I just got word that a very good friend passed on a few days ago. She had been valiantly fighting cancer for several years, doing her best to both overcome the disease and not let it stop her from living her life in the meanwhile. There was even a happy period when she seemed to have succeeded and to be cancer free – how happy we all were.
But cancer is an insidious enemy, and in the end could not be defeated.
What is strange, though nowadays it seems to be more and more common, is that although I really considered her one of my best friends, we never met in person. We met on the internet, and all of our friendship, discussions, exchange of opinions, support, commiseration, and celebration, was carried on on-line. One of my wishes was to at some time be able to meet her face to face; this will never happen. But I never had any feeling of knowing her less well, or of her being less of a friend, than people that I see frequently and can shake hands with. The opposite was true, I think that we had a deeper and more serious relationship than I have with many of my “real” acquaintances.
What a strange world we live in, where our best friends are virtual. But, if we really think about it, until not so very long ago, many deep relationships were carried on for years through writing letters. Remember those? Waiting for the mailman to come and bring the next chapter of the adventures of our friends? And those were the days of real letters, pages and pages of information, not the shorthand of email…
Most of my dear friends, and especially those that I value so much but that live so far across the world that I might never actually get to meet them in person, I have met through the dogs. Through lists, groups, people that expressed interest, photos on line, and many other possibilities, but always having in common the love and passion for dogs that develops into friendships that expand to many other interests and activities. Friendships that continue for years and years, as there are always things we have in common and that we can “talk” about.
For Habibi and all of the other four legged friends, all this sitting at the computer and concentrating on incomprehensible words on the screen is impossible to understand – running around and chasing a ball outside would be much more fun. But I really have you to thank for being responsible for my participation in this world that is so fascinating and contains so many wonderful friends.
I deeply miss my friend, and can only believe that she is at peace and accompanied now by all the four legged companions that enriched her life and brought us together. Rest in peace, Sally. We will meet face to face sometime at the Rainbow Bridge…