Today’s post is not recipe-related; if you’re just here for the food, check back on Wednesday!
I would bet that if I told you I had a friend, you’d assume it was someone I met with, in person, on more than one occasion, right? Maybe someone I’d known since school, or someone I’d met while pursuing a mutual interest?
I have hundreds of people I consider friends, most of which I have never met.
Back when I lost Ben, sure I received well-wishes and messages of sympathy from family, and from past school-friends, and fellow animal rescue volunteers.
But my biggest supporters were women I had never met: women from a pet-centered chat board; women from all over North America who had babies due in December 2011; and women from a food-centered chat board. They sent me cards, comforting snacks, pampering products, and gift cards to treat myself. They sent me the most beautiful memorial necklace.
This past week, I saw the same response to a time of need, multiplied by hundreds.
A mother, a woman I call my friend even though we’ve never met in person, was frightened — her young daughter needed emergency surgery. The little girl seized and coded during surgery, and the prognosis was uncertain at best. In the end, there was too much brain trauma, and her parents made the heartbreaking decision to let their little girl go, while donating what they could so that others could live.
This mother was a long-time member of many virtual communities. The very night of the surgery, one of the virtual communities collected donations to purchase items for a care package, when it seemed that the parents would spending 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at the hospital.
They put together a YouCaring fundraiser, to help pay for hospital meals, medical bills, funeral costs, and lost wages, and raised over $40,000 in TWO DAYS.
We are devastated that none of our efforts could make their little girl well.
But so many of us made similar comments, “We’ve never even met her …” yet we were all sobbing as if our “in-real-life” best friend had lost a child. I know more about some of these women than I know about my “in-real-life” friends, or even family. I will never again feel embarrassed to admit that I have a network of “virtual” friends.
Please, if you can spare a few dollars, donate to the YouCaring site. In this time of unimaginable grief, finances should be the last thing on their minds. Thank you.