Cordova man remembers loved ones lost to cancer
by Jennifer Cohron
Oct 21, 2012 | 4208 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Joe and Jayne Love stood by their daughter, Janna Love Henderson, during her 17-month fight against breast cancer. Henderson was diagnosed when she was 29.  Photo special to the Eagle
Joe and Jayne Love stood by their daughter, Janna Love Henderson, during her 17-month fight against breast cancer. Henderson was diagnosed when she was 29. Photo special to the Eagle
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There is always a light glowing on Joe Love’s front porch.

His wife, Jayne, put it there after their only child, Janna Love Henderson, died of breast cancer in 2007. She wanted Janna to always be able to find her way home.

In July 2011, Jayne Love joined her daughter in eternity.

Doctors diagnosed neck problems that had been plaguing Love as cancer two weeks before her death. Her husband suspects something else.

“Grieving for her daughter is the biggest thing that got her. She missed her so bad,” Love said.

Jayne and Janna are gone but will never be forgotten by the man they both loved.

They left reminders for him everywhere, from Jayne’s SUV with a breast cancer awareness tag in the carport to a horse in the barn named Sunny that Janna nursed back to health.

Inside the house, dozens of photos of the two women are on display. Hundreds more are stored in albums. Thanks to Jayne, every year of their life as a family was documented.

Most of all, Love has his memories.

He met Jayne when he was hired to be a lifeguard at the local pool during his last year of high school. He was six years her senior and remembers her as “just a little kid in short pants.”

After serving in the Army, he returned home and asked Jayne for a date. They were married a year later in August 1968.

Janna was born in May 11, 1977 — eight days shy of her father’s birthday.

When Jayne called her husband at the coal mines to announce that she was in labor, Love rushed home, loaded her in the car and offered to stop for breakfast on the way to the hospital.

He still can’t tell the story without chuckling.

“She said, ‘Joe, I think my water’s broke. We had probably better go on.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I guess so.’ I wasn’t thinking. I was just going to feed her breakfast,” Love said.

They arrived at St. Vincent’s Hospital with little time to spare. Love had barely gotten settled in the waiting room with a book he had brought in case of a long labor when the doctor came out to announce the arrival of his daughter.

He ran into the delivery room to meet the second love of his life.

“The kid was special, not because she was mine and hers, but she was just special,” Love said.

Love said Janna dreamed of being an Air Force pilot, but her eyesight wasn’t keen enough. She went to pharmacy school instead.

Janna also had a love of horses and traveling, both of which she inherited from her father.

Love found a way to bring Jayne and Janna along on any trip he took, whether it was for work or pleasure.

“Your family’s not to be left at home. If you’ve got one, you’re supposed to gather them up and carry them with you,” Love said.

One trip Janna never expected to take was to Houston, Texas in 2006 to receive treatment for breast cancer. She fought for her life for 17 months before passing away in 2007 at age 30.

Jayne’s passing was even more abrupt.

She had surgery to fuse some vertebrae in her neck. First an infection and then a blood clot complicated her recovery.

More surgeries followed. It was discovered that she had cancer.

Two weeks later, she was gone.

“She didn’t want to get over it after a while. She wanted to go be with Janna,” Love said.

Mother and daughter are now resting side by side in a local cemetery. Love visits them often and makes sure that they have fresh flowers for special occasions.

Although Love grieves for his wife and daughter every day, he also insists that they’re not far away.

“Jesus told Pilate that He was not of this world. Jesus is out there somewhere, and so are my girls,” Love said.