we held each other. She said she was excited to see Jesus soon. She recounted her early days after becoming a Jesus follower. She became a Christian as a teen and wasn’t raised to believe all this; her fresh faith and deep, sincere love for Jesus has been one of her most endearing and enduring traits.

That faith propels us, even now. Even today.

My brother-in-law Jeff sent this poem to our extended family last night and maybe it will help you as it’s helped me with the sudden and yet-not-sudden death of my best friend and lover.

“Let us agree
for now
that we will not say
the breaking
makes us stronger
or that it is better
to have this pain
than to have done
without this love.

Let us promise
we will not
tell ourselves
time will heal
the wound,
when every day
our waking
opens it anew.

Perhaps for now
it can be enough
to simply marvel
at the mystery
of how a heart
so broken
can go on beating,
as if it were made
for precisely this—

as if it knows
the only cure for love
is more of it,

as if it sees
the heart’s sole remedy
for breaking
is to love still,

as if it trusts
that its own
persistent pulse
is the rhythm
of a blessing
we cannot
begin to fathom
but will save us
—Jan Richardson, A Blessing for the Brokenhearted

Jill leaves behind a legacy of that kind of love and faith, and we are all better for it.

With grief and gratitude,
David, Emily, Annika and Zack

P.S. We’ll let you know how we plan to honor Jill with service details in the days to come. You can send cards to: