An online friend who frequented a mental health group that once was my lifeline has died. She died last year, but I only found out this morning. I feel incredibly sad. She was easily the kindest, smartest, and most compassionate person I'd ever met on that group. As you can imagine, a forum on mental illness can get kind of hairy. The flame wars were endless. But there were many people I found healing, from the caustic, funny ones to the gentle ones to the ones who seemed to have a Buddhist nature. My friend was funny and gentle and quite Buddhist in her approach to life. She was no placater, though. She could call it as she saw it.
Besides sad, besides the little hole that knows an amazing person is gone, I feel a bit ashamed. Because I never met her in person, it is very easy to simply filter her life through my own. I didn't know her family or her friends. I only knew her through her posts and emails, which, when it came to me, were always supportive. Me me me. It's easy to forget she was more than her correspondence. That she was 3D, not 2D. But then, everyone we lose feels like we lost a little piece of ourselves. Or a big piece, of course. With my friend, it is necessarily little, as I never got to know her from all her angles. But I still cried this morning. I couldn't help but cry.