Our friend Pat died this week. We received word from her daughter yesterday.
Her death was, sadly, no surprise. She had been diagnosed with lung cancer several months ago, and about a month ago told us that while she had announced her cancer to us, she had not told us that at the time she was diagnosed, she was stage 4. She knew her time was short.
I was feeling well, except for a tiny little twinge in my right chest. The tumor was inoperable because of size and involvement with a vertebra. Without treatment, prognosis was guessed at 6 mo. to a year, she wrote.
She started a course of treatment but nothing worked except she felt worse, so she made the decision to let nature take its course.
Since then, I've done pretty well, slowing down, but able to do most necessary shopping, library visits, all the essential things of life. :-) Up to now. As of mid-August, I'm super-slowed. Walking is shaky, worse every day, close to impossible now.
She went on hospice care and her daughter and son-in-law moved in to take care of her so she could die at home. She continued to send e-mails, but when those stopped, we knew that the end was near. At her request there was no funeral and will be no formal memorial.
I first met Pat on CompuServe back in the 1980s. We were part of the very active Women's Issues forum and formed a really close friendship. I first met her face to face when C, another member of the group was about to leave her husband and needed moral support. Pat took the train from Southern California, I drove from Northern California and we met C in Santa Barbara.
Later, in 1996, we decided to give her further support by going together to take the train to Colorado to meet a 4th member of the group. C loved trains and we felt that focusing on the train trip and not the divorce would be helpful for her. It turned out that everybody wanted to join us. In the end 20 people (19 women and 1 man) met for the first time. We came from all over the U.S., and even from England.
We called our gathering "Netstock" and when it was over, we decided that we had had so much fun we wanted to do it again. Over the years our Netstock group has met in Portland; Seattle; Austin, Tx; Washington, DC; Milwaukee; Ashland, Oregon; and even London (we all landed for Netstock on 9/11...that was an odd Netstock!)...have I forgotten a location?
We have been there for each other through births, deaths, divorces, weddings, illnesses and major life events. We have shared our joys and our sorrows. I love these people as if they were my own siblings. When CompuServe forums began to disintegrate, we moved our discussion group to a private Yahoo site and have continued to keep up a lively discussion there. Pat is actually the second of the group to leave us, though the first one, a few years ago, had not been active in a long time. This one hurts more.
I find it almost unbelievable how much I miss someone I saw in person only about 8 or 10 times in almost 20 years, wrote one of our group today.
Walt and I saw Pat regularly when we traveled to So. California because we usually stayed at her house. She was with us the first time I saw The Last Session, the show that changed my life.
Professionally, Pat was a music editor. We knew her best for her work on Walker, Texas Ranger, but she has an impressive bio on IMDB and I always remembered that her ex-husband was on the creative team for Gumby. When we knew her, she worked at home and I enjoyed it when she showed me how she added music to film clips. She was quick to assure me that Walker had no violence, it only had action.
At her request there was no funeral and no official memorial service, but since we are scattered all over the world, we wanted an opportunity to grieve together, so we are holding a "virtual memorial" on Yahoo tomorrow. This group has had a lot of virtual parties over the years, Pat a very active participant (and me not so much because I'm about as social on line as I am in person!). But we will be "bringing" significant foods. Ellen (I think) is "making" Pat's recipe for vegetarian lasagne, which was printed in one of the two group cookbooks that we have published over the years; Tricia is "making" margaritas; Mary will bring a box o'wine, which featured prominently on many of our gatherings. I decided to make "gooey balls," which is an Indian dessert for which I have no recipe, but that doesn't matter since it's "virtual." The last meal Walt and I had with Pat was at an Indian restaurant in Burbank and she raved about their gooey balls (a dessert), so it seems appropriate. Evil Sian will be joining the group from Orkney and brining Twiglets, that vile British snack that we tasted in 1996 and agreed was the spawn of Satan. But then Sian is that kinda person.
Goodbye, my friend. You will be missed so much.