Farewell to a Friend [From The Campaign Spot on NRO]It doesn't get any easier.
Damn. Damn, damn, damn.
I had been preparing for this news for a little while, since hearing the grim news about Dean Barnett's condition from Hugh Hewitt's producer Duane last week. But somehow I still thought Dean was going to surprise us all and pull through. He had done it before. Despite knowing the grim prognosis for the past week, I'm still stunned. He had written about his thick-as-chowdah Boston accent, but the first time I heard him when he was guest-hosting Hugh's show, I joked that I was going to need a translator. That could not have been that long ago... Dean was funny, and insightful, and witty, and even though we never crossed paths in person, it was easy to feel like you knew him. So much about him suggested he was one of those good guys the world needs more of.
He had made us laugh and made us think so many times since he started blogging back in 2004, that when he recently reentered the hospital, there was a palpable absence in the conversation about the campaign. I had already started to miss reading his take on the latest twists and turns of the campaign, and I don't think it's going to get any easier.
RIP, Dean. We are going to miss you something fierce.
UPDATE: I went back and checked. August. August, Dean was talking to me and other guests on the program as if nothing was wrong. Life can change so quickly, and so cruelly, sometimes. [emphasis mine]
Even more recently, at the end of September he and I exchanged e-mails laughing about something
If I hadn't survived my own ICU stint in October of '01, the last time most people would have seen me would have been at Capital's homecoming dance the night before. I was wearing a red velvet dress. My fiance and I were dancing, talking, laughing with my friends. A photographer took a picture of us on the dance floor (that one of my choir mates bought later, to give to me when I got back to school). In it, I'm pale, but I'm smiling radiantly. My fiance and I were in the middle of a dance. He's wearing a blue suit jacket and a blue and red striped tie.
And for some people, that would've been the last time they saw me--in a red dress, dancing in the dining hall. I had just performed in our Homecoming concert two days ago.
CF can go from good to bad to worst in a matter of days. It moves fast, and it moves without mercy.
Dean had beaten the odds for so long--he was in his 40s when he died.
One thing I know about having a terminal illness (because that's what CF is--even post-transplant) is that you "know" when things aren't going to turn out. At least, I always did. It can be so hard to fight the descent. And Dean tried many times.
We need to find a cure for this. Now. It's not like cancer, where you can "survive" it. It's not a developmental disease, where you can have it and still live a long life. It will kill you. That's the very sobering fact. And too often, it will kill you too young.
I know I am very, very fortunate. I want more people to be fortunate. I want CF to go the way of polio. I want kids to read about it in history books, not biology books.
I want me and Tricia and Amber, and all the others, to live.