I didn't know you could get so attached to someone you met online. I was surprised to find out how much I cared. I should have known because I even care about characters in books. But I was still surprised.
I met Melisa on a COPD board. She was so friendly and upbeat and we hit it off right away. We kept saying that we could have been sisters because we like so many of the same things and we both have this cynical, kind of dry sense of humor.
I had resigned from full time work and was spending a lot of time at home a year ago. Melisa and I would meet up on Yahoo chat and spend time sharing stories and talking about our lives. Melisa is 42 and her FEV1 is about 12%. She has a husband and an 11 year old son. I thought life was unfair to me at 55, but at 42, well that's just cruel.
We found out that we had the same cell phone plan so we started calling each other. How cool, I'm in MA and she's in TX and we can talk free. (I'm just getting up to speed with technology.)
Last night her husband called me to say that she became very ill during the night and is in the hospital. He cried as he said they just weren't sure she would make it this time.
I have been feeling so sad and lonely since that call. I can't get anything done. The bad part of an online friendship is that you're not family, and you are not near, and there is nothing you can do to even comfort the family. I feel very fortunate that he even called me to tell me. I don't know when I'll get another update on her.
My daughter and I were talking today and I was telling her about Melisa. I guess I never mentioned Melisa to her before. I don't know why I didn't. She was quick to ask if I was okay. Apparently she has had an online friend for about 5 years. They have never met and she told me that she is closer to her online friend than some of the friends she sees every day, so she understood what I was feeling.
I have a new perspective on friendship now and it includes loving online friends even if it is hard sometimes to deal with the realities of not being closer, not meeting face to face and not being able to be there if they really need you.
I am praying for life for Melisa so that she can have more time with her young family. Amen.