Valerie's death shook me to the depths of my being. I had known her since she was a little girl - a frail, little person who was constantly ill and mostly sat quiet and exhausted in a corner. Nobody expected her to live.
Valerie had the sweet, innocent smile of someone who was expected to die very young, and a sweet, innocent character. Valerie survived all the usual sickler traps in teenage, and lived to finish high school. She grew into a beautiful young lady, with a soft, pale skin and delightful form, despite her pronounced limp. She had just begun a course, before her sudden, no-longer-expected death. We had just got used to the idea that she would live; then she died unexpectedly.
Valerie's death hung around me like a pall for days. I felt lamed and shaken inside. But it did not move me to start speaking and writing for and about sicklers.
It was the death of an unknown young girl which finally jolted me out of my lethargy.
I was looking for information on the worldwide web, when, by chance, I came across a memorial page about her. She had just recently updated her webpage, with a lovely photo of herself in a high-quality, well-made blue silk dress, which waved gently high across her slim legs as she enjoyed the view from a ferry.
She had been a well-educated girl, with a good job and a creative outlet. She had seen something of the world, which accounted for her excellent taste and grooming. And just as it looked like she had left the dangerous times behind her - the dangerous ages which most sicklers do not outlive - just when it looked like she would now live to die of old age, she had had a severe crisis and died.