I used to think that my consciously careful resistance to doing this was me stubbornly holding on. A refusal to let go of all those shed tears, after all I'm pretty sure I was crying for three straight years. If my tear ducts could've gone on strike, they would've. But it took the death of a presence to remind me, it wasn't all hard-headed Cancerian wallowing that made me keep those memories alive. I used to think that "arriving" at life or coming out "finished" was about getting it together. That the all-access pass came when you scored the trifecta of career/wealth, love/romance and family/friends. That one "becomes" when you join all the shiny, happy people you see in ads everyday, white teeth flashing even and perfect, bodies lithe engaged in that flawless life.
I had no idea. And it took a damn while to forgive myself for not knowing that.
For the uncurious who've not dared click on the Golden Venus' site, I have to mention she writes about astrology and attracts a wealth of diverse characters from all walks of life. It's not a support group website for the betrayed or quietly going insane, it's just really intelligent, amazing people from every part of the world engaged in a discussion about that most "controversial" of subjects the skeptical like to pooh-pooh. But inevitably, it off-shoots into meaningful tangents and whilst the interaction is virtual, I've found the company to be stunningly real.
As I hobbled my way through hell, I found people I never met and now, some of whom I have, extend their hands and hearts when mine were either too tired from crawling or too broken to care. Ms. Havisham sent me her Broken collection of essential oils out of the blue. The Taurean Alchemist found time beyond caring for five beautiful daughters to chime in and sympathize. Pegasus in flight would drop comments laced with a tantric spell or two in, and the Scorpalicious Robot, ever sharply insightful was factual yet supportive. There are so many others that it sometimes actually felt like standing in the Hall of Goddesses, each with her own gift and voice, weaving in to help me find mine.
Last month, one of those people, one of the pillars that helped hold up the sky for me, died. It wasn't until the Golden Venus posted about her death that I knew her real name. For years, we all knew her as Blue Libra. Flame haired, fire fighting, university teaching, fierce mother of two who dealt with a contentious ex, fought for women's rights and tried, tried passionately to keep love in her life. As is common practice on blogs and the like, real names are rarely shared and there is a space to virtual relationships that can either be abused or navigated respectfully.
We all live highly independent lives occupied by our roles and purpose which more often than not, leaves us with copious amounts of solitude or if surrounded, hardly the silence or time to actually think. Or even pee with the door closed. Being on the other side of the world, many of the Golden Venus' brethren are up at 3am when I was or am here alone and sleepless. You think I'd get any sense out of people I'd cultivated at a local bar? Hmm. A pickled liver more likely.
So when the news came, I remembered why I won't forget. If I give up all my memories of that terrible time, then I give up all the beautiful kindnesses these friends have shown me. As I read the post about Blue's death, I also realized the constraints of our sharing and wondered, was there anything that I could've said or done? Those nearer her felt the guilt more profoundly. There wasn't anything we could do but to remember her for her strength and her compassion. How well did I really know her?
We'd all formed varying ideas about who she was, each filtered through the lens of our own impressions and experiences. After all, we encountered each other in fractions. What can't be disputed is what she chose to do and give. I've always taken to heart the saying, Charity begins at Home. And while I never met this woman, or had tea with her, or rang her in the middle of the night for a seemingly aimless chat, for the time that she was there, she chose to count. She chose to make a difference to whoever needed it.
And for this, I will never see her as a stranger but as a friend. Anonymous, faceless, scentless, but there. I couldn't mimic her for fun if I wanted to, or associate a perfume with her hair, but I think I will always, always remember her in a movement of my heart. She passed out of choice yet I cannot tie her to that sadness. I hope she knows wherever she is, that as in life, I will only associate her with redemption. That as she helped me to my freedom, I continue to hope she has found hers.