I'm going to start by saying that life isn't fair. This is a universal truth. Life isn't fair, there is no such thing as a just world, and there is nothing out there looking out for us except for us. The "us" is important. "We" is important. You are important, I am important, because there's no one else. We are responsible for any sense of fairness or justice in this world. Some people you meet will let you down. But then there are the people who never, ever do.
I lost one of my best friends this weekend. I've known her since high school. 13 years of friendship. And I want you all to fully understand what this meant, because my junior high school experience was awful. I was coming home from school crying on a weekly basis. I went to school with the people in the neighborhood, who went to the same church I did. You have to understand that there was no escaping these people. My mom found the solution - she enrolled me in a new high school one town over, to give me a fresh start. And I met my friend there, who instantly welcomed me into her circle of friends, many of whom I'm still in touch with today. She saved my high school experience. She strengthened my college experience when I was still living relatively close to her, even though we were going to different schools. And after I moved to the other side of the state, only coming back once or twice enough to visit, we were still very close.
Somehow she died in her sleep on Saturday night, after typical Saturday night activities - movies and games with friends, with plans to meet Sunday night to watch more movies, or maybe some episodes of Psych or Supernatural.
But she didn't wake up the next morning. And I don't know why. No one knows why. I keep hearing "natural causes."
When there aren't any other legitimately horrible things to talk about, some opinion columnist for some newspaper or website will write something about how the Age of the Internet has destroyed the concept of personal connections, or has eroded investment in our relationships, or has fatally wounded our ability to communicate with each other. They argue that somehow our presence in each other's lives is diminished because we're not sitting at our writing desks each week, carefully penning missives in elegant script so that we can drop them off at the post office, where our intended correspondent is anxiously awaiting its arrival, eager to read out portions of our perfect letter to her friends to give them news.
Because my friend is everywhere. She's still listed in my current Draw Something games. It's been eight days since she last played. She's all over my Facebook page, in the pictures that we took of good times together. In the pictures being uploaded and shared by her many, many friends in a shared experience of grief and tribute. She is all over my movie collection, because some of them she bought me for Christmas or birthday gifts, and even more of which we had a mutual appreciation. She and I waited in line to see all three installments of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, before the advent of reserved movie theater seating. She arranged our viewing of The Hobbit last year, and we made plans to do the same thing this year. She's all over my book collection, because some of those books spent time in her custody. Some of those pages were turned by her, some of those folds in the top corner of the pages were creased by her. I hated it when she did that.
She's in my informal list of things to remember, because I owed her $9 for a movie ticket from when we saw Monsters University together a few weeks ago. Our last text conversation is nothing but a series of quotes from Mystery Science Theater 3000, because sometimes we'd get into these contests to see who knew the most funny lines.
I doubt there's anyone here who would argue that the means of communication somehow makes that communication meaningless, or less worthy of other forms.
The "Age of the Internet" doesn't make this hurt less. It doesn't make her any less of a true and loyal friend. She was the kind of person who loved everything and everyone, and the world is poorer now that she's not in it.