Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How Quickly Things Change

A recent news story recounted how an up-and-coming Brazilian model contracted a rare necrotic virus and passed away after a short fight against the disease. Prior to her death, Mariana Bridi da Costa had undergone amputation of both hands and feet in an attempt to save her life.

This tragic story underscores just how fragile all our lives are. The public has been infatuated by other celebrity tragedies in the past, such as the deaths of James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Brandon Lee, and Selena, just to name a few. The difference here is that da Costa's death was due to natural causes, not a freak accident or substance abuse problems. It also took time.

Imagine being a beautiful 20-year-old model, trying to take your career international. You feel a little ill. Doctors diagnose a urinary tract infection. No big deal. Then suddenly you are fighting for your life. Your hands and feet have to be removed.

Imagine if she had lived. I wonder what kind of life would have ensued after this experience. Would the fashion world have embraced a beautiful young woman amputee? Might she still have found work doing only head shots? What kind of horrible trauma it would have been to live through such an ordeal. Would she have risen to the occasion or fallen from the pressure and pain?

To be fair, I only learned of da Costa's existence at the time of her death. I don't know how she would have acted had she survived. However, her story as it unfolded gave me pause. I realized again how fleeting are life and health. I thought about every person's inevitably declining body and mind and how quickly things can change. I hope others took the time to think these thoughts and to feel the sadness of loss and corresponding appreciation for what they do have.

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