2017 didn’t make it past its first day before someone with Ataxia went away.
She touched so many lives during her 25 years here.
This morning, Noelle and Allie – a couple of my favorite people whom I met through Ataxia & Fitness – were absolutely… I don’t know. I don’t speak for them, but “heartbroken” and “stunned” are a couple of words I would choose to describe it.
You see, Mariah’s (aka “Mars”) FA (Friedreich’s Ataxia) went hand-in-hand with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a condition known to cause sudden cardiac arrest. And that’s what happened.
I barely knew Mars. So why did her death urge me to write about her, you ask?
Because she impacted me deeply, without leaving her bed.
She started the Facebook group “HandiQueers“, a safe-place for those of us who, as the groups’ name implies, are handicapped/disabled and also identify as LGBTQ. She gave us a safe haven. Giving that type of safety – that’s priceless.
But her death scared me, too.
It scared me because it forced me to think of Noelle, John and Laura. Last year John’s ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) went off, landing him in hospital for a bit. Laura’s heart stopped beating for nearly 10 seconds, which is what spurred her ICD implantation. It prompted me to remember the most recent time my heart stopped beating.
Mars’ passing made our small group feel. We care about each other; about Noelle and Ally’s (they’d been friends of Mars’ for years) heartache; our heart issues and general well-being. We’re there for each other during health scares, day-to-day life, mundane things that make us laugh; our concerns, hopes, stories, whatever.
It also made me angry. Because fuck Ataxia. Fuck strokes.
So 2017 hasn’t gone as hoped so far. Does it ever? But now I’m stopping and thinking of people – people who allow me into their daily lives, people I share thoughts with, people I’ve let go of and people I haven’t met yet.
People are precious. Thank you, Mars.
2 responses to “To Mars and back”
Awww. Thank you so much for writing this. She faught so hard…my Precious Warrior that loved everyone for who they were. Please continue to share your journeys in this group and also remember that Mariah loved you all.
Brea Brown (Mariahs Mommy)
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Always here for you, by the way – really! ❤❤❤❤❤