Sorry in advance for the long response, I don’t want to try to take attention but there’s a lot to say because of the feelings this gives.
For one, there’s no proper selfless expression for the sympathy that one wants to express when another chooses to grieve and does so so gracefully. But if there were, that’d be here.
There also aren’t any words in any language I’m aware of that describe how your story feels. Something like melancholic but optimistic and moving, but not in the sense of “emotionally moving” — more like you and your reader are in pace together as it goes forward.
But the bottom line is, if there’s a modern-day love story and a modern-day journey for our generation, this could potentially be one. The concept of the online relationship that defines one’s life in hardship is a lot less rare than I think naysayers and anti-tech types would like it to be.
Those friends are hard to lose in their own way, because you meet each other as young, ambitious wannabes with common interests, and those traits are the common beats, while the things that make you different exist and string the space between those. It ends, and there’s a stillness, and you wonder what filled the air. And nobody else really gets it because they weren’t listening to the same thing all this time. I’ve had a friend or few like yours, and I’ve been that friend. And I’m absolutely sure a lot of people reading this have and have been.
A therapist told me after I broke up with an ex that losing such a close relationship is a tragedy worth mourning like a funeral. I hope you take that time to grieve and heal, and that writing this helped that process —and always remember to take time for yourself. Your work is excellent and so are you.