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”.