Monday, March 17, 2008

A year later

Somewhere in the midst of my mile-a-minute mind, there is a story half-written about how music changed my life.
It started with a concert. In the middle, there was the injection of a little joy and passion into an otherwise bland day-to-day life. In the end, there was turning around at the right time in an encore to accidentally meet a pair of blue eyes.

Near the beginning, there was also Sarah.

The petty details are that we met on a music forum, where her, I, Surfergrrl and others formed a close-knit group, serving as one another secret support network in our busy lives. We emailed one another many times a week for over a year, focusing on the most emotional to the most mundane. We spoke concretely of summer road trips and festivals together.

The important details are what made her shine. She was feisty like you wouldn't believe, standing up for us as vehemently as anyone, despite being hundreds of miles. She loved and cared more fiercely than anyone I knew, and was amazingly driven-- none of this more evident by the fact that she was an equine massage therapist, healing race and police horses through the power of touch, putting her passion into caring for animals like she did for those around her. She was hysterical, making me crack up by her descriptions of mishaps and how she negotiated interactions with crazy neighbours and stereotypical brother-in-laws. She was madly in love. She was just beginning her life.

A year ago tomorrow, I received an email from her husband.
I need to let you guys know that Sarah passed away on Tuesday morning. My beautiful wife, your wonderful friend, died in her sleep Monday night.

And that was it. Somehow, at 34 years old, someone so full of life was taken away in her sleep.

Despite being one of the most genuine and supportive people in my life, I was never even able to hug her once.

And even though I felt like I couldn't breathe, I couldn't figure out how to mourn.

Grief feels as though it needs expression, as though you need to shout how goddamn unfair it all is. But yet I didn't know how to express any of this to those around me, because I could already feel them judging me in advance, judging my grief as nonsensical for being based on a person I never even touched. I keep these online relationships private. I tried mentioning it to a friend, but she automatically assumed that since she had never heard me speak of Sarah before, she was just a casual acquaintance. Deadlines were knocking at my door, and I didn't want to have outline what had happened to professors and supervisors.

I didn't want to have to justify my sorrow.

And now, a year later, I still don't feel like I've properly grieved.

Yet, she deserves to be mourned-- this I know.

Which might be why I still feel my throat tightening and the tears pressing up against the back of my eyes as I write this.


Katelin said...

**hugs** and **more hugs**

Surfergrrl said...

Whenever I write our emails, I sometimes almost type her email in. I'll never forget how I felt when I got that email from Josh. It was like someone punched me in the stomach. I think she would be really proud at how fall of us have come and for sure she would join us for the great JJ reunion show in Vancouver. (we need to get Praia there!). I loved her witty emails. She was so funny. I think I will write Josh and email. And I do think online frienships are just valid as those in person. Sometimes I actually feel closer to my online friends. Maybe I able to open up more to them. RIP Zaria! We miss you!

Larissa said...

I believe that the grieving process is long and complex, with intense and calm seasons. I hope that you find ways to grieve in a way that fits you and what this friendship meant to you.

And yes, *hugs*

Anonymous said...

I've often thought about what would happen should our little bloggie circle change, if someone were to suddenly disappear. Would that change our dynamics? How would we respond? How does one grieve someone they've never met?

Many hugs, darling. This was beautiful, and treacherously sad.

the frog princess said...


Therapeutic Ramblings said...

I talked with some friends about this awhile back. and it really hit home how close we had become. We are college friends, co-workers, spouses, etc....and it really is an every day thing, which I've gained a great deal of support. I can't imagine losing one of them. :(

Stephanie said...

Just because you don't know someone in person, just because you haven't seen them face to face doesn't mean that they aren't special, that they aren't involved in your life. So sorry for the loss of your wonderful friend.

Chele said...

this is so heartbreaking and touching. Im sorry about the loss of a friend. Let your feelings out here, us bloggers understand. There are certain friends I made here who I now care so much for, and if they have a bad they i want to be there for them. Its hard for out ¨real life¨ friends to understand how words and correspondence can create such a bond of friendship.

Anonymous said...

that's so so sad. you've done her a great tribute to her memory with your lovely words today.

Hope said...

I can't even begin to imagine what it feels like to lose a friend. But this was a beautiful post. Thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

Oh that's terrible. She does deserve to be mourned. We're all connected even if we never have the chance to meet. :)

benjibopper said...

i guess the online friend is still a new enough phenomenon that a lot of people really don't get it. but for those of us who have met people this way, it is far from 'virtual', and your loss is very real. as larissa wisely pointed out, grieving is long and complex. you are mourning her, and honouring her, in the best way you can. i'm sorry for your loss. this post made me cry.

Chantico said...

I'm so sad to hear about the loss of your friend. I hope today that through these posts you realize that you are giving her the honor of a wake-people are taking time out of their busy lives to recall and appreciate someone important, even if she was someone they (or I) personally never knew. Today she is touching lives through your openness.

My thoughts are with you-and with Josh, wherever he may be-I'm sure his grief is incalcuable.


Deutlich said...


I can't tell you how much I understand that bond that's formed between fans of a band/group/musician. I have many, many friends whom are extremely close to me that I met through music forums and this truly touched my heart.

Anonymous said...

there is a woman that i am friendly with online and last year, she lost her baby. i found myself grieving at her loss and tears forming whenever i thought of her saddness. i didn't know her in "real" life, but it was as important of a moment as if i had.

thank you for sharing this.

Michelle & the City said...

i can't even imagine what that must have felt like. i wish i could hug you.

Tina Vaziri said...

That's so sad. It's good that you can talk about it here. Many hugs

WiscoBlonde said...

Lots of hugs!!

Beth said...

I hope you did let those tears flow. They need to come and you need your grieving time.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Grieving is difficult and I feel the same as other people that online relationships are just as valid as "real" life relationships. I met my best friend online. Strange, but it's very real.

eric1313 said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Princess. I understand; I think I would feel the same way about many folks around here.

Still dealing with the loss of my aunt, too. It's just not quite real, you know? I often think about what she might say or do about any given subject. Then I remember. It can be very upsetting, but you know what? As crazy as it sounds, I just imagine what new thing she might say. My uncle Keith, her husband, told me that he feels her lay down every night in bed after he does, and that she's still very much there every day, watching over him and all of us. And I have to agree. I carry her in my own soul, and it helps deal with the reality of such a profound loss.

Grieve in any way you see fit to do so, my friend. We're all here, and can be counted on to read/listen to whatever you have to say. Anyway you want to say it. Nobody here would dare judge you. And if they did, I'll slay their blog on their home turf!
Going to try and porch party at the Butterfly later. Drop by and jam/rant/freestyle if you want to. Or if nobody's there, leave a few lines and we'll add to them. Anyone's invited to add to the brew, but I figured I ask you once more, just so you know you're invited. If they're good, we'll do something with them, or you can always take them and post yourself.

Peace and love to you from everyone, sista. Your friend has a wonderful home inside you and all of your friend's hearts, so let those tears be tears of joy for the girl that you've made immortal by remberance.

"...and when [he] has brought forth and reared this perfect virtue, he shall be called the friend of god, and if ever it is given to a [man] to put on the cloak of immortallity, it shall be given to [him]."

--Plato, the Symposium

eric1313 said...

Oops. Missed a [he].

I hope this one's appropriate.

Besides--it's always cool (in my own twisted geektown bizzaro world)to quote Plato, even if he in turn is quoting Socrates. (or so he says)

nicoleantoinette said...

This is heart breaking and you are strong and wonderful. Not that this online hug can replace the hug you never got, but... *hug*

Anonymous said...

I keep coming back to this post, thinking that *now* I might finally have the kind of response you deserve. But I don't. This was heart breaking. So touching, and made me very sad for you.

I definitely count internet friendships, they're some of the best I've ever known. Like you, Ms. Pointful. You are one of those people that, when I think about them, I'm just amazed by how cool you are, how smart, and what a great friend you are. And that you've chosen to befriend me. I think we have some friends in our lives to teach us something, and you, my dear, teach me something new every day.

You're truly amazing. I think we all have to find our own way to grieve. You'll find it, and just by remembering her is something amazing.

Lisa said...

I'm familiar with the feeling. I'm really sorry you're going through this. Sending you many, many hugs.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

I get the same thing whenever I talk about bloggers off-blog; That deer-in-the-headlights kind of bewilderment.

That's a really sad story.

But touch isn't always physical, right?

Damsel in Digress said...

Oh PP.

I am so sorry for your lost. Because yes, it is your lost too. You lost someone that, very apparently, you cared about so much and knew so very well - even if there was no face-to-face contact. I think if anything can be learned by this - it's that there needn't be that to truly connect.

How else can we explain all of these amazing connections many of us have formed just by our blogs?

Your post is so beautiful and poignant. The part about your difficulty to grieve because of the circumstances just really broke my heart.

So much love your way.

HippieChyck said...

we're in a weird, new, uncharted era eh? i, too, have "met" people online who have proved to be important to me. more supportive, perhaps, than some of my real life friends. but no less real.

i'm sorry for your loss.

Yoda said...

Its odd that we both talked of bloggers dying at almost the same time. Yeah, I wouldn't know how to react if anyone I knew online died. I would feel tremendous guilt for sure for never making the trek to go see them. I have no clue as to how the grieving process would be like. No more blog posts? No more returned emails? No more casual banter on gchat?

Ant said...

It's all about attachment - grief for a friend is perfectly understandable and that comes from the emotional connection.

I think I might have said this before but you do seem to have more than a regular dose of exposure to this kind of pain. I'm really sorry this happened - be sad but remember the good things about her...

lisachelle said...

i wish a hug for you.

your memories are the best tribute you can give her.

Marcheline said...

This is the third new blog I've tried out tonight, and the third (in a row) post about grieving that I've read.

My father died on Valentine's Day, and I'm having a really hard time with it. It seems the blogmos is tuning in to my frustration and connecting me with others who are grieving and not sure how to do it.

Hugs to you, even though I don't know you. We're all in this together, whether we get to meet or not.

- M