Point & Click
Since I began writing this column four years ago, it seems like I’ve written more than I would have expected about people I care about dying. Now, here I am again, this time writing about Donna Dowling Robinson. I got the news Thursday morning that she has died after a courageous battle with melanoma cancer. She was just 41. I want to tell you a little about Donna. I first met her in the late ’90s. She and her husband, Curtis Robinson, were living in Basalt and had started a weekly newspaper called The Roaring Fork Sunday. She had read some of the stories I’d written for other publications, and she wanted to hire me to work at her newspaper. Donna appeared quiet and sweet, but she had a fierce, relentless focus. Gentle she was, but she was also one of the most determined people I’ve ever known. With her gifted eye, writing ability and penchant for design, she methodically created a high-quality newspaper.Donna was quite a girl. When her little black cocker spaniel-like dog named Rufus became partially paralyzed overnight, she didn’t give up on him. Most people would’ve just put him down, but not Donna. She sought out veterinarians and determined that he could live a happy, healthy, if not a bit confined, life. She located a doggie wheelchair manufacturer, and special-ordered a cart just for Rufus. She and Curtis moved to Alexandria, Va., a month before 9/11. They lived so close to the Pentagon, they heard the plane that day. She produced a series of multi-media images about 9/11 that were featured in a Woody Creek Store art gallery show and another in D.C. My husband Erik and I bought one of her images, that today hangs in my Citizen Telegram office. She sold out of all the rest. Since then, Curtis and Donna have had a little boy, Finn, who’s now 2 years old. Just last February, Donna was diagnosed with stage IV malignant melanoma. Going to the best docs and remaining optimistic, Donna and Curtis dealt with her cancer. “Between the chemo and the painkillers and related medicines, she is pretty wiped a lot of the time,” wrote Curtis in his last group e-mail dated Aug. 9. “Each day contains good hours; she plays with Finn virtually every day, and is there for the night-night ritual.”This morning, when I heard that Donna died, I went outside. I could feel the air against my skin, and I could feel the heat of the sun beating down on my living body. I looked up at the Roan Plateau, and at the sky and clouds, and everything looked so clear and crisp. Carrie Click is the editor and general manager of The Citizen Telegram. You can reach her at 625-3245, ext. 101, email@example.com.
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That sideline parent is me, parading to the field with a foldable chair, carrying an iced-coffee, armed with a bag of band-aids and a salty vocabulary ready to slay the referee or opponent that meddles…