This may be one of my most emotional, soul-bearing posts to date, but also one of my most important. I keep writing and rewriting the beginning, striving for my words to truly captivate and convey all that sits in my heart. What I’ve realized, is that I am just going to rely on the beauty that sits in this story to tell itself.
In December of 2015, my life had fallen apart. I was heinously sick from Fibromyaglia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I had chronic, powerful migraines, severe gastrointestinal issues, was wracked with hideous all over body pain and struggled with a constant, overwhelming exhaustion. My weight had dropped to a mere 87 pounds and I had difficulty walking, or doing anything, unassisted. We were completely broke and struggling to pay bills; when just a few years before, we had been making plenty of money for a very comfortable life. I had become estranged from my family and my once full life now consisted of sleeping, crying, pain pills and Doctors. I was more miserable than I had ever been and in my once full heart, now resided anger, rage and resentment.
One day in December, my family and I were putting up our Christmas tree with the tiny amount of energy I had mustered. We were still trying to have a joyous holiday season, but the truth was, for the first time ever, I just wanted Christmas and all that went with it to be over. It was during our tree decorating that I received my first email from an eBay buyer.
I had listed multiple items on eBay, trying to raise money to buy our kids presents, when a buyer emailed me her first question. I responded and assumed that would be the end of it. Instead, numerous emails followed, with a buyer asking me a hundred questions about a doll I had listed for sale.
Now, not to sound like a horrible human being, but I have already described my physical state and mindset. So to say I was lacking in patience during this time, is a massive understatement. Normally, I would have become annoyed with someone asking a hundred questions over a $30 doll, but this time; this time was different. Numerous emails went back and forth, all the while we decorated. She asked a hundred different questions, in ten different ways and when she was finally satisfied, she purchased that $30 doll. After her purchase, she thanked me for being so accommodating and explained that she was struggling and had no Christmas in her heart this year. She went on to explain that her Daughter in Law had just been brutally murdered, three months before and that she had no interest in Christmas, this year, but was pushing on for the sake of her 3 year old Granddaughter that had been left behind.
In that moment, my heart broke. She had never said anything in her previous 100 emails. With the help of my kids, we packaged up her doll, but also included doll outfits, a stuffed dog for her doll and a matching umbrella hat, just to be silly. We swiftly packed it up and sent it on it’s way.
When the package was received, the buyer quickly emailed me to say that a horrible mistake had been made and that I must have inadvertently included someone else’s purchase. To which I explained that the presents were from my family and that I would be thinking of them during the upcoming holiday season.
But this woman and her Granddaughter and the woman’s Son weighed on my mind and hurt my heart. I couldn’t get them out of my mind and so I now emailed her. I asked her if I could make a doll for her Granddaughter that would resemble the girl’s Mother. It was certainly the least I could do in such a macabre time for these poor people. She sent me photos of the most beautiful young woman, gone too soon and worked with me to ensure that her tribute had the same eyes and hair as the woman in the pictures. Finished just in time, or so we thought, I overnighted the package and prayed it would reach them in time for Christmas; the doll dressed as an Angel. As luck would have it, the package was lost and arrived a few days after Christmas. When received, she quickly emailed me and told me the doll was perfect and looked exactly like her Daughter in Law. She cried and thanked me for such a beautiful act. At that time, I could never have foreseen what this magical introduction would actually come to mean.
The buyer’s name turned out to be Scottie. And what I thought would be a fleeting exchange blossomed into a really beautiful friendship. Scottie and I swapped over to texting and swiftly became good friends. It was unlike anything I had ever encountered before with an eBay buyer-almost preposterous. And as days turned to weeks, our friendship only grew.
Over the coming months, Scottie became one of my closest and dearest friends. We mourned together, laughed together, cried and got angry together. I had never met anyone so caring, loving and compassionate as this woman who literally fell into my life; aside from my beautiful best friend, Sue. For the first time, in years, I had someone to talk to that understood my pain, my rage, my resentment. But instead of floundering into all of those emotions, the love of this new found friend, instead slowly began to heal all of those wounds.
We talked about everything and anything. My kids, her Granddaughter, her family and husband, my Husband, cooking, cleaning and everything in between. It was as if, during that now sacred Christmas holiday, that God knew just what Scottie and I both needed; each other.
I had never met anyone like her. Twenty years her junior, Scottie became like a Mother to me. I had never experienced such unconditional love and support like what she bestowed. She cheered me on, advised me, held my hand and gave me back my will to live.
We talked about meeting, but with a seven hour drive in between us, we knew it was something we would have to wait on until I felt better. But we had plenty of time.
Then, one day in December of 2017, I got a text from Scottie saying she had been hospitalized with a blood clot. I was struggling that day, we had contractors replacing windows and I had a hairdresser coming. We didn’t text much that day, as I figured she needed her rest and I was caught up in my own entanglement of stress and anxiety over the window installers. By that afternoon, however, we caught back up and she confided in me that she was frightened. I reassured her and told her I would pray for her.
And then, as so very many times in the past two years, I told her I loved her. I thanked Scottie for saving my life and being one of my most beloved best friends.
The next morning, I came down to check my phone, anxious to see how she was feeling. Instead, what awaited me was a message from her Husband telling me Scottie had died.
I remember throwing my phone and screaming. I screamed endlessly and sobbed. It just couldn’t be. I kept reading and rereading the message and screaming even more. How? How could Scottie be dead? How could this person I relied upon for absolutely everything be gone? I NEEDED HER. I couldn’t live without her. Not now. Not sick like this. Scottie’s death has easily been one of the most profoundly painful experiences of my life. And as I screamed endlessly, wracking pain emanated from my soul. At 66, Scottie was dead. And ALL of that love, support, encouragement along with it.
Or so I thought.
I sat in my living room, curled into the fetal position sobbing, incosolable, when someone knocked at my door. Instinctually, before my Husband ever even got to the door to open it, I knew. Bri returned with a box. Just as I knew, it was a box from David and Harry and I recognized it immediately. It was the same box I had gotten the previous Christmas from Scottie. And in my Husband’s hands sat this year’s present from Scottie. It arrived precisely one hour after that life altering text. I knew in that moment, that Scottie was in Heaven and was okay. She was reunited with her Daughter in Law and her pain was now over.
So why am I telling you all of this? Because after our two years of texting, Scottie had pushed me to start writing. One month before that heartbreaking day, with Scottie’s encouragement, convincing and endlessly loving support, I started this Blog.
Our Blessed friendship had been one predicated on texting alone. I would tell her about my day or some typical fiasco, that always seem to accompany my life and she would laugh and tell me I was born to write. As time went on, she pushed me more and more and with her cheering me on, I decided to put myself out there.
I wrote precisely two posts, one of which Scottie quickly commented on and praised me endlessly. See, it wasn’t for me that she had finally convinced me to write. It was that she very strongly felt that I could help others suffering too, by writing about my illnesses. Despite the pain Scottie lived in, she was *always* considering others. Finally fraught with purpose and Scottie’s cheering me on, I decided that she always, always knew best.
In the gut wrenching months after her death, I told my Therapist that I was destroying the Blog. My heart couldn’t bear to write without Scottie. Thankfully, she talked me out of it and convinced me not to. You see, it wasn’t just the Blog that would have been destroyed, but that one and only comment from Scottie, on that post, that also would have been lost forever. Unconvinced, I half-heartedly agreed and completely ignored the Blog for a year.
See Scottie’s one comment here: https://fightingwithfibro.com/2017/11/13/blog-name-defined/
In the months and now year after losing Scottie, there is a deep, never healing abyss in my heart; a hole that will never be healed. I miss Scottie twenty times a day and have to stop myself, endlessly, from going to text her about one thing or another. I think about her endlessly and miss her with such furious longing and pain that I don’t think I will ever recover from it. However, Scottie gave me the gift of life back and that resonates equally as powerfully as that pain.
In the months that went by, after she died, I could never predict that her Husband would become one of my dearest and closest friends. My pain was only rivaled by his and I could hear Scottie begging me to hold his hand and take care of him. For her Husband was the grand love of her life. I made her the promise that I would always take care of him and her Granddaughter and I’m confident that I have kept that promise. The friendship of her Husband saved both of us in those ensuing months; our loss and the struggle to live again in a world without Scottie bound us. This time, though; I call him and we did drive the seven hours for her funeral.
I sometimes reflect, with heartbreak, that I never got to hear her musical voice or give her a hug that encapsulated all of the intense love I had for her. I lament the choices made that prevented me from doing so. But it’s hard to ever have any regrets about our friendship. In a time when we were both at our very weakest and desperate, we cultivated the perfect friendship that we both deeply treasured. It was exactly what we both needed at the time.
These days, I write not for me. I write for Scottie. I write for the people she assured me, needed to read my words. And I write for my 91 year old Godmother and Mentor, who struggles with her failing health and loss of independence. Scottie convinced me that there has to be a purpose to getting sick and I believe that purpose is in using what I have learned to help others.
At my lowest time, God gave me the most perfect, beautiful Angel to convince me to want to live again. He bestowed Scottie’s friendship upon me because getting sick is not the end all, be all, I once felt it was. Through the purest of love, Scottie gave me back my hope. The most priceless gift of all.
So every time I write, it is for her and it is for you. With every wonderful, heartfelt comment I read from you all, Scottie’s truth persists. No matter how sick I am, I still have a gift to give through my words. She taught me that if we have to live with the most impossible of situations, then you have to look for the good within them. Our suffering *can* have a deeper, more important purpose: to help one another.
I may never recover from the profound loss of Scottie, but I can always feel her, I can always hear her. She left me with the most beautiful gift she had to offer, a piece of herself.
So, as the title says, I don’t write for me. I write to carry on the memory of Scottie and I write for you. With each word that I type, a piece of Scottie comes shining through, in the hopes that I may one day give that same gift to someone else: The gift of hope and love.
Written in loving memory of my dearest friend, Scottie. Thank you for your unconditional love, friendship and the gift of everlasting hope. I will always love you. May I someday become just a shadow of the woman you were. ❤