Among the celebrity deaths we've seen over the past week, none has hit me harder than Dawn Jones’s. Let me tell you about this superstar.
About seven years ago, Dawn’s Facebook pic appeared in the upper right corner of my page. It was a public figure page and I usually ignored them, thinking someone was trying to sell me something. For some reason, I clicked.
That click and her signature “Hi Beautiful!” changed my life.
I read through the posts on her page. There were prayers and good wishes and a lot of admiration. I learned that she had breast cancer. – two kinds. Her situation meant she would be on chemo the rest of her life. It was clear that this was one big page of inspiration, hope, courage, and love - Dawn style.
I sent her a message and after some back and forth, I had to meet her. I flew to NY. She picked me up and from the moment I hugged her, I knew she would be my Sister-girlfriend for life.
We hung out at her apt. She showed me her massive high-heeled shoe collection. She cooked me dinner in blue suede stilettos. Who does that? Dawn. She made some of the homeopathic remedies that brought her comfort and healing and educated me on the ingredients. She set the table like a fine restaurant and we ate and talked like two teenagers. I stayed at her place on a blow-up bed in the living room. She had mastered the set-up and taken-down and I realized that she had welcomed many people into her life and her home. She talked about her boys whom she loved with a vengeance.
We talked so much that the days run together so I can't remember if it was the next night in NY or PA but we got dressed up and went out to eat. And, kept talking. About everything. She was so much fun. She could (and did) talk to everyone and everyone loved her. Without exception. I have never seen anything like it. Dawn didn’t waste her energy or one moment of her life on things that didn’t matter. She didn’t complain. She didn’t hate on people. She said what was on her mind (sometimes she thought it was just fracka-lackin' bulllllsheet) and just kept moving forward with grace, poise, dignity, respect, and a whole lot of love in statement high heels.
I went with her to her treatments at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA). It took Dawn 30 minutes to walk 10 feet because everyone wanted to talk to her. And, she made time for them. She had a way about her that was sassy, sexy, friendly, compassionate, confident, commanding, and contagious. It was the “Dawn Effect” and anyone who knew her understands exactly what I mean. Everyone wanted to know what she was “on” because they all wanted to have whatever she was having. Yes, she was that awesome.
She had good news on her lab results and with her baby blanket in hand (yes, it was her personal baby blanket) settled in for a treatment. Typical of Dawn, she made a Reiki appointment for me while she was in hers.
We stayed overnight in a hotel that was close by. She shared her audio relaxation clip with me and we each fell asleep before it was over as she promised we would.
The next morning, she was a guest on a radio station and I tagged along. She talked about her foundation: “Live, Love, Walk Sexy.” She lived, loved, and walked sexy with every step and every breath she took. Back in NY, we went out to dinner again and a few women she knew joined us. We were non-stop for three days. Dawn sucked every drop out of every moment of her life and it was a blast to see that happen. It was fascinating to watch and even more fun to be a part of.
We never went too long without connecting by phone, text, or mail. I made and donated 350+ MyTie – tie one on ® necklaces for her to sell, wear, or give away to raise awareness of her foundation. She sent me little gifts telling me I was “awesome” when it was clear that she was the awesome one. I sent her high-heeled themed gifts and tried to make sure she knew how much I loved her. I dedicated the 9th mile of the Dallas Half Marathon to her. Thinking of her that entire mile gave me the strength to finish the race.
When I created my Gladiator™ Necklace, she was one of the first people I gave one to and I let her know for the bazillionth time what a reminder she was to me to embrace life and do as much good as possible.
I spoke to her on the phone just last week, December 21st. I had been trying to call her for months and hadn’t heard from her. I was sick with worry. Finally, a few days before Christmas, she answered the phone. I burst into tears the moment I heard her signature, "Hi Beautiful." Her voice was weary. She said that she hadn’t posted on Facebook for a while because “It’s just been a really tough few months and you know me, I really like to be positive.” My Dawn.
She talked to me for about 15 minutes. I told her I was sending her a gift and to text me the best address. I cried throughout our conversation. I kept telling her I loved her and it was so good to talk to her. When I got off the phone with her, I sat in my car sobbing.
And, I realized something priceless that was so characteristic of her love and regard for others. My beautiful Sister-girlfriend was exhausted and the last thing in the world she wanted to do was get on the phone. But, she answered my call for me. She knew that I needed to hear her voice so she answered. She did it to make me feel better. She did it for me. Always thinking of others. So Dawn.
I stay off Facebook during most holidays. The only reason I hopped on was to see if Dawn had posted. When I saw that Dawn had passed away, I was beside myself. Not Dawn. Not my invincible, loving, positive Gladiator Dawn. Not her. Not today. Not ever, please.
She was one of the most precious gifts I have ever received and her passing on my birthday will forever remind me of that. I am grateful she is at peace. I know she is out of pain but I'm not. I loved her so deeply. I will never be the same without her; I will forever be a better person in the world for having met her.