Once upon a time, I stumbled upon a website that had a commenting section. I discovered like-minded others in the commenters, all with unique humour that instantly bonded us. In no time at all, I was a “regular”, like Norm in Cheers.
I logged on under an internet name, adopted an internet “personality” and became friends with some of the others that commented frequently. We all began to forge a unique (but in this day and age, not that unusual. I mean, hey, remember when pen pals were the thing to have??) friendship with several people.
For awhile, we played around on this one site but found that we enjoyed one another’s online personalities too much and created our own personal chatroom/blog/website, dubbed the Cave and then later, the Center of the Earth.
Slowly we shed our online personas and morphed into actually knowing one another. Then the chatroom became no more and facebook took over. Some members of our group faded away, but there remained a core group of us who connected daily. We had ongoing messaging threads. We’ve chatted regularly for six years. A lucky few of us actually got to physically meet. But most of us never have.
One of us died the other day.
In our communal grief, we realized that friendship doesn’t always equate physical contact. Does that make sense? Our group, vast and far-flung across two countries, various in age, married and not; some parents, some not; living our lives and being true-blue friends with one another, found that love of friends means so much more. These people know me on levels that some do not. I know things about these people that may shock their loved ones. We are more real and gritty with each other, we fight and make up, we care deeply.
So what if I’ve never met any of them? I know them all so well, and they me.
This woman who passed away was really funny. Her spirit was immense in her caring. She shone in her thoughtfulness and was constant in her caring for every one of us. She was one of my dearest friends and was taken away too damn soon. She battled a horrible illness and health issues which ultimately took her away.
We’ve rallied around her family, we the ones who knew her online. We will gather all together, in cyberspace, on Saturday to say farewell to our Angela. We will honour her and pay tribute to her and this unique and wonderful friendship that we are so lucky enough to share.
Angela, you will never be forgotten. You are a light in my heart, a smile upon your daughter’s lips, the sunbeam on a cloudy day, a kindness shown to another person. I know in my heart how much you cared for us. I know you know how much we love you too.
Surround us with your love as we surround you with ours.
Thank you for being a part of our lives. We love you so very much.
Peace be with you in the light.