A tribute to Johanna Stahl (aka painkills2 from All Things Chronic)

I don’t want anyone to be sad when I die – I want them to be glad that I lived” – Johnna Stahl

Dear Johnna

I never expected to lose you so soon. It came as such a shock. I certainly am glad that you lived. And that we shared a parcel of time together. I am sad. You meant so much to me. Oh how I will miss you. And so I cry. For the loss of my dear friend. But I do rejoice in you having finally found peace and a release from your never-ending pain.

You gave so much of yourself to us. Always at the ready to offer comfort, support, encouragement. During my personal struggles you shared a remedy of music specific to my distress, or a funny video clip, many words of wisdom delivered with your wicked dose of wit. And while I would bemoan my own illness, you never ever complained about your pain! You never judged me – a rare occurrence in a bipolar’s life. In fact, you asked questions with a keen intent to learn and understand. What a generous gift! You challenged me to look at things differently. And I want you to know… your ‘BlueBird’ has applied these lessons. Your wisdom has made an imprint on my life.

I admired your diligent, passionate advocacy for the chronic pain community. I loved your photography and enjoyed sharing your cyber-walks. I will always remember you in the beauty of details, of blue skies and clouds passing by, of the smell of yeast as a loaf of bread bakes. Butter, butter and more butter…. with chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. And how will I ever forget you…. each time I scrub (or don’t scrub) my toilet.

I’m glad that you lived, because I am a better person for having known you, my friend. I took this photo for you from my room with a view, half a world away in South Africa. While the sun may have set on your life, your memory will shine bright in my heart.

Durban, South Africa

And of course, as music lovers, I have to end with one of your songs

A family tribute to Johnna Stahl

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