A friend of mine died Friday night, it wasn't unexpected.
Marilee and I met 17 or so years ago on the AOL bead boards. Her username was "Patterner" - she was able to look at a piece of beadwork and could easily recreate it.
And she was knowledgeable about pretty much anything else as well. She was also disabled due to an unfortunate accident and a very rare reaction to a rather common pain killer.
We were more casual acquaintances than anything else for many years. The AOL community disappeared - AOL's doing - and we all moved on to a Delphi group. Other people from other forums joined, the group grew tremendously and I didn't participate much after an arm injury.
And then Henry died and another online friend put an announcement on that board. Marilee was one of a small group to send condolence cards and a special gift - beaded earrings. And she got in touch by email (she lived on the other side of the country so we never met in person) and was just there when I so badly needed somebody to talk to. She told me her story, her life hadn't been easy, but it's not my story to tell. In time, I didn't need hand holding so much but we kept in touch.
She was the first person (and one of a very small group) to read my blog and pretty much the only one who commented. I read her blog regularly and left comments and we emailed regularly.
Over the last couple of years it became obvious that her health was deteriorating and her blog posts dwindled. We were still in touch, but not as much as before. Our last emails were exchanged earlier this month.
When she didn't post anything new I started checking the comments on her last post and found out that she had been hospitalized and that she passed away.
There is a board where quite a few of her friends wrote tributes to her and I read those with great sadness. I knew she was a generous person and a kind one, but I had no idea how many people she helped in ways similar to me.
My life is fuller for having known her, but empty now that she is gone.
Marilee, you are greatly missed.
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