Yesterday I learned of the passing of a younger man that had, at one time impacted me often with his humor, photography and life commentaries. I also knew, as did most of the people in the circle of online friends that we shared, that he had a dark and difficult struggle with OCD. He was a brilliant mind, and I have decided that the universe doesn’t seem to have room for too many of those, and when it reaches it’s limit, something must give, and this time, unfortunately, it was this soul that decided he was done with this world, and would rather have peace and quiet than daily struggles to cope with life.

Through this event, and the subsequent healing process my friends are now going through, we have had some interesting conversations. It’s sad how tragedies do that. One of the comments I encountered stated that S.R. himself would not wish us to be sad, but he would wish us to somehow find the humor in the event itself. There is no humor in death for me, but on the other hand, I have learned to see it a little differently than I used to. I see it as just another step in our journey, and I also believe that we enter and depart from this planet when we are meant to do so. I’m not sure I believe that there’s a “God who ordains these things” but I do believe there is a God who set a world in motion, and that this world follows some pattern, rhythm or reason that we are not meant to understand.

So, as it is, he decided it was his time to go.

All of the people that I know that also knew him are online friends, and it’s brought about some interesting thoughts on my part. I have only had face to face meetings with a couple of my friends from this ‘gathering’ place that brought them into my life. Still, as my emotions went on this roller coaster of thoughts yesterday, I settled into some beliefs.

First, I am very lucky, blessed, charmed or whatever you might label it to be, that I have found such rich and strong friendships online. For me, due to my own phobias and anxieties, the chance that I would ever pursue or develop as many ‘face to face’ friendships, is very small.

My hang ups are one factor that brought me into the internet world and the thing that has kept me there through various forums and formats. (My husband and I met A LOOOOOOONG time ago, on AOL 2.0. See, I told you it was a long time ago!). The internet is just part of my life, and it has been for many years. I have learned to treat people even better than I might face to face. I’ve learned to invest in certain friendships and I’ve also recently had to learn how to painfully end one of them. The thing is, what I learned yesterday, was that I’ve now had a permanent validation for what I’ve long thought.

For me, face to face time is not a requirement for deep and abiding friendships.

Thankfully it is not, because if it were, I would be even more alone and more lonely.

I am counting my blessings today, I’m thankful that fate or the gods or God has given me another day. I’m also sending a thank you to the many and sorted friends I have through whatever forum and method I met you. I have friends from Massachusetts to Oregon to California to D.C. to Michigan and all the way across the oceans.  You know who you are, and I hope today you are reminded of how very special you are to me.