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.