It seems a bit weird to say goodbye to someone through a blog, but considering I met Paul online, our relationship was mostly online, and he encouraged me to start blogging...this seems oddly important. So...here it goes...
I didn't see it coming. I knew that you were sick and that were not doing well...but I never actually thought that you would die. You seemed invincible. I thought that you would get through this, maybe get new lungs...version Q.2 and that you would be around forever. It was wishful thinking, I know. But I hoped.
You were one of the first people that I "met" on the cf.com board. I don't remember how we started talking outside of the group, but it just seemed right and seemed like we were destined to be friend. I remember all of the talks, some very serious, and others very silly. I know that we talked about relationships a lot. Some of the discussions were difficult...talking about the realities of CF. In some times I think that I looked at you as what might happen to Gess in the future. And sometimes that scared me, but it was also some way comforting.
I feel like you were my passport into the community in a lot of ways--like you "vouched" for me and said, "she's okay, even though she is not a cystic." I felt at home in the community...more like I belonged than I have ever felt before. More accepted and more cared for...even though I don't share your mutations. So I thank you for bringing me into that community and helping me stay there. It has meant so much to me...I can't even put that into words.
You also got me writing again. Our blogs on Yahoo 360...blogs that I lost. but ones that I wrote rather personal stuff upon, knowing that only you and a few others would read them. Blogs were I really started to open up and address some of the demons in my past. This was the start of the work that has lead me to where I am now...dealing much more capably with my family and with myself. I also want to write. Someday you will be able to find a book with my name on it on the shelves of a book store. And this is because of you. You started the process...and now I will take it and finish is.
We talked about a lot. Hockey. Music. Meditation. Cycling. Books. And more. I guess it really didn't matter the subject...there was just a comfort in talking. You were my friend and I liked spending time with you--even it was all virtual.
And then we did get to meet...Heartland Cafe. Sorry we were late...never stay in the suburbs of Chicago...not worth it! I was nervous about our meeting. I didn't know if we would "click" in real life or if it would be weird. I didn't know how Gess would respond. And I didn't even know that Tiffany would be there. But once I got there, it was great. You looked great. You looked happy and healthy. Much better than I had expected considering how I had heard you were doing. I enjoyed our brunch a lot and I wished that we could spend more time together. But...you had company, so we went our separate ways. I wish that we have taken a picture. I had my camera and my iPhone, so I had no excuse.
It was hard to say goodbye, but we were back chatting the next day and things were fine. Friends. Laughing, sharing, commiserating. I think that a lot of the reason that we got along so well is because we are so alike. We both live in our heads a lot. We think, think, and think. Over-thinking everything. Dwelling. Analyzing. Questioning. I think that we were both a little melancholy--ok, maybe a lot. But it worked. With you I was sad Lisa at times. Processing through a lot of the stuff that I have, in part because of my crazy family life, in part because of my low self-esteem, and in part because of the way this disease is eating me up inside. You thought a lot about how CF affects geneotypicals involved in relationships and so I felt safe telling you my struggles. Talking through some of those things has really helped me...some of it scared the crap out of me...but it is the life I have and it was nice to be able to compare notes with you about it. I will definitely miss that.
I know that we hadn't talked a lot recently, things have been crazy in my life and I think that you sensed that and gave me some distance and I was so wrapped up in everything that I didn't reach out more. But I can't think about that now. I know that you knew I loved you and I know that you loved me. More conversations certainly would have been nice...but we will have to save those for another time.
I will never forget you. Last night I was reading a book and though "I can't wait to tell Q about this." And then reality hit that I couldn't tell you. I wonder how long that will happen...how long you will be the first person that I think of when something happens. The reality of the situation sucks. I want to tell you about this book and listen to your analysis of it. We never talked about the book we were reading together...it sort of got pushed to the side with the entire pepe drama. But I still have it on my shelf. And every time I see it I will think of you.
I thank you for your friendship, your love, you insight, and your humor. I listen to some of your music and can't help but smile. You were so wonderful and you will be so sorely missed.
I hope that we meet again and can have those conversations. And that bike ride. Until then, I will hold on to the fond memories and hope for those times to come.
Tonight I sing to you "I'll Fly Away (Cystic)" and "Pepe's Song." I don't want to let you go, but I know that it is time...so go my dear friend...fly away to that place where joy will never end...
With much love,