Leaving on a jet plane

“All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…” Tomorrow I’ll be getting on a plane and flying to Gulfport, Mississippi (by way of Houston), where my friend Dana will pick me up. After spending the night at her house, we’ll be running away to a beach house in Florida for two days of girl time with four other friends. Cocktails and bonfires on the beach, lots of good food, swimming, talking, laughing…

I can’t tell you how much I need this getaway. I’m deeply grateful to Dana for arranging to get me down there, even paying for half of my plane ticket. And here’s an interesting thing. Out of the five women I’ll be sharing the beach house with, there’s only one I’ve met IRL… and I only met her one time, for about ten minutes. We’ve all known each other online, through a couple of message boards, for at least seven years. To some people, it might appear that I’m flying across the country to spend a few days with virtual strangers. But they’re not strangers to me. They were there when I fell in love with Mike, through all the ups and downs of our relationship. I’ve watched their kids grow up, through pictures and anecdotes. We’ve celebrated together, laughed and cried together, grieved together. And now we get to do it in person, not in words on a computer screen.

I touched on this in a previous post, but it bears repeating. Dana is paying for half of my plane ticket so that I can be there, because she knows I need this. Someone who has never met me in real life shelled out a couple hundred of her hard-earned dollars to give me the gift of this time. Meanwhile, there are friends I’ve known IRL for many years who don’t call, don’t answer my emails, can’t make time to meet me for coffee even though they live close. I find that remarkable. The women I’m going to meet this week have shown me more support than some of my own family. The one I mentioned I’d met previously, but only talked to for about ten minutes? That was at the memorial service we held for Mike in his hometown in Illinois. I posted on the message board that I was anxious about having to cope with a memorial service that was mostly for his relatives and high school friends whom I’d never met, and she said, “That’s close to where I live. If you’d like, I’ll come and lend you moral support.” Some of our “real” friends didn’t show up at the memorial service we had here in LA, yet someone who only knows me online and had never known Mike at all went out of her way to be there for me.

It’s a crazy time to be taking a vacation, when I have to be out of my apartment in two weeks and I’m nowhere near packed. But I just couldn’t pass this up. I need this time, to just relax and be held in a circle of support, of sisterhood…

I’ll tell you all about it when I get back.

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~ by hourbeforedawn on June 14, 2010.

4 Responses to “Leaving on a jet plane”

  1. I’ve written about this elsewhere, but the people who have given me the greatest support were those that I know online. When my husband died, almost everyone we knew IRL melted into the woodwork and there were no calls to say sorry, how are you, is there anything we can do to help. While Don was ill, it was like we were the only two people left on the planet as we heard from no one other than the people I know online. That helped to keep me feeling at least a little sane. When Don died, a friend I’ve known online for about 10 years, and whom Don and I had traveled with in the west, flew from Oregon to Ontario to help me. He got hassled at airport security for flying within hours of buying a ticket as he came the day Don died. He stayed for a month to help me get all of my stuff wrapped up at home and my van outfitted for the months of travel that I was about to set out on. He was amazed that no one I know IRL ever called to see how I was doing during that whole month. When we were done, he flew home and I set out across the continent – with occasional stops to visit with people I have met online – and to stay at a house I rented from some people in Arizona who I initially contacted online. For me, those I’ve met online have been genuine and sincere while those around me IRL have been such a wash-out. I wonder why that is – but I don’t dwell on it – just accept it as a strange phenomenon.
    I’m so glad that you have good friends to spend time with. Taking a break for some down time with friends is a good plan and will probably give you a chance to rest and be ready for packing your stuff and everything else that follows. Somehow, the time and the energy always comes when you need it.

    • Bev, I’m sorry your IRL friends weren’t there for you. I should clarify that I have some really wonderful friends IRL, without whom I don’t know how I’d have made it through the first few awful weeks… and some of my family have been super supportive too. I just can’t help but notice the exceptions, the ones who disappeared just when I needed them the most.

  2. I’m so glad that you get this chance to get away for a bit. I know how much you need a break from everything.

  3. Wow Lira.
    I just read this. Going through your archives on Mike’s birthday just seemed right to me…and wow.

    I love you honey, and I am still using the rule of hand you taught me on that car ride. (((biggest of Hugs)))

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