***This post was written the morning of September 11. Out of respect for the family and their grieving, I held off on posting it. No names are mentioned here in the hopes that the family may find some small degree of solace in anonymity. Please, if you must offer condolences, offer them to those who loved her worlds more than I. While my sense of loss is real and palpable to me, it doesn’t even begin to compare to the hole her absence has left in the lives of those who loved her most, those that knew and loved the flesh-and-blood version of the awesome woman I knew only digitally. Thank you, as always, for reading.
Today’s post was supposed to be about when your foundation gets rocked. It was supposed to revolve around the World Trade Center attacks, and how eerie that morning felt as I wandered through what I thought was just a normal morning.
But then today happened.
My foundation got rocked.
I wandered through what I thought was just a normal morning.
I got up with the boys, pushing them to get their lunches packed, teeth brushed and to stop sniping at one another. I penned absence excuses and doctor notes. I smashed medicine into cheese for our post-op mutt who won’t take her pain pills without a little dairy surrounding them. I opened up WordPress to begin a blog and then decided it would have to wait until the boys were gone–quiet– and the dog began her usual 8 hour nap. I opened up Facebook.
And there it was–a sucker punch to the gut. My friend was dead.
I didn’t know her except in this new technology’s bastardized form of pen pal relationships. I still considered her a friend. She read my blog over the last couple of years and always commented sweetly and honestly. She read my book and left me a glowing review. We talked about visiting Ohio. We joked about her being tall enough to weather the snow drifts we get if she and her equally vertically unchallenged daughter visited in winter. She and her girl were blog friends of mine. We shared experiences through words and pictures shared on Facebook.
Those pictures were of her loving her daughters, grandbabies, friends and dogs with a ferocity I haven’t seen in years. They were the center of her universe. She shone with the pride of one who loves without measure.
Then her summer happened.
The bottom fell out of her basket.
She searched for mercy.
I wept as if I had met her face to face, as if this stunted-by-technology relationship we shared mattered to anyone but me.
That post made me realize something. This world we live in, where social media keeps all people a mouse click’s distance away, is giving us the false impression of proximity. Ohio is still many states away from the majority of my friends. When the shit hits the fan I feel so very helpless. Technology has given me, all of us really, the sense that distance doesn’t matter. For me, and how I feel about each of those friends in my Facebook list, it doesn’t. I am attached to my cyber friends in no less loving a way than the flesh and blood relationships I have here in my corner of the world.
You see, I don’t know any other way to be. I don’t waste my time on insignificant relationships. If you are part of my circle, you are PART of my circle. I don’t need to know what your laundry soap smells like to care about you. I don’t need to know every intimate detail of your life to consider you a friend.
I don’t need to physically see you to feel a profound sense of loss when you leave this world unexpectedly.
If that makes me some sort of nut job, then I embrace my white coat with love and affection.
A woman I considered a friend died last night. A fellow human being was hurting. And now all those who loved her– family, grandchildren and numerous friends– are hurting, too. The lives she touched while she was here were too numerous to count.
Except this one. I’m counting this one.
I’m counting that she touched my life, and that I was too far away to help her face her demons.
I’m counting that the world lost a good and wonderful person much too soon.
For that, I weep.