Laura’s Legacy One Year Later: “Because Life With Still’s Can Still Be Life”
This time last year, I was pulling late nights studying for final exams. I was failing classes, not doing well, and had an incredible support system getting me through those late nights—in particular, I had a friend, Laura, who kept me company from across the globe. She was my painsomnia partner whose strength and determination fueled mine when I was running close to empty. She was the first 20-something with Still’s Disease I connected with and her blog was the first one I’d found after being diagnosed.
This time last year, Laura was struggling. She’d been in and out of the hospital while planning both a wedding and a stem cell transplant. It was early morning her time, and she was talking me through some extremely alarming symptoms—she knew something was wrong. And so did I when she stopped tweeting/texting/etc shortly after describing her symptoms. It was no more than 12 hours of deafening silence before we all just felt in our hearts what had happened. The morning after I’d last heard from her, I remember waking up extremely early, bolting upright in bed, and just knowing. I messaged Kirsten, whom I barely knew at the time, and posed the question.
We just knew. Still’s Disease had claimed Laura’s life—a life she fought valiantly for up until the very end.
It’s a year to the day, today. There is an emptiness in our little group of Still’s Disease ladies that is still palpable. She lived with grace and fought with every fiber of her being. I wish I had words that could even begin to describe the strength she inspired in me, the grace she showed me how to have by example alone when I was lacking it, and the wonderful friendship she gave to me—it was her death that brought Kirsten and I together.
It’s 11pm and these words feel fragmented, falling short of capturing the essence of her spirit and legacy in a few measly paragraphs. I think of her when I see butterflies in my backyard or patio, and I know she’s free of the chains arthritis placed on her. I am reminded of Laura’s impact on our community when my rheumatologist pulls up her blog as a reference.
A year later, Laura is close to my heart, still very much on my mind.
Send a prayer, a positive though, a reblog—whatever—for Laura and her family today. You can leave a kind word on her memorial facebook page for her family to read.
Remember why we blog, tweet, reblog, speak, and get up every day to fight for an ounce of awareness of these diseases. In my weak moments of advocacy—when I am burnt out and bitter—I think of Laura, and am always able to keep going.
Even in death, she is a pillar of strength, inspiration, and perseverance. We should all be so lucky to leave behind the kind of legacy she left for us.
Love and spoons,