We met in a chat room, both of us just looking for someone to talk to. Our initial meeting hung on the barest thread of trust. I was painfully shy, so would watch the conversations, but not participate. She was lively and vivacious and very popular, due to her gentle and giving nature. The same question was asked everyday, when is she coming in ?
I must have sat and watched for a good 2 weeks, then one day, she said where she lived. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, she actually lived where I was born. At a young age, my family had immigrated to the other side of the world and I always had a longing to go back.
I plucked up the courage to send her a private message and everything hung on those seconds, waiting for her to reply. A lot of people in chat rooms, wouldn't respond to a PM or if they did, it was usually to out the person in the public area, saying things like, if you want to talk to me such and such, do it here or not at all.
I knew if she did that, I would have been out of that room so fast and I wouldn't have gone back. Acute shyness creates or can be a result of low self esteem as in my case.
I'm sure I was holding my breath, waiting for her to reply and she did, in private and that was the start of a very special 14 year relationship.
She was in ever way that matters, my soul mate, we shared everything together. Our families are still close, we travelled between our respective countries once a year, to visit each other and went on joint holidays some times and twice a day, we would talk on the phone and EVERY day we emailed each other.
I was there for her when she lost her mum to breast cancer, she was there for me when I lost my beloved gran. We just eased each other through the grief by talking and talking and more talking.
She was there for me when my marriage broke down, although that wasn't so horrendous, it was more a case of when, not if. Her and her family helped me and my son get sorted, cos it's just what we did for each other.
In August last year, she wasn't well, she had had breast cancer twice and beaten it and I know it had a lot to do with her positive attitude to life. She had every reason not to be positive, she was 2 weeks off of getting the 5 year all clear from the first diagnosis, when she was told it was back, but she just took it in her stride and said, oh well, here we go again, Let's get on with it.
She was at the 2 year mark for the second bout, when she started feeling unwell, just generally. Tired, aching joints, her back was bad and she was breathless a lot. The oncologist said it wasn't the cancer, they didn't know what it was, but she kept rallying, coming good, then she would go down again, but through ALL of this, she never once complained or thought she wasn't going to be here for the long haul and neither did any of us.
In Oct, I was half a world away, when I got the phone call to say she had died, one of those pivotal moments in life, where you can say what you were doing or where you were when something important happens.
The shock and utter disbelief literally made my knees buckle, not one of us ever contemplated the fact that she wouldn't get better, all of us knew she wasn't well but we just accepted that she would need a long recovery time to get her strength back.
In hindsight, she hadn't been able to hold a conversation for about a month before then and the last email I got from her was August 17th, just a normal chatty letter, but I have since found three I sent to her that she never even got to read, cos she didn't have the strength to go to the computer.
Her truly amazing zest for life, obviously had us all in some sort of denial bubble about how sick she really was, how else could we all have missed it.
I am a one friend person, I don't socialise, I don't work cos I'm on disability, but when I make a friend, I am fiercely loyal, so what do I do now ? I so badly need to talk, but limiting myself to one close friend has left me vulnerable in a way I could never imagine.
I feel like I'm dealing with a double loss, I'm so overwhelmed right now and isolated. My family has been wonderful, especially my mum and one of my friends adult sons is so supportive and caring, just like his mum, but I can't keep unburdening myself to them.
My need to just talk is unfair on them and selfish on my part, one has lost a mother the other a dear friend also and yet they never make me feel uncomfortable, they always make time for me, but I'm holding back a lot, cos they have their own grief to deal with.
I never knew anything could hurt so much, I loved my gran, when she died, I had my friend to talk to and help me through and I don't remember it hurting like this, was that because I had that lifeline in my friend ?
Every time I think I'm starting to come good, some small memory will hit me like a freight train and I'm always surprised by the ferocity of anguish I feel. I keep forgetting things that should matter, I found a photo of the two of us and it made me smile, then all of a sudden, I remembered, that was only last year and like an instant down pour, I had all these memories of that holiday flooding into my brain, in the tiniest detail, none of which I had remembered until then.
I want to move forward and get on with my life, I want to do justice to the most wonderful person I've ever had the pleasure of meeting and live life like she did, like I know she would want me to. It just feels like such an unobtainable goal at the moment, what do I do ? where do I start ?
I can see her sweet smile as I write this and hear her say, just breathe and put one foot in front of the other, I'll be waiting for you, when it's time.
I'll always treasure the years we had, the memories we made and the love and friendship we shared. Thank you for always being there and for loving me as only soul mates can.