Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Unsaid

I didn't get to say goodbye to my friend Leslie, who passed away unexpectedly on Christmas Day.

Leslie is the wonderful, kind stamping friend who adopted Bobra. If you don't know that story, stop reading now and read this post before you go on so you know the kind of person I'm talking about.

Leslie is the friend who was almost always the first person to comment on every one of my blog posts.

She's the friend who was at the center of our little Twitter community that started more than 8 years ago. She was the most faithful tweeter of the group, and always hopped on to tell us good morning before she headed out for work. We had the greatest conversations in this group - funny, thought-provoking, and full of art and wonder (and a little complaining about work and award shows too).

We were early Twitter adopters, and so we lived through some things that modern Twitter users don't have any experience with. The crazy spammy robot accounts that we were reporting hundreds of times a day - and even that was a bonding experience and grew our community when people popped in to say "me too!"

There used to be all these outages too and also a tweet limit, at which point you'd go into timeout for a while. We called it Twitter jail. Leslie and I worked together as beta testers for Tweetdeck - which was our favorite Twitter dashboard by far - it made this sweet little birdie tweet when there was a new tweet from a friend, and it provoked a Pavlovian response in all of us - it was a joyful thing to know that one of our circle had something to say. It is such an interesting group of people.

We became very acquainted with each other's routines. So acquainted, in fact, that one time when Leslie got really sick when she lived in Maryland that we all actually found a way to notify people near her so they could check on her.

We grieved with her over the loss of her sweet cat Koshka. We loved her pictures from the farmer's market where she sold her cards - gorgeous veggies, all the dogs that came by - just such a great slice of her life that she shared. People who dismiss social media as trivial haven't had the joy of those real connections we all made that made our friends seem not quite so far away.

 We set up tweet-ups, where our little circle of friends started to meet each other. We joked that the only way any of us would believe that any of the others were "real" was if someone we'd met in real life had met that person. So my friend Mary Dawn, Angelique and Leslie had all met. My friend Bunny had met Leslie, as had our friend Patti Backer. I had met my friend Patsy in Florida, but none of the others had, so only the people I'd really met could count her as real, and so on.

Leslie and I talked about how once the two of us finally met - after a 7 year friendship - then the entire circle would have a first level connection to all of the others. It was just meant to be.

And I'm so incredibly grateful that it finally happened last year. Leslie had moved from Maryland (with Bobra in tow) to Dayton to care for her father after she retired, and became part of an incredible group of crafty friends in Cincinnati who get together a few times a year just to stamp, and laugh, cry, eat things that are bad for us, and do all those things that we stampers all do. She was kind enough to include me last year. When I saw her at the airport - it honestly was like we had known each other in person the entire time. We already knew so much about each other, and we fell in together like people who saw each other every day. We went to her house for a visit with Bobra, during which I cried, of course. PS - it's hard to take a selfie with a cat.





That is the most special little kitty in the world, and our friendship had even more meaning because of our connection to that crazy cat.

She absolutely hated having her photo taken, but at this special event, every now and then we could convince her we needed a private selfie just for our memories.  I'd never have published this before, but I think she'd let me now.


Leslie, me, Jennifer bringing in boxes of stamps.
 
Pin It

There was no one who loved a random act of kindness more than Leslie. Even in the days before her death, we were plotting a few together. And she never wanted to be thanked for any of the millions of generous, kind things she did for people. She just wanted people to be comfortable and happy.

Everything she did, she did with an incredibly charming mix of humor, snark and kindness.

She was a challenge addict, and was an incredible host of many of our Splitcoast challenges, and a participant in many more.

When I saw her again in April for a crafty get together, she described (with joy) some of the things she had done for people who played in her sketch challenges. She was SUCH an encouraging person to new stampers, or cardmakers who lacked confidence in their skills. If you needed a boost, Leslie was your girl. Also, if you needed a really smart-assed and hilarious card, she was also your girl.



In the days before she died, we talked about normal, everyday things.

The things you talk about if you don't know that just around the corner, suddenly, there's a place where you won't be able to tell her the other things.

Like that you were so glad you were friends. That your life was infinitely better because she was in it. How you were so grateful to her for all the nice things she'd done for you, and especially for all the great people she'd brought into your life. How the fact that she took Bobra was one of the things I treasured most in my life, and how it made me happy every time she posted a photo of him. How I loved the way she talked about her sons, and how the way she busted into a big smile every time she mentioned them made me want to cry. How amazed I was when she taught me how to store the blending foam under the Distress Ink minis. How I loved how sweet she was if I needed to borrow something from her. How worried I was about her the weekend she was sick and stopped tweeting. How I'd be happy to do anything she needed me to do, any time, any where if she'd just asked. How completely broken hearted I'd be if I woke up one day and she was gone.

You know. Those things.

Loveyameanitbye.

66 comments:

  1. It has been a sad weekend thinking about a world without her in it ... and then I smiled because my world was certainly made better by knowing her.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh Lydia....this is beautiful :'( Thank you for introducing me to Leslie. I have a giant snarky sized hole in my heart.

    ReplyDelete
  3. love ya. and her. lots and lots.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You hit me in the feels. Leslie was a special lady, but don't forget, you're a very special one too. Please, I want to hear that Bobra still has a home. You know I love ya - nothing unsaid, right? I hope my Dad finds Leslie - they can plot amazing shenanigans together!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Im so sorry Lydia.. your story of who she is is beautiful, and made me cry, for you and her friends and family.. what a loss...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hugs and prayers being sent your way - sorry to hear of the loss of a very special friend.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I didn't know her but reading this I sure wish I had but then I'd be as devestated as you all right now and I'm not sure I could handle that. So blessed how amazing this community is and I love hearing about the special friendships that are made every day because of it. Much love to you and so sorry for your loss. *hugs*

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a beautiful, beautiful slice of real life... My heart hurts for all of you who love her... Love you, LLW!

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a beautiful, beautiful slice of life. My heart hurts for all of you who love her. Love you, LLW.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm so sorry for your loss and for all of those that knew her and were her friends. She sounds like a great lady. <3

    ReplyDelete
  11. Such a beautiful tribute to our crookedstamper. She will be sorely missed :(

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am so sorry for you loss, Lydia. I am glad you wrote this so we could get to know a little bit about your sweet friend. Hugs. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  13. My heart hurts for you Lydia! You have such DEEP love for others that knowing you are hurting is SO HARD to think of! What a beautiful woman I never knew, I know she was special, you blogged it! I love you Lydia and Thank God for giving you to me for a friend!

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is perfect. I love you. ♡♡♡

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm so sad for your loss,yet so happy that you had such an amazing friend if even for too short a time.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Recently I learned our life is like a parade. Some people see it from beginning to end, others see glimpses of it, others hear how beautiful it was. Your friend, Leslie sounds like her parade was beautiful and full of love. You are blessed to have been a part of her parade... and you will carry her with you. Bless you Lydia for telling others of your friends loving and sharing and caring parade. Love ya chica.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh my, I had no idea that Leslie has passed. This is a shock to read. I was a follower of her blog. Thank you for letting me know. I am so sorry for the loss of such a close friend. Please accept my deepest sympathies.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I didn't get a chance to meet Leslie. All I know, she was helping Tina packing for our card drive. I wish I had met her. From your story, she must have been a very special person. And, I am glad that Bobra found a place already.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Such a wonderful tribute, thank you for sharing. We met on Twitter, through conversations I had with Lisa. I'm so sorry for your loss. What a kind, talented, generous and oh so funny person she was. Miss her.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Lydia I'm so sorry for your loss. I followed Leslie's blog and loved her farmers market images too. May your happy memories and God's love sustain you through your grief.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Sending lots of hugs - love you. . . .

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a beautiful and true testament to a lovely friend...I miss her :(

    ReplyDelete
  23. I am sad to hear of Leslie's passing. Though I don't think we ever met, she commented quite often on my blog, and I felt we were part of the same community. You are so right about the social links we forge online. I know my life is far richer for the friends I've made in the stamping and the knitting communities. Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'm so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to Leslie.
    I wish that I knew her, and now I feel as if I do.

    ReplyDelete
  25. <3 so sorry, my friend. She's the only other person I've heard of with a cat named Koshka. Big hugs.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I knew I was going to cry before I finished reading this. But it wasn't a sad cry. One of joy. What a tribute to a friend.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. Through you we have a glimpse of Leslie, the person she was, and the friendship you shared. Hugs and Prayers!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I'm so sorry for the loss of Leslie. Your tribute is heartwarming and a very real reminder of the special friendships and connections that we have with our cyber friends. Hugs to you and Leslie's family and friends.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Oh so very sorry to hear this Lydia! What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful person!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So very sad, Lydia. I know you are missing your friend like crazy. Life goes along beautifully, then, wham! But, I'm betting she just wants you to get through your grief as soon as that's possible and think of the fun times and great memories with her. Sweet hugs to you.

      Delete
  30. That's a lovely picture of Leslie. Thank you for this beautiful remembrance. From Leslie's cousin Robbie.

    ReplyDelete
  31. What a terrible loss for you and so many others! She sounds like such a great person, and I wish I could ease your pain. Hugs and love and prayers for you and her family and Bobra! Anne

    ReplyDelete
  32. I'm so sorry for your loss of such a special friend. She certainly touched many hearts and will be missed by everyone who came to know her.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Oh so sad. So sorry for your loss x

    ReplyDelete
  34. Oh, Lydia, I am so sorry, and I am so touched by your words and your friendship with Leslie! What a precious woman who truly touched you so deeply and many more. What a truly beautiful woman and life. Sweet hugs, my friend! You are dearly loved!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Beautiful post, Lydia! Thank you for the peek inside your friendship with Leslie. She will be greatly missed! Sending hugs💗

    ReplyDelete
  36. I'm so sorry for your loss, Lydia. Your blog about her was very touching.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Absolutely perfect blog post, Lydia. You said what so many of us are thinking and feeling. "Those things" are exactly what's been tearing me up the past few days.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I am so sorry for the loss of your treasured friend but also glad to read that the moments you had together were so special and memorable- even in the regularity of life. My love and prayers to all of you mourning this special lady xo

    ReplyDelete
  39. Lydia, I'm so sorry for your pain in missing Leslie - with artistic gifting you've painted a beautiful picture with love and words of a beautiful, big hearted person who will be dearly missed. You - and Leslie's family including Bobra - are in my thoughts, my friend, xx

    ReplyDelete
  40. So sorry to hear...this is a beautiful post. Lots of hugs

    ReplyDelete
  41. I am so sorry of the loss of your friend...you wrote such a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to her. She was very lucky to have you as a friend, as well. Please keep us posted about Bobra if you can. I've felt sad all day since reading about Leslie..but my heart goes out to not only her friends and Family, but to Bobra..Always sad when a kitty losses his beloved family member.

    AND to RETIRED I loved what you said about Life being a Parade!! So true.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Lydia, I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute. She sounds like an amazing person and I can see why she meant so much to you. It also seems that you were a big part of her life. I hope that gives you comfort.

    ReplyDelete
  43. As you know, this is a devastating loss...so sad. I'm in tears but your tribute to Leslie is beautiful. It is my belief that she knows how much she meant to you. So sorry for her absence in your life, hopefully those treasured memories of her will bring you comfort.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Glad to have learned about this precious person today. ((((hugs))))

    ReplyDelete
  45. Beautifully written post. I commented on the sweet photos on FB before I realized. (((hugs))) You are in my thoughts as well as Leslie's family.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Indeed, a beautiful tribute, Lydia. Thanks for it. Hugs to you at the loss of your friend. Your group was lucky to have each other; I know you all will miss Leslie.

    ReplyDelete
  47. those who love deeply grieve deeply. i'm sorry for your loss.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Replies
    1. Oh Lydia, so sorry for your loss of such a truly great friendship. I read your post with a lump in my "froat". You have written a beautiful loving tribute to your friend, Leslie
      Nice picture of you with Bobra too. Thank you. What a dear kitty.

      My thoughts are with you,
      Shirl

      Delete
  49. Gosh it's been quite some times since I chatted with Leslie. :( One of the many things I'll always remember is that she was ALWAYS right there to lend a helping hand or answer any crafty question. As a new crafter at the time, I appreciated her time. Rest in Sweet Peace Leslie!

    ReplyDelete
  50. So very sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you and all your mutual friends in real life and cyberspace.

    ReplyDelete
  51. So sorry for your loss, and thanks for a beautiful tribute to your friend. I enjoyed her blog.

    ReplyDelete
  52. I'm so sorry, Lydia! Such a wonderful tribute to a lovely lady.

    ReplyDelete
  53. {{hugs}} dear friend. Because I feel like you are, even if I haven't met you in person. :) I can tell that Leslie's loving and giving spirit have found a home in you, just like Bobra found a home with her. I am so thankful for you!! ~ Tricia

    ReplyDelete
  54. I am so sorry to hear of your loss....such a beautiful tribute to her. I didn't know her very well, have seen her lovely cards on SCS though.
    It is never easy saying goodbye. Sending hugs and prayers.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Beautiful... (wiping tears) thanks so much for sharing about her beautiful life. xx

    ReplyDelete
  56. what a beautiful tribute...so sorry for your loss.

    ReplyDelete
  57. What a beautiful tribute to your friend. I am so sorry. I know she will be missed so much. May I ask what will happen to Bobra?

    ReplyDelete
  58. Great post Lydia. I met her through you on Twitter. I haven't been very active there lately, but I remember a few years ago when she didn't post that she was home from work and we all got upset and finally she posted - something came up and she was just late!! Thanks for the photo. I've never seen her and the image I see in my mind when I think of her is that Johnny Depp Pirate she has on Twitter. I loved when you two were working out her getting Bobra and how she would post those cute pictures of him. I recently posted something on Twitter (which I rarely do these days) a couple of days before Christmas and the first thing I thought was, I wonder if Leslie will see this and comment. I will always remember the fun conversations I had with her and tons of others on Twitter. Thanks for helping me meet her. She will be missed and I'm so glad I got to know her.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Thank you for this beautiful tribute. You said what we all feel, and said it in a lovely way. I count myself as so lucky to have been able to meet with Leslie several times IRL - once for a whole week together in a ski chalet. She was one of the nicest people I ever met. I'll miss her snarky, loving ways.

    ReplyDelete
  60. I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet friend. Thanks for sharing. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Healing hugs,
    Dawn
    DesignsByDragonfly.blogspot

    ReplyDelete

Every time you leave a comment, a new LOLcat is born. ALSO - don't panic if you don't see your comment right away - I moderate my comments to keep those spammers out, so your comment will show up in short order. Unless you're linking me to Russian brides or Nigerian princes.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...