Yesterday, I lost a dear friend.
Livejournal brought us together, so it seems Livejournal is the best place to write about her. I'm having trouble finding the words. She was Laura, aka webwawa, and before that, I knew her as Laura_wawa. So sweet and sensitive and artistic; I knew right away I needed her in my life. We had mutual online and IRL friends, and before long, we had even more. Today, reading a hundred or so loving tributes to her on facebook, I realized how many of her friends came from the internet, and how special she made each one of us feel. Friends knew her from youtube, livejournal, Myspace, and even AOL, as well as cancer related communities. We all love her so very much.
She made livejournal (et al.) fun. She made art with her own unique aesthetic, indescribably cute (I'll try to find some to show you). She took pictures of caterpillars and moths, butterflies and ladybugs, bugs from her garden that revealed the beautiful and perfect nature of this planet. She was sunny, funny, and prolific, and made the Internet a happier place to spend my time. Twice I met her IRL, and it was if she'd always been there, in my life.
She was one of a kind.
About seven years ago, she was diagnosed with stage 3b/4 lung cancer. She was 30. I know I wasn't the only one who felt lucky when they found a drug that suppressed it, so happy to have her around. Last October, she fell down a couple of times. The cancer had reappeared, after all these years, this time in her brain, where her medication couldn't go. Emergency brain surgery proved successful, but last month, new tumors were found in different parts of her brain, and she commenced full brain radiation followed by chemo.
So it might sound strange that I feel like her passing was sudden. After all, she was dealing with this bear for a long time. If you could see how much life was still in her... She seemed to be doing so well in spite of everything, if understandably frantic to live as much as possible in case she didn't grow old. She got married only last June, and looked fabulously happy. Until two or three days ago, she posted to facebook throughout the day, from a family vacation on the coast, reassuring her loved ones with photographs and stories.
Then wham. She got sick, at a time when she had no immune system left. And this morning, I heard the news.
She wanted more time. She thought she would have it, at least a little more time; we all thought so. Her cancer and especially her treatments caused her countless forms of physical discomfort. She reported them in a way that educated and informed, then pushed on to live her life to its highest quality. She had years of travel planned. She wanted to live.
People are saying she's at peace now, her pain is over, she's in a better place. I understand them, and maybe even agree, but she was always at peace. Here, this realm, was the place she wanted to be. I can't help thinking she left us too soon.
My thoughts are with her family in a big way. Each time I read a eulogy by a friend or family member, I weep anew at how much they miss her, how much they long to keep her a little while longer.
I am grateful for every minute I knew her, grateful that she didn't leave when all this began. She will always be missed, and she will always be remembered. Happy travels, Laura McCracken.