On any other day, that phrase itself is happy and one you enjoy sharing. On any other day, I would also be thrilled to introduce my guest author, Tracey Hansen. Today, both of those things are not as shiny, but they are more meaningful.
A Facebook friend is often someone you went to high school or college with, an acquaintance with whom your interactions are limited to the obligatory “Happy Birthday” when the Facebook powers that be alert you to the occasion, someone you know all too much about, like what their kids wore for Halloween and when their toddlers 89 month check up was, but at the same time you would avoid eye contact with this same person at the grocery store and hope they don’t notice your presence.
Then there are the Facebook friends you have never met, a friend made over a shared interest, like writing. Someone if you ever saw in a store, you would run up and tackle them with a hug.
That is how I feel about Candice Coghill, a writer after my own heart.
A woman who posted more cat pictures on Facebook then I knew were in existence! A woman who entered her stories into my Wednesday 100 word writing contest, a woman who I didn’t even know was battling breast cancer until she told me in an email. And when she learned I was putting together a contest to create a book, Write for the Fight, to benefit breast cancer, she jumped at the chance to send me a submission.
I woke up in the middle of the night last night in a cold sweat. I had a nightmare I had breast cancer, and when I woke up this morning my first thought was to check up on Candice. It had been months since our last contact. Oddly enough, when I checked my Facebook this morning, it immediately alerted me that today was Candice’s birthday, so I went over to her page to wish her health and happiness on her very special day.
It was then I noticed another post that wished her a happy birthday…in her new place above the clouds.
She had passed over a month ago…on my birthday.
It is not the things we will do in this life that we will regret, it’s the things we won’t do. Take that vacation, rebuild the bridges you burnt long ago, do something that scares you, start drag racing, or dressing in drag, or professional jello wresting, ask out your crush, and most importantly, let your friends, even the ones you’ve never gotten to meet in real life, know how much they mean to you.
So Candice, I hear late is better than never. Your ridiculous cat pictures made my day even though I don’t really like cats, your contest entries were always interesting, especially your Week #20 win with your dentist story. You were brave when you told me what you were battling, even when you didn’t have to disclose that most intimate detail to a stranger you met online, you weren’t afraid to say when you had a bad day or when it was made better. And you weren’t afraid to be friends with a foul mouthed blogger you met online.
And I’m sorry I didn’t check on you sooner. I keep thinking I could’ve written you something to make you smile when you were hurting. I’m sorry, I know I could have done more. I will try to make it up to you by doing more now. And Candice, Happy Birthday…in your new place above the clouds.