Earlier in the month, I lost my friend LaNell to breast cancer. Normally, I write about these things much sooner, but I just couldn’t with her. Even though I know first hand going to funerals DOES matter to the loved ones, I couldn’t go to hers. I feel like a shit head for that, but I was having panic attacks so bad, normal people would have went to the hospital. Even before she died, she lived in my mind and heart. Now, she’s just there even stronger.
LaNell knew me the second she saw me. We worked at the library together. We started out being more friends than co-workers when I saw a kindred nerd in her. We both loved all the same stuff. We read the same stuff. She introduced me to some new fantastic writers. One of my favorite writers, Robin Hobb, is her recommendation. Then, at some point, I realized she saw the truer me I hid at work, and we became close friends. I would make her silly little people out of plastic spoons, and she laughed. I went to Blizzcon while I worked at the library and brought her back a murloc, and she laughed.
After I left the library, we stayed friends. I still can’t explain how she managed to always be a soft presence in my life, yet at the same time she was strong as steel. We didn’t always see each other, but we always managed to see each other when we needed each other. She was the one who helped me come to terms with the fact the dickhead before my Viking was abusive. We were eating deliciously crappy Chinese food, and she put her thin, delicate hand over my meaty, clumsy paw, looked me in the eye, and said “Honey, he abused you. You were abused.”
That conversation lead to me going home, listening to Adele, and writing Strong Woman, the blog post that changed the way I blog and the way I view life. Her simple act of love and honesty changed my entire world forever. I could never be the woman I am today without her. I could never have the happy, loving relationship I have with my Viking without her.
This woman made of softness and steel always understood. She understood me before I did. She got that I had so many anxieties. She never made me feel bad for them. She knew I loved her very deeply, even if I didn’t show up a lot. She was one of my greatest supporters. I hadn’t intended on writing this today, but I looked at something on my site and say her name over and over again on my comments section. Her constant faith in me drove me to keep doing things and to not stop believing in myself. Even after being gone, her support still manages to keep me writing. That was the magic of her.
So, I know she is no longer living, but it doesn’t mean she is no longer here. She touched so many lives. I will carry her with me until the end of my days.