I had not planned to write anything more about Dawn, who passed away yesterday. I do not want to eulogize someone I met in person only once, but the heaviness in my heart has led me here, and so I’m writing.

I read Dawn’s husband’s words this evening and this particular part stuck out to me:

Dawn lived to soothe everyone around her. If you needed to be picked up, she’d find a way to pick you up. If you needed someone to sit in the dumps with you, she’d climb down by your side until you were ready to come back up. Her joy came in the joy of others, and if she had to manufacture that joy, well, that was just fine by her.

This is exactly how I will remember Dawn. She left over 80 comments on this blog, to me, lifting me up, sitting in the dumps with me. Being what I needed, when I needed it. She was a friend, a lovely human being who seemed to derive joy from being a friend. How many people can you say that about? Not many, not enough.

Dawn leaves behind 2 sons and a husband, and a hole in our hearts where our friend was. So many people have expressed heartache over Dawn’s passing, and I think that is a tremendous testament to who she was, what she meant to all of us. In a way, I think we feel like a little bit of Dawn belonged to us too, because of how she cared for us in our times of need. And now that she’s gone we feel an almost tangible loss, a silence where one of our cheerleaders once was.

I can only speak for myself, but I wish I had realized sooner that her time was winding down. I wish I could’ve written something to her, been a better cheerleader for her, and let her know how very much I appreciated her in my life. How much I appreciated having her in my corner all the time. And how sorry I am that this had to happen to her.

Instead, I’ve made 2 vows to myself:

First, I will check my skin. I will wear sunscreen whenever I’m outdoors, I will reschedule that dermatology follow up I cancelled and I will make an appointment for my fair-skinned husband as well. I will be diligent and outspoken about sun safety because of Dawn, so that her death isn’t for nothing, so that it may save other lives.

Second, I will be a better friend. Dawn was there for everyone, cared about everyone. I don’t know that I’ll ever live up to the example she set, but I can do better, I can love more, care more and tell my friends more often how important they are to me. I can lift up others when they need it. It’s what Dawn would do, and since she’s no longer with us there is a void to be filled, and perhaps we can fill it with love, in memory of Dawn.

If you’re so inclined, Mike has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Melanoma Research Foundation or to the college funds for their boys.

5 Responses to “Defied”

  • I wish the same, too — that I had been more present and aware, in spite of how crazy things have been for me lately. (I haven’t been on Twitter that much, caught up in my own stuff offline, and this truly caught me by surprise.) I have been thinking a lot about your second point since day before yesterday (more than the skin — I’m terrible at self-care, but I’ll try.) It is so easy to take people for granted who are just always there and present, and those are the people who deserve it the least. I hope I can keep some of this in mind for her.

    And besides that? 39 is just too damned young for a good person, a devoted mom and wife, to leave the earth. It makes no sense to me. But all the same, I can take what I can from how kind she was to me, and use it for good. I think a lot of us are feeling that way too. Thanks for stating it so beautifully in this post.


  • I am at a loss. I know I read her comments on here, and I know I visited her blog. It’s a kick in the head to try to never put off until tomorrow telling someone how much you value them. And to wear sunscreen. Fleecy hugs…


  • Al_Pal:

    Indeed, I didn’t even get to meet her once, but we shared stories across the interwebs, and Dawn was–still IS, I say–a delight. Skincare/suncare/selfcare, GO! And being a better friend. I’m fairly good at being a friend–but we can all try harder. 😉


  • Beautifully said and 100% agree.


  • she really was amazing, in every way that you just mentioned.


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I'm Katie, a 30-year-old, wife, mom, former teacher-turned PT, who also had brain surgery in November of 2007. This blog chronicles my daily life, from mundane to crazy, often with far too much detail. Sit down, get comfortable and stay for a while.
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