Thursday, May 17, 2007

Remembering a Friend

Her name was Marcey Jo Swearingen, and she was thirty-seven years old. She was friendly, supportive, wickedly funny and genuinely welcoming. She was from Enterprise, Alabama, and was attending college. She loved Steve and Kayla on Days of Our Lives, and wanted to meet Stephen Nichols one day.

She died on Saturday, May 12th, of complications from the 'flu.

I never met her in person. I have no idea what she looked like. I only know what I know of her from her posts on a message board I frequent and from the occasional chats we participated in together. But when I heard she was gone, the shock, dismay and--yes--heartache I experienced were real.

It's amazing how you can find community and family anywhere you go. As a Christian, I've often felt that sense of community and family among strangers in strange places when I learned we shared that common religious experience. I've found it when I've been out west or up north and ran into a fellow southerner. Part of what made me notice Marcey from among the hundreds of fellow posters, besides her wit and her sweetness, was that she was an Alabama girl like me.

I'll miss Marcey's funny posts and her wry asides. I'll miss her passion and her sweetness. But I'm also grateful that in the sorrow of her passing, I've found a moment to reflect on the very human need for connections and community. It's a good reminder for people, like us writers, who often toil in solitude, that we are not really all alone in the world.


Jennifer McK said...

I'm so sorry, Paula. Sometimes those online connections are just as important as the real ones. I hope you're taking care of yourself through this.
*sending you prayers*

Tripp said...

You know, I didn't know MaryJo very well at all but I did know the username and remembered her posts.

I have grown to love online friends I met. Not just from that message board you speak of but from other places, I have one I have become especially close to who I have known for years now and actually met in person when I was in her town one day.

One thing I am thankful for, is that our community did hear of her passing. Sometimes in cases of these, the family isn't aware of the close associations the person has with the online world they live in and so we might never hear. At least we were informed so we could mourn too.

Anonymous said...

I just ran across this site accidentally & thought I'd let you know that Marcey's family was very aware of how important her online "family" was to her. I'm Marcey's cousin & she was one unique girl & very special. I'm sure none of her online friends knew how sick Marce actually was & her physical condition 'cause she never let it get her down or stop her from what she wanted to do. She never complained. Just thought I'd let you know that her parents & brother, as well as all of us, are thankful that Marcey had her online friends...she wasn't able to get I don't know if y'all realize just how important you were to her. God Bless You All & take care!