This is a post I have wrote for an friend who passed away 1 month ago. I’ve been holding this in for a while but now I have to get it out.
Em and I never met in person but her life and death still had a profound impact on my life. We met through an online forum board I joined in 2007 for discussions about pop culture, fashion and makeup
The forum became much more than an Internet bored, it turned into a community. We had regular meet ups and supported each other through break ups, job losses and helped plan weddings and cheered birth announcements. We should share our personal and emotional problems comfortable in the knowledge that this was a hidden area away from our real life friends and family.
Like any friendship circle our disagreements would pop up and people would take breaks from the board. Eventually real life concerns started to take over and people started to drop away from the board. The moderators graduated university and got full time jobs and were unable to keep up with everything and the board was closed. This wasn’t the end of our friendship.
We were still Facebook friends and we got the daily updates of each other’s lives, people in the same states would hang out and real life friendship bonds were born. She happily announced her pregnancy and birth of her first child on Facebook then shortly after a private message popped up to let me know that Em had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. The group rallied together and we all gave money to buy her some flowers, soon enough the money pool surpassed a simple bouquet and we were able to put together an awesome gift pack of goodies which shocked and cheered Em up. She got through the cancer with her beautiful baby boy and husband by her side. She well and truly fucked cancer.
After the cancer Em pursued life to the fullest. She developed her photography skills and created a photography blog, posting lovely photos of her family and the things she saw in her day. Then in 2012 a happy announcement on Facebook that she was expecting another baby. During her pregnancy she won a Triple J contest to meet her favourite band Flight of the Concords. She had to answer why she was their biggest fan. She mad a t-shirt with an arrow pointing to her belly saying “Jermaine it’s yours”. I thought she was the coolest chick in the world and her husband was equally as awesome to be cool with her wearing that T-Shirt.
Then we got an update, Em had had emergency surgery and her son was born and she needed more brain surgery. The results came back and the cancer was back. My brain saw the diagnosis but my mind ignored the words. She was positive she knew she would #fuckcancer. I didn’t allow myself to consider the possibility of her death.
Just like the announcement of her pregnancies and cancer announcement her death announcement came via Facebook as well. Her husband updated her status letting us know she had passed away. I was on a train when I found and I started to cry. I got off in the city to go to a bathroom and sort myself out and messaged a mutual friend Rogue days. We met up and talked through her diagnosis and death and it was cathartic to get it all out.
Her funeral was a week later and I had just started university so I was unable to attend. Her husband knew the value of her online friendships and posted the funeral service online for those who were unable to make it.
I tried to control my grief because I had never met her in person so I felt that I had no right to be upset at her passing. Her husband and real life friends and family should feel the grief. It’s been 1 month and 2 days since her passing and I’m a wreck. I’ve been trying to control my grief and it’s all just resulted in 4 weeks of limited sleep and anxiety.
Today I’ve snapped and I’m allowing myself to feel grief at her passing. I’m allowing myself to cry today but from today I’m not wallowing in the grief. Em had a loud and vocal #fuckcancer voice, she lived her life post diagnosis loud and proud she would not want anyone to be mopping at her passing away. She knew that life is worth living and I’m adopting her attitude and living it.