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Friday, January 30, 2009

Remembering Dawn Nelson

Wednesday afternoon I got a message from a friend Dawn Y. from High School asking if I knew how to get in touch with our other friend Dawn N. because their 10 year High School Reunion is creeping up and she wanted to make sure Dawn knew about it. I told Dawn Y. that it should be no problem since I knew that Dawn N. was on facebook and I would just send her a message. No big deal.

The only problem was when I went to Dawn N’s facebook page the first thing I saw was an announcement for her memorial service on Jan 10th. I thought that Dawn must know ANOTHER Dawn, that it must be a mistake. I searched for more info and saw comments from Dawn’s other friends how much she would be missed. My heart just broke right there. I searched around a little more and found a link to Dawn’s website. Turns out last march she had been diagnosed with Leukemia and less than a year later she had passed away.

As everything sank it I couldn’t stop crying. I had already been to one memorial service this week for a friend’s mother that had passed away Saturday and two reminders in one week of truly how short life can be is almost too much to take.

I am feeling so guilty right now that I lost touch with Dawn after I got married. She was such an amazing person. We met at Church when we were teenagers. Her Dad was one of the chaplains at the Chapel where my family went and we clicked almost right away. We hung out at youth group and at school. I can’t even count the number of movies we went to see together or all the fun we had on the youth group trips. Right before her senior year her family moved to Arizona where her Dad was stationed, and it didn’t stop our friendship at all. That summer I flew out there and had a blast while Dawn showed me around Tombstone where she worked sometimes. She also introduced me to pizza sandwiches and she made the BEST chocolate covered strawberries.

I went home and started my senior year of high school and she went off to college. She and a group of friends came through Savannah for St.Patrick’s Day on their way to Florida for spring break and we all headed down to River Street. It was so packed downtown that we ended up parking at the Gwinnett Street Kroger and walking to River Street. I don’t know why but I remember us singing “I Try” by Macy Gray all the way there because we kept tripping on the cracks in the sidewalk trying to walk in the dark. After we had our fill of downtown we all headed back to my house. The next day around lunch Dawn and her friends left for Florida, and that was the last time I saw her in person. We kept in touch for a while through emails and instant messages but lost touch over time.

I was so excited when we found each other on Facebook. It was fun to see pictures of what she was doing now. I was also excited that she was living in Charleston, SC. She was so close that I knew we would end up getting together and catching up but I never got around to telling her that a meet up was long over due. That is why the second Dawn Y. asked me to contact Dawn N. I went to do it immediately. I was going to tell her about her High School reunion and then mention that when she came to town we just had to get together… but I was too late, and I can’t stop crying. I haven’t seen Dawn in almost ten years but knowing that she is no longer alive just hurts so much.

After finding out about Dawn’s passing, my friend Priscilla told me to come over for a cup of coffee because she knew I was so upset. Priscilla let me talk about Dawn for a bit and then changed the subject just when I needed too so that I was laughing. I couldn’t stay at Priscilla’s house all night though so I eventually headed home after I knew Curt and Lucas would be in bed.

On the way home I started crying again. In my head I was thinking all the standard “God, why her?” and how she is just a year older than I am and all the things she will never get to do. I’m sure it is basic stuff to think about and feel bad about when someone dies. I ended up turning on the radio and pressing scan and letting it randomly land on a station. The very first lyrics I heard on the radio were “I’m already dancing on the streets of gold can’t stop celebrating in my soul” I turned up the radio as loud as it could go and just let the music wash over me. Ever single song that came on the radio while I was driving home was about heaven.

When I got home I grabbed my ipod and crawled up on the couch and just listened to music and cried and thought about Dawn. I was still awake when Curt got up for work the next morning. After he left I took a long hot shower and made some breakfast. I ended up sitting down and reading ever post on Dawn's Blog that she started when she found out last March that she had leukemia and continues until she passed away on January 8th. I know she is in a better place.
Please consider registering to become a bone marrow donor and/or a blood donor. Also you can pledge a donation to help support Dawn's friend who is running a half marathon in her honor while raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.


TednLisa said...

After I saw your post on facebook I spent time last night reading her blog. Two of my friends have had bone marrow transplants and they helped there fight with cancer.

Charity said...

Kari, I'm so sorry honey that you lost your friend.. sometimes we don't know why things happen but we can always know that God has His plan and He is always in control.. Really makes me remember how precious life is and how precious each of our loved ones are.. We never know what tomorrow brings and can never blame ourselves for what could have been.. Just hug the ones you have close.. Love ya girl!!

Stacy said...

So sad to hear about your sweet friend. I'm praying for you.

Lini said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your friend, Kari.

The Wheelers said...

I'm so sorry that you lost such a special person in your life. Hugs to you! Love ya

Anonymous said...

I'm good friends with Dawn's brother, Will. It's been such a hard thing to deal with for them, and it's apparent that it's taking a toll on them.

You're one of the lucky ones. You knew her before she passed on, where as I never met her. I know she was an amazing person and she made a huge impact on everyone's life.

Please keep the Nelsons in your prayers. They're in Hawaii now for Steve's college graduation.
God Bless!