It's been said that only the good die young. That would be of cancer, it would seem.
In the last eighteen or so months, Judy has forged some brilliant friendships with folks around the globe.
Without cancer she would not have even known that almost all of these people even existed.
Facebook is a brilliant way to connect with old acquaintances, to strengthen current bonds, and also to reach out to like-minded and like-circumstanced people. Sadly, it also seems to be a brilliant way to get your heart broken.
Of Judy's connections, in the month or so just gone, Sharon: gone. American Chrissie: gone. Aussie Chrissie: gone. Kristy: gone. Melonie: gone.
"I'm having a bad run, aren't I?"
Melonie, and her hubbie, and her five babies. Bloody hell. Melonie's Bitmoji avatar looked like she and Judy could be twins, which brought her loss far closer to home.
Five babies lost their mummy.
She was just forty five years old.
Melanie loved giving everyone a laugh. She loved Facebook games like "Post a picture of yourself right now! No make up? No make up! Just now!" She loved life, and loved seeing it real.
And she was community minded. Some of her last acts were so selfless. She offered for people in her breast cancer community to send a photo to her, which she would emblazon with a Metavivor ribbon, then send it back for it to be uploaded as a profile picture. A simple act, but a bloody wonderfully meaningful act.
God bless you, Melanie Bannister.
And Kristy. She found the love of her life, and hewed out a wonderful life for her and hers in (sadly required) short order. They wedded, her at age thirty four, and shortly after she died a deliriously happy bride just several precious days later. She was certainly in pain, and certainly pissed off at experiences missed.
God bless you, Kristy Pittaway.
Sharon, always beaming. A beautiful grin that filled the hearts of others with joy just by looking at her smiling selfies. She was fifty three.
God bless you, Sharon Gay Nakamura.
Aussie Chrissie was always so positive, always with an attention to detail, and always so private. As part of their friendship, Chrissie was always in Judy's corner, and putting her back together when needed at times. But despite rallying for others I think her privacy was probably because she didn't want folks cloying, or for situations to be awkward, or for people to treat her any differently. Either that, or maybe that's just the kind of person she was.
"I know a girl feels better with her face on."
Chrissie sparked a regular exchange of Bitmoji images between Judy and I that continues to escalate. It started with her sending images of herself to Judy as a cartoon super woman, and now every time she sends one Judy thinks of Chrissie.
Her hope was that she and Judy would reminisce as old folks catching up and saying to each other "Phew! That was close." She was convinced that science is on the cusp of working this cancer shit out, reinforced by at one stage a doctor giving her three or four days to live, yet she powered on for another four years with the help of todays medicine.
She died at the unripened young age of forty seven. Her loss hit Judy hard.
Vale, and bless you Chrissie McConchie. You'll travel with us on future trips that you loved seeing us travel in the past.
American Chrissie loved her two girls so much. And she was a six foot tall Glamazon of gorgeousness.
Judy and she bonded over their big beaming smiles, and I'd reckon a love of shopping, too. Louis Vuitton bags. Visits to department stores.
For American Chrissie, money was no obstacle in fighting cancer. Many folks can't afford it, but armed with cash and keen intent she did things like have herself genetically tested to determine just the right chemotherapy drugs to have the best effect on what ailed her.
Sadly, she never got to try out any of the cool custom-fit drugs. The tumours in her liver just kept growing, and growing, and then she was suddenly gone at forty five.
God bless you Chrissie Metzger Yacullo.
All gone in around one short month. Fuck cancer.
"It's freaking me out, bub".
And another friend Laura? Beautiful Laura is still living large. But fuck it, it's looking increasingly desperate.
In the Facebook process of getting your heart broken, it does seem to me that you are supporting others in their time of most need, as they support you in your time. Whatever our time, and whatever we do, it is precious. And wonderful to be shared.
I love their experiences, and who they are. Or who they were. Their experience is knowledge. Their experience is tragic. Their experience is uplifting. Their experience is fear. Their experience is hope. Their experience is understanding. Their experience is love.
The thing about the experiences of and with others is that knowing them brings so many mixed emotions so close to home.
We hate that they, like Judy have to experience this experience. But we feel privileged to know them, and to have known them.
"Whether we accomplish nothing, or everything, I bloody love hanging out and experiencing things with you, my love."
For me, reminiscent of halving our problems, an experience shared is an experience doubled.
For those older than me, who may not be familiar with Bitmoji, it is an on-line service creating cartoon characters that can be moulded with features approximating one's own. Situations can then be expressed with a caricature of yourself. ↩︎