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Stacey Pawlowski, a wife, mother — and a heck of a Republican fundraiser — dies

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The baby was fine. Pawlowski was not.

She recalled the early days, after she got the news.

"Everyone's like, 'Oh, you're taking this so well.' And it's like, well, your choice is, sit on the couch and say, 'Woe is me. How the fuck did this happen?' Or be positive . . . To me, it just never was an option. But I had a baby, a husband."

She drank wine while Will shaved her head (the eyebrows were the hardest to lose) and got herself a "hot Posh Spice wig." She wore sock monkey pajamas and fought with Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman (because she continued to work, even once the cancer moved to her brain) and had plans to go to something called the Living Foods Institute in October.

Some friends insisted on throwing her a birthday party in June, where she saw people she hadn't seen in years. She was really touched.

"It sounds morbid to say it this way, but you go through life thinking, 'I just want to be a good person and I want to do some change in the community.' That's all — affect peoples' lives in a positive way. Have I been a bitch? Yes. Have I, you know, been aggressive? Yes. People hired me for that — blah blah blah. But I, seriously, that's kind of all I wanted, you know? And you kind of go, 'Yeah, maybe I'm a good person.'"

St. Francis Xavier Church was packed for Stacey Pawlowski's funeral. Her husband, father, and sister spoke eloquently about her. Will described his life as black and white before he met her and color after. The place did empty out significantly, by the end — partly because of Hugh Hallman's long eulogy. (New Times actually received an anonymous call afterward, from someone who had been at the funeral and was stunned that someone managed to make Pawlowski's life sound boring.)

But mostly, people left early because they had to get over to a John McCain fundraiser that had been scheduled for the same morning.

Stacey Pawlowski wouldn't have had it any other way.

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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at amy-silverman.com.