I started making friends on the Internet a long time ago, long before I started a blog. There were two messages boards I found when I was pregnant with Declan through BabyCenter, one was for working mothers, and one was my birth board – meaning women who were giving birth the same month as me.
It was such an amazing time, where I was soooooooo over my head – reeling from the changes in my body and in my life.
Many of the women I met during that time are still my friends to this day. When I say many, I mean the number would probably approach 75 if I were to write out a list.
In particular, the ladies from the BabyCenter working moms board clicked. Like, a bunch of us. The conversation got so personal, we broke off and made a private message board of our own. One that is still active to this day.
The numbers go up and down, but it’s around 50 women, who chat daily about anything and everything. New babies, new marriages, new directions. We have shared our lives for a decade.
People come and go, check in elsewhere (like most of us are friends on Facebook now), but the core idea is there: Friendship.
A lot has happened to all of us in that time, good and bad.
When the good happens, we all cheer. We celebrate and laugh and hug – virtually, and in person, because there have been meetups, officially and spontaneously.
When the bad times happen – we rally.
We have a really bad time right now, and we are gathering the troops for Heather.
What Heather thought was back pain is pancreatic cancer. In a week, she’s gone from an active mom of two lovely girls to a patient with cancer that has metastasized into her liver. We’re getting information from her husband Scott, who most of us know, again, through the internet, and everyone is shocked. Shellshocked.
We went through this once before. Our Lauren had breast cancer, fought through grueling treatments, and we helped her every step of the way.
Not to say the group beat the cancer – that was Lauren. But we helped. I know we did. Lauren will tell you we did.
And we want to help Heather.
I can’t tell you exactly what is going down because Heather doesn’t know yet, and of course we want to surprise her. But I know she knows we are doing something. Because that is what we do.
I am BLOWN AWAY by the generosity of these ladies. And organization. And creativity.
It’s not just about money, although a lot has been raised in a short amount of time. And we’re not people who have a ton to spare. These ladies made Heather a priority.
The other things coming to Heather will mean the most to her. Things made with loving hands and thoughtful hearts. Not to mention the 50,000 emails in my inbox deciding exactly how to go about them.
The point is, motherhood may have brought us together.
Technology may have facilitated our relationships.
But it’s the love that makes us true friends.
Can I ask a favor?
As a person who has been in hospitals a lot lately, I can tell you they are lonely. You are not really in the mood for visitors all the time, but messages and people reaching out make you feel connected, less isolated.
I would sincerely appreciate it if you would visit Heather’s Caring Bridge Guestbook and leave her a message. You may not know her, but trust me – it doesn’t matter.
Go tell her to kick cancer’s ass.
I am incredibly heartbroken to say that Heather passed Saturday, September 17th, just under 2 weeks after any symptoms even appeared. From the messages pouring in, pancreatic cancer is really, really horrible and moves very fast. But usually not this fast. The only solace is that Heather did not suffer long. When I know more about things that I am sure will be done in her honor, I will post them. In the meantime, if you feel inclined, messages are still going into her Caring Bridge site. I know that Scott and their daughters would appreciate any love you have to share right now.