Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Two Too Many

A few of you following this raggedy little blog may know that I have been dealing with the inevitable loss of a very dear online friend, George. Well, on Sunday night I got home and logged on to learn that George's struggle was over. He is gone from us.

There are many of us scattered across the globe, from Liverpool to Puerto Rico, who have been struggling with this. How can you define a friendship, let alone grieve such a friendship, when it primarily existed in the spaces between the ones and zeroes out in the ether of an online community? And yet here we all are striving to do that very thing while trying to grapple with a very real sense of deep loss and sorrow.

I have said before, and will say again, that online communities are the very definition of a "meeting of the minds." There is a purity of communication unmarred by pheromones or hormones or physical distraction that cannot be found anywhere else. Pen pals do not loom large in the physical realm and so their words can be truly absorbed, taken into account, and accepted free of any other consideration. And now we have all lost a great mind, a great friend, a good voice stilled before we had heard all that we wanted to hear. It is strange and hard and the reality seems cruelly surreal.

Tonight I received a phone call that has shocked me to stillness. Another death, this time wholly unexpected. A good, kind, gentle and generous man, a man I worked with four days a week, died suddenly. John had a heart attack, I am told.

What am I to make of all this? One death would be too many. Two deaths in the space of three days? It is too much. It is two too many.

The truly notable thing about all of this is that one loss feels no different than the other. Each of these good men left their mark on my life, on my heart in their own unique way, and the disbelieving grief I feel is the same in both situations. There is a hole in my life where these two voices used to be. I am poorer today by the loss of two good friends. And no matter how I met them and knew them, I did know them. I was fortunate enough to know them.

I am so sad. I am so lucky. I got to tell each of them how special they were to me before it was too late. In fact, one of the last things I said to my friend John before he left the last time I saw him was how glad I was that I knew him, how glad I was that he was with us and doing all the things he did for everyone. And George? I got the chance to call and talk to him in Hospice, and I got to thank him for being my friend.

Thank you both, gentlemen. You were good, gentle men. I will miss you both and I will take your friendships with me through the rest of my life with gratitude.

Good night.

1 comment:

Kim said...

I'm still really sad about Charlie ... he was such a great guy ... a huge inspiration to me, one of the good guys that are gone way too soon :( I always looked forward to his writing, his opinions or comments ..I still look for him. There are a few people I still feel this connection to, people I'm not supposed to care so much about people I've never met but they are a part of my brain somehow ... you are one of those fiends for me too, like Charlie. I walked away from the computer for quite awhile too, I was so overwhelmed with my real life and realized I prefer my blogs and my internet friends better than my family ... which was bad lol I hope you are doing well Mel ... drop me a line or two every once in awhile! I picture you happily knitting away preparing for winter ...