Oh there were psychos and shrews, make no mistake. In a community with thousands of women, you find an amazing variety of crazy. There was even one instance in which we were contacted by the FBI, because one of our members had faked cancer and received thousands of dollars in donations which she spent on various hedonistic pursuits. She used our site to cultivate friendships and garner trust and then defraud hundreds of people. I know, right?
There were political activists, peacemongers, ecowarriors, militant parenting proponents of every classification, perverts, poets, writers and artists. And did they all co-exist peacefully and respectfully in our little corner of cyberspace?
But in the midst of the back stabbing and rumor mongering and bitch fighting, there was some really awesome communication taking place, and true, deep, lasting friendships being formed. Even the superficial chit chat was gratifying because sometimes it just feels good to connect with other people on any level, especially for those of us who felt isolated and alone.
So although, as I said, I was not sad to put that behind me, I do miss some of the people.
Some of them I became real life friends with and remain in close contact with to this day. But there were over 1,000 women on that site and I lost touch with most of them. Sometimes I hear of one or another through mutual acquaintances, blog posts, Facebook, etc.
Recently I was saddened to hear that one of those women passed away after a long, arduous bout with cancer. She's not the first person from that community who has died. One committed suicide. Another died of cancer. One was murdered by her husband. Those are just the ones that I know about.
I wasn't particularly close to her, but I do remember her, mostly because she had a peculiar screen name. And I don't like it when anybody I know in any capacity, dies. It freaks me out people. Badly. Because if they can die, I can die and you all know how I feel about dying.
But this woman....she faced her death with courage and grace and that truly awes me. I admire her so much for going into the unknown with faith that whatever lies beyond is better. She made a choice and her choice was to live as well as she could until her body could not sustain life anymore and then leave this world with a legacy of strength and wisdom and hope.
You have no idea how much I long for that kind of....CHRIST, what is that? What makes people able to surrender their fear and uncertainty and just believe that it will be okay. Whatever it is, I want it. But I don't know how to get it. Please don't say God. Please don't say Faith. Please don't say asking the Lord into my heart. There are plenty of people who face death every day without God. They die well. They die at peace.
That's what it is...peace. I don't know how to make peace with the whole idea of just not BEING any more.
It terrifies me. Truly.
I'm sad that she had to die. But I'm happy she was able to do it so heroically. Because it is heroic, in my opinion, to face death and not dissolve into a weeping, shrieking, hysterical mess, who begs for just one more day, hour, minute, second of life on this earth. I would. If ever you hear that I've committed suicide, don't you believe it. Somebody murdered me for sure. Because I would fight death tooth and nail and I would never, ever invite it. The very idea is absurd.
But I have to thank her. Reading about her last days and moments has brought me a kind of peace, knowing that people can die without fear. Maybe I'll get there one day. Heroes inspire us every day and I suppose then that she is my death hero. I aspire to be as fearless as she.
What do they bury heroes in? Whatever it is, I hope it's something that bears witness to her courage and grace.
A smile, perhaps.