Monday, September 23, 2013

On the beauty + gift of online friendship...

On the beauty + gift of online virtual friends...and regret...

I was cleaning out a closet in my son's room today and stumbled upon a baby gift that I keep on the top shelf where no one can ever touch it. It is a little terry cloth rocket ship, sent to me by a friend that I never met in real life.
I knew her through work-when I worked in an office-way back in the day. I spoke with her on the phone several times a week, for a few years and she was hilarious, beautiful and amazing. She was smart, witty and so funny. Our friendship blossomed and we would chat outside of work as well. We would email constantly and we both had dial up internet. LOL. She was a friend. Eventually, our paths went a little differently-When I was pregnant with my son,  I was a very sick preggo. I  did not return back to work when my son was born. She sent me a thoughtful baby gift, which included this rocket ship. She was still working in the office and was pregnant with her second son in the summer. We would email each other all the time to pass the days. She would fill me in on everything I was missing in the company loop. She was ecstatic to be having another son. She was trying to decide between Benjamin and Nolan as his name...

She emailed me one summer morning and told me that she had a headache. She was about 9 months pregnant and so ready to meet her son. She also told me that she was invited to a 4th of July picnic and her headache was so bad, she did not want to go. She sent her husband and young son to the party with some brownies she made.
I told her to rest and take it easy. Her due date was soon and it was hot and miserable outside. She would be way better off in the A/C~relaxing. In my email to her-I told her how excited I was to see her new baby and to make sure I was on the email list from the hospital. Nothing special about the email I sent, but when I ended the message I had an unusual thought which popped into my mind. I was thinking whether or not I should put "I love you" at the end of the email. It was odd that I thought it at that moment and I debated it in my mind for a few seconds. This was a person I had never met in real life, but also a person that I spent hours a week with talking about little boys and our deepest dreams. She was an "online" friend and I was unsure if she would think I was a crazy person if I told her to relax, that everything would be okay and that I loved her.
I decided to not type those words. And I live with that decision.

I never received an email back from my beautiful friend and after a few days I started to send panicked emails and leave panicked messages. I eventually emailed a mutual friend we worked with and she told me that she would call me. I answered the phone-fully expecting to hear about how adorable this boy was and that they were settling in as a new family of four. I was not prepared for what I was met with on the line. My friend had had an infection. A bad one that had spread throughout her body and to her baby. That had caused her baby boy to die. I could not breathe. I could not move. I could not speak. I could not understand what was being said. I went hysterical and was screeching and asked this person how our friend was taking it. How she was doing? How she was coping? I could not process what had happened.
I was then told that this same infection had also taken the life of my friend. I cannot describe the pain of those words. There was silence. I cannot describe the knot in my stomach, or the tears streaming down my face as I type these words. I was told that the doctors and nurses were hysterical. That this small hospital had never had something like this happen.

Both mother and son gone. Both buried together forever. Tragic. Devastating.

And I live with deep regret that I did not tell that beautiful soul what I should have. I hesitated. I debated it in my mind. It was odd I had even thought of those words, but now I know it was for a reason. And I made the wrong decision.

I tell you this not to make you sad. I tell you this as a reminder to treasure those that mean something to you. Even your virtual friends. Social media and this virtual online world have changed the dynamics of how we interact with people. How we share our lives. It has changed the definition of friendship. There are a handful of ugly people out there, but so many more that are a gift. Cherish those that you find joy and laughter with. Treasure those that you can call a friend. I am so blessed and lucky to have so many supportive, loving and amazing women by my side from all over the world. I am honored to call them friends.

I hold this rocket ship in my hands..It has been played with by my sons. It is now discolored from sitting in the closet for years, but it is a gift that I hold dear to my heart. I hold it in my hand and I know that my friend held it once when she wrapped it up for my son. That brings me comfort.

Life is short, unpredictable and sometimes tragic, but also a beautiful adventure.

I miss Dina. I love Dina.

Anyone who took the time to read this to the bottom of the page-I love you. xo

Wishing you peace and happiness. And never miss the opportunity to tell someone you love them.