As Seasons Turn

It’s been months since she began her courageous online writing about the slow attrition of life in her husband, a body host to cancer no longer checked. She’s worn her heart on her sleeve, their challenges made public with the ups and downs of treatments that work for a time, delaying the inevitable we all will face at some point as seasons turn in our own lives.

I have been in awe of the clarity of her voice, always a writer and artist, there are no imperfect words or mismatched tones in what she layers onto the screen uploading herself, post by post, to her website. She hasn’t muted her own response as she watches his body and mind filter out of their remaining time together, even as she documents the science of life-altering treatments and their impact on him — and her. It’s hard to read her words in silence and absorb each paired image, an illumination of the sadness and love that holds them close now.

We women around her, some closer in distance than others, interact in online spaces rather than in a physical room, reaching out to offer our own public and private words and images. We gather in our Internet caves and around virtual campfires. Even though we are long past living in tribal lodges, our care for her has the feel of the deep empathic instincts of the family of women across time. We reach out to touch and comfort, offering ourselves as we share in some small way the burden of pain and impending loss. It’s as if what we do to grieve together is as much a part of our DNA as a mother’s response first to the cries of her own baby, and then to anyone’s infant in distress.

Some say that relationships aren’t real in virtual worlds. As I write tonight, I beg to differ. I am touched deeply by her words, her images, her agony, and her strength. I know the circle of women who gather together feel that, too. We reach out not just to support her but to find each other. She us reminds in the night that humans are fragile creatures even as our bonding together transcends where we exist in space. We offer what solace we can in online words as we journey through nights together. On one of those nights, I was reminded by the moon that rises above all of us that life continues even as the seasons turn for those we love.

I watched the moon high in the sky at twilight and you were on my mind.. I am so moved by the romance in you as you help him on his way .. His soul is lifted by you .. .. Held up to the moon and stars above …. A healing gift from you to him .. To fly.

I’ve learned to value relationships found and developed at the edges of virtual watering holes. Her words cast into cyberspace remind me of that every day.

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