The Woman I Never Knew

I saw her once at my friend’s creative memoir/nonfiction thesis presentation last year. She was my friend’s mother. She sat in the center desk, second row. I didn’t think too much about it, we were all friends and family in support of someone we loved dear. Until my friend started sharing her work, sharing her memories of her mother in connection with other experiences. Poignant, beautiful, and talented that my friend is, her work was brought to light when her mother shared her thoughts, views and side of the stories that my friend shared with us that day. She held herself well: kindness radiated her through her words. I knew in a heartbeat she was one of those women everybody wishes they had in their own lives; motherly natures are always that way.

A few days later, we became Facebook friends. Tho we never met in person again, I felt like I got to know her well through her posts and comments and likes of my posts. A lover of art and music, we shared a love of writing, God, and Les Miserables. Whenever I was down, she tried to bring me up in a gentle, yet no nonsense sort of way. I was always ecstatic whenever she made a comment on something I said or liked a link or picture.

A few days ago, she asked me to pray for her because she was undergoing surgery on Friday. I told her I would and kept her in my thoughts constantly. Unfortunately, my computer was in the shop for a week until yesterday. I didn’t realize that she passed away on Sunday afternoon, surrounded by the family and friends who loved her well until I logged into my Facebook account yesterday evening.

Let’s be honest: I’m devastated and heartbroken. I knew her, but I never knew her. I knew her through her words, her kind, beautiful words. I felt the love radiating from her even across the miles. I was devastated because I didn’t know, that I didn’t pray harder or think about her more. I knew she was suffering through a lot of pain, something she was strong enough to live with all her life, but I figured it would be something routine and normal; she would get up on her feet again in no time. She was a woman of love and I wish I knew her more, got to know her as a person a bit, listened to her stories.

She was my friend’s mother, and her beauty lives on inside her. I know my friend must be devastated. I can imagine and surmise through her posts on Facebook, but I’ll never truly know. Not really. Pain can be empathized with,  but never truly felt unless you went through it in the first person. If I’m feeling the loss of such a great woman, I can’t imagine what my friend feels.

People come into our lives and people leave it…we just have to trust that life has a road mapped out for us, that these people came into our lives for a reason, to challenge us, and help us grow. This amazing woman was one of those people. I don’t know why I was blessed to get to know her from a distance, but she’s sure helped me down the road to faith and trust in God. May God keep you and bless you, Miss Genie, and that he takes away your pain from this life. I love you.

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