Laura Hillenbrand 1 hr · On the afternoon of March 22, 1987, when this photo was taken, I was nineteen, a sophomore at Kenyon College, an athlete, a straight-A student, enveloped in sweet friendships, healthy and happy. At 9:30 that night, as I rode back to school from spring break in my best friend Lincoln's old Mercedes, a deer brushed past my window a breathtaking millimeter away, so close I could see the swirl of hair around his nostrils. An instant later, a blazing meteor shimmered over the car and vanished into the hills ahead. It was then, in a singular instant of startled wonder on a dark Ohio road, that I felt the first symptoms of the disease that would leave me bedbound for years, housebound for decades, in a realm of suffering far beyond the reach of words. March 22 was, for many years, a day I met with the deepest grief. But someone I love taught me how to see it so differently, as a day to mark my distance from the past; a day to celebrate all the gifts I have been given, the love that showers down on me, and the life that never stopped beating in me; a day to be grateful to the hardest beams of my soul that refused to be felled, even when I was too weak to speak or roll my body over in bed or find a rational reason to go on; a day on which to gaze with happy laughter on the wonderland I see awaiting me; and now, a day to look back on the last radiant, magical year, in which I took a risk beyond imagining and landed on strong legs, in a new home in a paradise across the country, with the person I love, in a body that is at last leaving frailty behind and carries all the promise it held at nineteen. There is an Aztec Camera song that always comes to my mind on this day. One stanza runs over and over in my head: It rises up to let me know It's not so deep I'm not so slow Today is no day of grief. I will spend it as I intend to spend every day left to me. I will leap into joy.