Tuesday, April 26, 2011

lost at a distance

From Drop Box
I have been thinking a lot about the influence proximity has on friendship. I have friends in Florida and Arkansas. I have family in Chicago and Seattle. My heart is spread out all over the country and is fuller for it. I've never worried about distances between me and the people I care about. With unlimited minutes and texting, twitter, facebook, and emails, I've never felt disconnected. I worried more about my relationships being asynchronous than long-distance. I have finally hit a chasm that technology can  not carry me over even though it was the internet that led me here.

My friend died. She had been battling cystic fibrosis and her fight ended yesterday after a hard weekend. She was my guild leader, and even though I stopped playing WoW almost 2 years ago, I never stopped 'hanging out' with her. We sent each other text messages and emails and persistently ignored the gap between NYC and LA.

Now she is gone, and I feel that there is no one on the other side of my devices. My phone and my laptop use to act as a portal between us, but now they are a barrier to all of the emotions I am having and the actions I want to take. I can't hug her husband and tell him how sorry I am. I can't meet her family and explain how much she meant to me. I've heard about the ceremonies and memorials that people have had online for internet friends who have been lost. I've never doubted their value, but now I am questioning their success. I don't feel like it would be enough. I have been able to share my excitement and laughter with her without any trouble online, but now I want to be supportive, and I want to be consoled, and this medium that was a conduit for my happy emotions is hollow and cold now. I cannot create the comfort that I want by typing, and that frustrates me. I want to say, "I'm here for you," and "Please, let me help" but my location makes my words hollow and my involvement impossible at best and inconveniencing at worst.

Since I can't do anything that my heart wants to do right now, I am trying to find a new way, a virtual way, to say good bye and mourn. Hubby has set up a donation page to give money to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in memory of Piper: We'll Miss You Piper. What he said is beautiful, and it has made me cry most of the day. I haven't begun to be able to articulate any of those things. Hopefully when I do, I will be as elegant as he was.


Rathbone Images said...

Amanda, I am so sorry to hear about the death of your friend. I can imagine that it would be difficult to figure out how to connect and grieve when a lot of contact has been online. I think the Cystic Fibrosis tribute page is beautiful. I lost my mother to CF when I was five, but contributing to the research is helping people with this disease live longer and longer...

Amanda D Allen said...

Thank you Priscilla. I think the distance has also protected me. I was concerned when she would go into the hospital, but I was confident because all I knew was that she always came home before. I am sorry about your mother. Next time I see you, I owe you a hug.