(or thereabouts; there's a little confusion on the actual date) my friend Dawn died. She was a couple of weeks short of her 30th birthday.
This isn't one of those cautionary tales of drunk driving, or drugs, or anything like that. Dawn lived a difficult life: early childhood asthma led to a stint at CARIH, severe scoliosis led to a Harrington Rod being implanted. When I met her, she was already experiencing pain from the rod and downing Tylenol the way most of us eat candy. Her junior year in high school, her beloved brother died in a car accident (thanks to drunken honeymooners... of course they escaped unscathed physically), leading to an even more strained relationship with her parents.
After high school she enrolled at UNC/Chapel Hill but her father refused to pay for a degree in marine biology, so she took off to become a NY/LA trucker. While on the road, her father died; she and her mother were able to have a brief reconciliation before her mother, too, died. Soon after, she became a paraplegic (complications of the spinal surgery and an abusive boyfriend)... a pain killer addict that House would have respected... then cataracts and a heart attack... finally she was a quadriplegic... and 21 years ago, her body finally gave out.
Thanks to her, I became a fan of Jethro Tull and backgammon. I learned to write a 10 page paper and how to study. I've seen The Wraith and The Legacy more times than necessary. I've driven a van retrofitted for a paraplegic (very odd seeing the foot controls moving with no feet on them!). Most of all, thanks to her I started on the path that made me the Lazygal I am.
Here's to you, Dawn. R.I.P.