I knew from the very first moment that I met Penny, that she was going to become a life-long friend of mine. She was eccentric, boisterous, and genuine. She was a breast cancer survivor. She laughed easily, hugged tightly, and wore the brightest shade of coral-colored lipstick that left stains on the rim of every glass she ever drank from and every cheek she ever kissed. There have been times in my life, when after parting ways with her, I would walk around for hours with that forgotten lipstick mark on my face. I wonder what people must have thought when they saw it? There was no way that they could have known that it wasn't just a smudge of lipstick, but instead, a bright pink badge of friendship.
|Penny at my baby shower-May 2010
Last October, Penny lost her second battle with cancer. I saw her once right before she died, and she slept most of the time I knelt beside her bed. Gone was her spiky white hair and slightly smudged eyeliner. There were no borderline-gaudy earrings dripping from her earlobes, and for the first time ever, her lips were without her signature color.
A few days after my visit, Penny passed away surrounded by her family and Obama 2012! posters. I walked around in a fog that day
, feeling like it wasn't possible that so much energy and love were no longer just a phone call away. I cried, shuffled though my day, and tried to make sense of it all.
Penny was never one to spend time on social media. She rarely updated her Facebook page and her emails were short, filled with love and always simply signed with the letter P. Instead of connecting electronically, Penny preferred sitting next to you, stroking your back, and soaking up every ounce of real life with you. However, since her death, I have found myself checking her Facebook page weekly. Obviously there are no new updates, (not that there ever really were!) but I find a strange comfort in being able to type her name into the white box at the top of my screen, and seeing her beautiful face pop up. Hello, darling!
The other night, while I was looking through her pictures and reading the recent messages left on her Facebook page like offerings at a graveside, I couldn't help but wonder if Facebook has not only changed the way we stay connected, but also changed the way we say goodbye.
Hoping Heaven has Free Wi-Fi,
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