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Internet Friends

Updated on January 29, 2013

A Pity Party

I had a pity party recently and all my friends came. While I was whining and crying the blues, they all reminded me of how blessed I am. This wasn’t news to me but in the midst of my pity party, I had forgotten. It’s like that with friends though, isn’t it? When you need them the most, they are there, well, the real friends are anyway.

The pity party didn’t last long, thanks to my real friends. They showed up in their finest with smiles on their faces, abundant hugs and cheers, and all the encouragement I needed to pick my lip up and move forward. My friends are the best.

Humility and Reality

Today the sun rose and the chill that has been around for a few days vanished. My first thoughts of the day were “gosh I’m a lucky girl”. Now that’s a pretty good way to start a day. And then I remembered the pity party. For a moment or two I was embarrassed and wondered how on earth I could face my friends again after such a scene. They had told me how strong I usually am and that I’m always there for others. You can’t imagine how good it made me feel. And then I remembered how I had boo-hoo’d and laid the vulnerable side of myself out there for all my friends to see. Where was my dignity? Surely I had not lost complete control of it. But oh yes, I sure had. That person that is so capable of running into the fire for others tucked her tail and hid behind the keyboard and monitor when things got tough in her own world. What a woos.

By now you might be wondering what on earth I’m talking about. If you weren’t at the party, that’s understandable. It’s only fair that I at least give you the abbreviated version so you won’t think I’ve gone stark-raving mad in addition to being a woos.

The Story

My family lives with Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s my Dad who has the diagnosis and we’ve lived with it for about three years. Some days are better than others. Yesterday was our worst day so far. And… I freaked out. When we crossed the threshold between crisis and normal, I was a real mess. Sobbing and feeling completely frantic, I did the only thing I knew to do. I sat down at the keyboard and started writing. The fear just rolled right out of me onto the page and before I realized it, I had written about it all. I had laid my heart out there for everyone in the world to see. I’m not even sure that I spell checked the article and I don’t want to go back now and look. I’ll just be humiliated all over again. When I hit the publish button, I realized that I had opened a new chapter of our life as a family and said to all who would read it – “we are falling apart”. I may as well have sent out invitations to the pity party. But instead, I drowned myself in a hot shower, put on my grungy comfort clothes, pulled a blanket over me and had a good old-fashioned cry. Yep, the ugly cry, as Oprah describes it. And then, I was done. Finished. Time to move on.

Internet Friends

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Who Came To My Pity Party?

I’m okay today but this story would not be complete if I didn’t tell you about my real friends because they are absolute treasures. People can say what they will about Internet friends but I have proof that Internet friends can be the best friends you'll ever have. They care and they are there when you need them. You don’t have to put on makeup because they are coming over and you don’t have to make excuses for why you want them to leave. They simply come, offer their friendship, and then leave you alone. What could be a better than that?

So, here we go. I’m going to tell you a tiny bit about my friends but I want you to click on the links to them and get to know them yourself. Trust me, they are worth the time. The friends I speak of are writers but that’s only a small part of who they are. Mostly, they are just phenomenal people who care about others. And, they walk their talk. So, grab a cup of coffee or whatever pleases you and get comfortable. This might take a while but my friends deserve the best.

My Friend Maria

Maria (aka marcoujor) was the first to arrive with words of support and genuine concern. She’s a nursing instructor who lives in Pennsylvania and is not only an award winning writer but she is also the interview queen. She knows how to ask a question that will pull all your secrets out into the light. She knows all about grace and gratitude and she has a real appreciation for life and the struggles we all endure from time to time. Oh, and she loves music.

Maria walked in and assessed me as only a nursing instructor and caring human being could. She knew my blabbering article was cathartic for me and had to be written and, she knew me well enough to know that I wrote it in hopes of helping someone else. That, is a friend who knows who you really are. Maria, it was no accident that you arrived first and I am so grateful for your understanding and wisdom. I adore you.

My Friend Bill

Bill (aka billybuc) was right on Maria’s heels and that was no less than I should have expected from him. He’s always there for me with a word of encouragement or support for some of my crazy ideas. Bill is my kindred spirit, my alter ego in male form. It’s been that way between us from the very beginning. Bill, is a teacher, seriously. He taught in the school system for years and years and now, he teaches anyone who wants to learn. He does it through his wit and amazing skill of writing. And he makes it personal. Bill never met a stranger. Residing in Olympia Washington, Bill exudes compassion and abhors social injustice. Those are just some of the reasons that I adore him.

I think Bill is chained to his keyboard for about 20 hours a day. He must be to get all that writing done. He has a published book and is working on another. He has several blogs that he updates daily, and, he writes at least a daily article on Hubpages. Oh, and did I mention he has a business writing SEO for private customers. I don’t know how he does it and still helps all the new writers learn the ropes on Hubpages too. When I publish something, he’s there commenting on it within minutes. I think his radar works overtime too.

So, when Bill showed up, he knew exactly what to say because he is watching a friend fade into the shadows of Alzheimer’s. When Bill heard about my pity party, he knew I didn’t need a bunch of polite words and he didn’t bother trying to offer them. He did just what I needed him to do and that was show up, hug me, understand me, and send me love. Yep, he’s precious.

My Friend Martin

Martin (aka MHatter99) arrived shortly afterwards. Martin has been a friend from the beginning of my declaration that I was a writer. He lives in San Francisco and has had quite a career. He is smart and funny and he knows how to make a few words count. Martin is an extraordinary romantic poet and, he writes amazing limericks. We’ve shared some common interests since we met here and he’s always got some sound advice. In the middle of my pity party, Martin, in the way that only he could, offered a simple solution to help my family deal with our situation. Is that a friend or what? I like solutions and I like people that offer them instead of sitting back wondering why you didn’t think of it yourself. Martin is another writer that writes a lot and I, for one, save his limericks for later in the evening. It’s good to go to sleep with a grin on your face and a giggle in your heart.

My Friend Faith

Faith (aka Faith Reaper) is my angel. If knowing Faith doesn’t bless your life, then you don’t have a heart. This woman is always there with a blessing of love and prayer for whatever you are facing. I am convinced that she has a direct line to God because I can feel the power of Faith’s prayers whenever she reaches out to me. Faith writes on many topics and she’s also a beauty of a poet. She’s a southern lady who loves her family and will brag about her grandchildren like only a southern grandma can. Faith will wrap you in love and on those days when nothing but a little inspiration or religion will do, Faith has a cup of coffee waiting for you and will welcome you with open arms.

When Faith arrived at my pity party, I took a deep breath and felt the tension leaving. I knew that my fears were in good hands and that all would be okay. How many friends do you know that can do that in person, much less through a fiber optic network? This lady is as good as they come so visit her and plan to sit a while.

My Friend Rema

Rema (aka remaniki) is a new friend but I have to tell you about her because she came to my party with her own story of Alzheimer’s. Rema is from India. What are the chances that we would meet and share such a common fear? Rema showed up offering her concern and compassion as only one who understands could. She writes on a variety of topics from healthy food to travel, introspection to marketing your writing. I am sorry that Rema has to deal with Alzheimer’s but I am so glad to know her and look forward to sharing our journeys in support of each other.

My Friend Mike

Mike (aka mjboomer) hails from the beautiful territory of Oregon. I don’t know him all that well but I’m going to get to know him. He’s the man if you are living with someone who has Alzheimer’s disease. Mike is a gerontologist. I know, some of you don’t know what that is. Well, it’s a health care professional who specializes in the aging population. He has first hand knowledge of this disease too and didn’t let it scare him off. The short hair on his neck probably stood up when he came to my pity party but he didn’t let on. Instead, he shared his story with me, helping me to understand that I wasn’t alone. I can’t tell you how important that is in the face of Alzheimer’s. Mike spends his time helping the aging population manage daily living and that makes him a hero in my book. He doesn’t know it yet but I am going to be his biggest fan and I hope others will too. We need Mike. I certainly did and I will be forever grateful that he came to my party and left breadcrumbs for me to follow him back home.

My Friend Pearl

Pearl (aka grandmapearl) is my friend in the Southern Tier of New York. I call her Pearl but her name is Connie. If you want to know something about birds, Pearl has it for you. The photos and articles she writes are beautiful so please visit her.

Pearl came to my party and validated all my fears. This woman has stories about Alzheimer’s that everyone needs to hear. It’s easy to forget that the person who looks like your loved one doesn’t think like your loved one anymore and the frightening part is that you no longer know what they are capable of. This was what triggered my pity party and when Pearl came through the door, I knew my fears were justified. Bless her for putting real names and real stories of how bad this disease can be if you continue to deny the reality – Alzheimer’s is insidious.

My Internet Friends Are Shining Stars

Yes, I had a pity party and all the right people came. They provided everything I needed to get a more solid grip on reality while providing love, comfort, hugs, prayers and hope. These are real friends and if you think they can’t be found on the world wide web, think again. I walk among some amazing people who I am proud to call friend.

© 2013 Linda Crist, All rights reserved.


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