I lost a friend today. A friend who was dear to me even though we never got the chance to meet in person.
Kate and I "met" online several years ago when we both signed with the same agent. For years, she and I exchanged emails about the industry, our lives, books, writing...everything. Sometimes, we'd skip a few months but we always knew the other was still out there, still at our computer and ready to respond.
Kate and I were at the same point in our careers when we first met through RWA. We'd signed with our first agent and things seemed to be looking up for us. Unfortunately, nothing ever materialized for either of us with that agent...except our friendship.
We exchanged long emails about everything. Writing, family, books. We talked about our frustrations with the publishing industry. We talked plotting and bounced ideas off of one another and Kate always had a balanced, thoughtful response. I knew any comment she made would be insightful.
Kate's been sick for as long as I've known her though I didn't know until at least a year into our friendship because she never complained. Everything she ever said about the cancer that took her life was so matter-of-fact. No tantrums, no breakdowns. There were times I could tell how frustrated she was at having to deal with the physical and mental issues that went with being sick. But she never whined. Not once.
Kate and I hadn't emailed for several months when I got a message from one of her best friends. Sheryl said Kate wasn't doing well and she'd wanted me to know how much she'd appreciated our friendship. I immediately emailed Kate to let her know I was thinking about her and was thrilled to get a response. She'd bounced back and was still fighting and happy to hear from me. Unfortunately, that rebound didn't last long.
I knew Kate was sick and I knew it was bad. I just always thought she's beat it and we'd meet at an RWA conference one day, like we'd planned a few years ago. Her health got in the way that time too. She'd been too sick to make the trip to New Jersey. Which absolutely sucked because I know she'd been so looking forward to that trip. And I'd been so excited to meet her.
My sincere condolences to Kate's husband and her father, her family and friends. You were lucky to have her.