Each and every one of them has a place in my heart for a reason.
There's the girlfriend that I bonded with through a shared experience of broken engagement in what would have each eventually proven to be unhealthy had they not failed. Hers preceded mine by only weeks. And somehow she found me and she reached out to me and she connected with me in a way that only she who'd just experienced this could.
Through her I met another friend that gave me no choice but to love her completely! She supported me and encouraged me just as she'd done for our other friend. I was blessed to be allowed the opportunity to watch her fall in love with a man and his daughter. I also got the opportunity to watch our other friend as she adventured back out into the dating world and experienced some of the entertaining horrors that go with it. And when she met her Jason, I became hopeful that someday I might, too, meet a Jason of my own.
Words on a screen became lifelines that connected our hearts and our lives.
When we finally met in person, it was something akin to coming home. It was right and it was one of those things that marks you deep down into your soul, forever.
The three of us got married in Octobers of successive years. And though I've only actually seen them in person two times in my life (so far, at least...first at the second one's wedding and then at my own), they're among the first people I want to tell about anything big that happens in my life, good or bad.
Through the same website the three of us have met, I've met other friends as well. To specify only a few, there's one adorable girl in Canada (who's now also fallen in love), a gentleman in Florida who's unfortunately learning just how much difficulty he can endure before the silver lining will reveal itself, and another guy who's from the U.K. whose style of writing about his life drew me into his world.
He's the reason why I'm writing today, actually.
Because my heart hurts for him so badly right now.
His story starts more than 10 years ago when he met a girl.
The best stories typically start with 'when boy meets girl', but so do some of the saddest ones as well. And though his story isn't over, it's at a very low and sad point.
You see, Boy met Girl and Boy and Girl had a baby. A little girl.
Boy and Girl were going to get married and were going to live happily ever after until Boy and Girl were in a wreck that claimed Girl's life.
Which just left Boy and Baby Girl.
Boy struggled to deal with things, but eventually he started putting his life together. Baby Girl's aunt, Girl's Sister, remained in Baby Girl's life, which meant she remained in Boy's life as well, after the loss of her sister.
As time went by, Boy and Girl's Sister started seeing each other. They hit a few rough patches and parted ways but over time wound up back together. However, while they were apart, Girl's Sister became pregnant. Despite it all, Boy and Girl worked through it and welcomed another Baby Girl into their now joint family.
And after that, another Baby Girl followed, bringing their family to Boy, Girl, and three Baby Girls.
This time last year, Baby Girl #2 became sick.
She was hospitalized and later diagnosed with leukemia.
Boy updated those of us in his virutal life as best as he could but over the past year has been able to post less than a dozen updates.
It's been a difficult year, you see.
Baby Girl #2 was getting worse and worse and they were seeking out donors who might be able to help with her condition.
But in the end, Baby Girl #2 lost her battle with this disease.
Which, as any parent can imagine, would be more than unbearable.
As a result, four weeks after Baby Girl's death, Girl ended her own life to be with her Little Girl.
So Boy is left with two out of his five girls.
And he's hurting.
And he's blaming himself.
And he's no doubt struggling.
As am I. Because even if I've never met him in person, I've bonded with him through the almost 4 years that I've known him. From the first time I read him and spent two days reading through his entire history on down through each bump in the road that he's hit along the way since then.
He's offered both encouragement and excitement for me through the ups and downs of the past 4 years of my life.
Though I don't know him well enough to count him among my best friends, as I can say of some of the others, I know him well enough to consider him a friend, plain and simple.
And my friend is hurting.
And there's nothing I can do to make it better. I guess that's the downfall of this internet thing. When you only know someone in the virutal world, there's only a limited amount of things you can do to console them in the real world.
Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.