Several years ago another online friend of mine lost her child in a tragic accident. He was 3 and had gotten out of the house and fell on the cover of a pool. The cover had water on it from the winter and spring melt. He couldn't get out. At that time I was under a lot of stress at work from a co-worker who was out to make my life difficult. She made a HUGE issue out of me wanting to take 1 day off to drive to the wake and funeral. My coworkers were siding with her at the time (this is still a wound with me and my job). They didn't know how strong the relationship can be with people that you can't tangibly touch. They thought I was using it as a careless excuse for a day off. When I returned I informed him that 20 of us online friends made that 'careless' trip to support a friend who'd lost her 3 year old son. They have learned thru me how strong the bonds of friendship are regardless of the geographical location.
If I had the money for airfare for South Africa I'd be there for Jeannette. It doesn't matter how you make friendships. What matters is the depth of them, the open love, the caring, the laughs. If it's over a cup of coffee or an electronic line.. the friendship is the same... the pain is the same for their losses.. the sadness for not ever knowing quite what to do or say... but wishing you could be by their side while wondering. I wish I could be there for Jeannette.... since I can't, I'll write this and hope that she knows the depth of the caring it's written with. For those that doubt that an online friendship can be deep and true as a friendship started in the 'normal' manners - read this an know that our friendships online are as true as any friendship out there.
In Memory of Heather Moira McClelland Kirk
24th January, 1943 - 11th September, 2008