It’s been a very tough week. A lot of big things have been happening, both locally and internationally this week. Nearby to home we’ve had record breaking rains causing widespread flooding. Overseas we’ve Russia invading Ukraine resulting in many innocent civilians being killed, for what reason I still don’t know. It was also the week I found out my friend Anna passed away. I had never meet Anna in person. We became friends online after joining the same Facebook group for one of our favourite authors. She lived on the opposite side of the world, in a different time zone, but because of her sleep problems and one annoyingly loud snoring partner, she would often message me of an afternoon after I finished work. We would talk about random things, about the cat her partner kept promising they could get, food and what she would cook that morning for breakfast or what Hello Fresh meals she should order for the coming week. I admired her passion for food and cooking and I remember telling her once she should be a chef. I was also quite jealous of her cooking abilities. One morning she kept me company while I was sitting in the waiting room at the doctors, while my anxiety was growing bigger the longer and longer I had to wait for my doctor to finally call my name out for my appointment.

Anna wasn’t someone who I would normally associate with in my daily life. I knew she had a drinking problem and earlier had a bad car accident while drink driving. She had been in rehab for it but I think drinking was still a problem for her. Sometimes she would send me messages of just letters and I would have no idea if she was drunk or her phone was playing up. A few months back she was having health problems and waiting to see a few different specialists. She told me she was dying but I kind of brushed it off, not knowing if I should believe her. She was younger than me, in her early 30’s. She was waiting to see specialists so how could she know she was dying. It must just be her anxiety telling her she was going to die. Finally one of her specialists appointments happened and the news seemed quite promising. I was relieved for her knowing things weren’t so grim. Life happens and we didn’t seem to have a chance to chat that much as I’ve been busy with work and my business.

One day last week I realised I hadn’t seen Anna around for a while. It was just a fleeting thought, and I didn’t even think to message her. On Tuesday morning, when I checked Facebook on my break at work, I found a message from another member of a Facebook group that both Anna and I are members of, saying she had received word that Anna had passed away from organ failure on the weekend. It was a shock and is still a shock. She was only 35, how could someone like that die. Someone who I’ve chatted to for years, someone just like me. We may have only been online friends but that is still a great friendship, one that can actually be closer because it’s easier to bare your darkest fears to someone on the other side of the world you know you won’t happen to run into down the street. The grief still hurts, no matter the distance between us.

The only good thing to happen, thanks to Covid, was the ability to join in Anna’s funeral service due to it being live streamed, early yesterday morning. It’s hard to believe she is gone, her body now cremated, and her spirit hopefully finally in Heaven, now at peace which she was never able to find her on earth. Online friends may only be online, but they are just as real as friends in the flesh.

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