I woke up this morning, like any other day, ready to tackle the craziness of summer and the kids getting easily bored if they don’t have every minute of the day packed full of activities. Amelia, running upstairs after breakfast, breathlessly told me about a hole in our sunroom window. I followed her downstairs and stood, helplessly, in front of a window that, indeed, had a golf-ball sized hole in it. I couldn’t figure out what had happened. I should have known that this was a portent of the day to come.
My blogging friends have been a mainstay in my life for nearly eight years. It’s all of you guys who gave me my creative outlet after Jarrod was born. I was here, day in and day out, with three little kids who ALL needed diaper changes and entertainment and I found that writing and interacting with people on the internet was my saving grace. It helped me to keep my sanity. By summer, 2009, I was neck deep into blogging and ready to meet all of these amazing internet people face-to-face. I found myself on the road to Kentucky, to stay at the home of someone I had only met once before, to spend 48 hours with a crowd of people I had never physically laid eyes on. And it was glorious.
I met you there, Catherine. I hadn’t ever read your blog, but you had been writing, just like me. It was amazing to me how we all clicked. All of us, at Bliss Manor that weekend, we got each other. There’s a certain personality that goes online and shares their inner-most thoughts and secrets with the whole world. We are those people and we all got along fabulously that weekend. We all sang awful karaoke, drank more than we should have, and talked and shared. Dave was incredible in his guyliner, Becky drunkenly watched and cheered her Penguins to Stanley Cup victory, Britt tried out her selfie-stick, Hilly test-drove some new black hair, Marty did his Elvis impersonation, Karl promised us all eternal love and devotion, Brad sang, Liz mixed up sangria, and I sat in the middle of it all, trying to process how awesome all of you were. And there you were. You came with three other ladies, whom I had never met, all of you in your matching t-shirts. I didn’t know you, but by the end of the weekend, we were following each other on Twitter, friending each other on Facebook, and promising to do this again, soon.
I never actually saw you again after that, but we’ve shared many laughs on social media since then. We had similar tastes and opinions and you even bought one of Andy’s books.
And then you died. Suddenly, you were gone. The hole in my window mirrored the sudden hole you left in our circle of blogging friends. I looked down at my phone, in a moment of distraction, and saw our mutual online friends lamenting your death and I couldn’t believe it. Private messages flew, questions were answered and yet not, and I realized how fleeting not only life is, but also these 21st century relationships. We only met, in person, once. But I saw your wedding dress, I knew of your taste in music, your friendships, saw your pictures, read of your high points and your heartache. I walked at a distance, next to you, as you lived your life. And now, suddenly, you aren’t there.
I frantically looked back through all of the photos of those magical 48 hours in June, 2009, and in not one of them did we stand together, smiling. But that’s OK. Because I remember you. You made me laugh. You actually got Brad up on stage to sing a Journey song. And I’m glad I was there and got to know you.
We miss you, Catherine. Wherever you are in the great beyond, save a spot at the karaoke stage for all of us. We’ll see you at the next blogger meet-up among the stars.
Heather, Catherine was a friend and former co-worker and she was every bit as incredible as you have described. There is a hole in the universe tonight…
So beautifully written. It’s funny how, in those early blogging days, so many went a seperate way, never to be heard of again, but this core group of us have stayed so close for so long. In so many ways, it’s awesome and amazing and yet, when something like this happens, it just hurts and pains us all so much…because we’re family. We’re family by choice though and that’s what makes us all a very kick-ass group of middle aged adults who laugh, cry, drink, write, and now, mourn together. Until the next time Miss Catherine!! ❤
It’s amazing how many lives she touched. When I saw the name “Catherine” popping up all over my Facebook feed, I kept thinking it couldn’t be THAT Catherine. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. I hope she knew just how many lives she touched and changed!
beautiful tribute, my incredible friend. just lovely.
This is such a sweet tribute not only to Catherine, but to blogging as it used to be and the relationships that evolved from it.
Seeing all of these messages over the last day has been liking watching a middle school reunion or something. I know I couldn’t go back, but it has made me nostalgic for those days & moments that were so, so good at the time.