Monday 14th April was the day the family sat down and accidentally tuned in to Australian Story on the ABC. I say ‘accidentally’ because we had in fact watched the program the week before when they interviewed Bob Irwin Senior. This time we sat and watched as the program related the story of beautiful 24 year old Jessica Horton (nee Disteldorf) who died as she lived facing her illness and living her life to the end with dignity.
Her story, inspiring as it was, was just heartbreaking. She had intelligence, beauty and a wonderful personality yet the disease took its toll on her, her relationships and her family and towards the end the pressure and stress she and the others were under was almost palpable.
Over the months and years she charted her own progress and that of the disease keeping a video diary. Towards the ‘end’ she emerged from her hospital room to record the following
“I’m wide awake, it’s 4am…thought I’d come out and talk for a while. Talk about, talk about dying I guess. Um, I’m dying and I don’t really like it. It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be. It’s, yeah, I guess I thought it would be nice and peaceful you know, everything around me would be serene and it’s not. You know, life goes on.”
She also constructed a website which she maintained until almost the last few days of her life which she sadly lost on March 23rd 2008, Easter Sunday, just four days before her 25th Birthday.
The website is one I’d suggest visiting if only to learn what an incredible young woman she was and how much the world has lost by her untimely passing. Jessica’s website is Dying for Beginners, and dedicated to “those who get to die young and beautiful”.
6 thoughts on “Jessica Horton (nee Disteldorf)”
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Sorry it wasn’t more eloquent. I’m a bloke and it was hard enough to write anything that would express just how much Jessica’s struggle affected me.
The letter I wrote to Jason via the site was closer to the mark… but I can’t post that here.
Oh my god…I did not think it was possible for me to cry or show emotion anymore…this girl has shown me never ever to give up and keep living no matter what. Her family are amazing and Jason you are exceptional.
My sister’s “Journey” with Breast Cancer ended on 17 February 1996. She too had all those characteristics and also died too young.
Thank you for writing about Jessica.
I know it’s a common phrase to use “lost battle with cancer” so I don’t blame you for using it.
Jessica didn’t like that phrase at all – today I posted a short article on her website explaining why at http://www.dyingforbeginners.com/brave-battle-with-cancer/
Thanks again for mentioning her story,
I understand and I’m amending the entry to read
which is more in line with your comment on Jessica’s website.
I hope when my time comes as it surely will that I can meet my end with as much grace as Jessica.