I got some horrible news today. It came in the form of an email, from the husband of a friend I had made online. My friend had passed away last Sat. after being diagnosed with lung cancer a mere 6 days prior. Her husband faced the daunting task of going through her computer to notify her friends who may not have heard.
Claudia was a wonderful woman I "met" on a stay at home mom's chat on Compuserve. Yeah, that long ago! I think the twins were about 2. It started out simply sharing recipes, child-rearing issues (she was ahead of me on that one), and whatever anyone wanted to talk about during our hour in the chat room. Other members came and went, but always showed up, every Wed, and we soon realized it was because we liked to talk to each other. We started emailing directly, made phone calls, shared more recipes, and both the ups and downs of life over the next 13 years.
Somewhere during that time, I mentioned that I wanted to write a romance. Claudia was so excited, and so encouraging, that I actually sent her the first drafts of my first 3 books. She even had a namesake in number 3. Those didn't sell, and it was before I discovered erotica, but she was damn supportive of that move, too.
I do have one favorite memory above all others. She had a great long-term marriage and one thing she always said was to make sure to set aside a bit of couple time at the holidays by making love under the Xmas tree. She referred to it as "getting tinsel up the nose". One year, as the holidays rapidly approached, I got a manila envelope in the mail from Claudia. I opened it up and couldn't stop laughing. It was stuffed with tinsel.
You'll be greatly missed, my friend.