I’ve been silent for a while. Life, as always, has been busy, but there’s more to it than that. I started doing freelance editing about two days after I quit my full-time job, and for the past few months many of my nights and weekends have been spent in front of the laptop. Some nights I would work a full 7 hours after tucking the boys into bed. I couldn’t even think about writing anything interesting, and the last thing that I wanted was to spend any more time in front of my laptop. I’m at the end of a long stretch, though. The final book that I’m editing in 2012 will be completed by the end of the week, and I’ve decided that I’m going to take a much lighter workload from now on. I need time to think, time to play with the boys, and time to just relax. I haven’t had enough of that lately.
And beyond my work, there has been a lot going on. Brendan started school, we had part of our house reno’d, Brendan turned 4 (OMG!), and I have rediscovered my love of cooking delicious meals. I will get back to writing about the wonderfulness of my children, I promise. And I will share photos of our brand new office and anything else that seems remotely interesting to me, but which might bore the average person to tears.
I will oblige and share a photo, but for today, those worthy subjects will have to wait. Right now I feel like writing about something that has been tugging at my heart since I heard the news.Today I discovered that an old friend died after a long battle with cancer.
In the wonderful and weird world of Facebook, I found out by seeing a post on my “newsfeed”, that came directly from her wall. I haven’t spoken to Tina in about 10 years, but we kept in touch via the occasional facebook message, and I sent her words of encouragement as she navigated through her cancer treatments.
I’m sad in a way that I can’t describe, and I have no one with me to share my grief. My lovely husband met Tina briefly many years ago, so has no memory of her, and while he will gladly listen as I try to recapture my memories of spending time with her so long ago, he won’t be able to reminisce with me. But this is where the weird and wonderful world of social media comes in. After I saw the first post about Tina’s passing, I clicked on her page to see if I could find out more…details are scarce, and there is no online obituary, which makes me think that she must have died either early this morning or sometime yesterday. I was amazed to see all the condolences already on her page, messages directly to her, or messages to her family members. Wishes and prayers and remembrances. I found an odd comfort in seeing long-forgotten names of former classmates, those who also remember the fun, smiling young girl who I remember. Those of us who knew her long before her first bout with cancer shortly after high school. Even though we have lived hundreds of kilometres away from each other for so many years, I never stopped thinking of her as a friend. I am blessed to have known someone who was just so genuine and sweet.
But my grief is an odd one because I really haven’t known her for years – other than the occasional message, I didn’t know what she did on a daily basis, who she spent her time with, or what her dreams were. It’s been too many years to count since I could have told you anything intimate about her life. But she has always held a special place in my heart. I’m sad and angry that her life couldn’t be everything that it was meant to be; I’m sad that she had to suffer and struggle so much. I’m sad that she didn’t get the happy ending that we all hoped she would have.
Thinking about Tina, I am brought back to our walks along the Detroit River when we had nothing else to do. I can still hear her voice as she made a joke about my name on one of the first times we hung out (with our friend Laura), “Bev would you like a beverage?”. It was a silly joke that for some reason has always stuck in my head. Now I’m grateful for that random memory – it brings me back to a time and place that will always bring a smile to my face, remembering the funny young woman who was taken much too young.