I never got a chance to meet Mildred Gordon, but she became a dear friend.
About a year ago, I noticed that she was liking all my blog posts on my Facebook page. Didn’t know who she was or why she had liked my page. I didn’t know why she read my blog posts, but every day, I got a notice from FB that “Mildred Gordon” had liked my post. I didn’t think she ever left comments, but one day (I’m ashamed to admit that it took me a long time) I realized that the woman named “sumalama” who left comments on my blog was the same as the woman on Facebook who “liked” my posts.
To be honest, although I “knew” her, I didn’t know much about her, just what I gleaned from her comments. She once commented that someone had recommended she read my grief posts, and she was glad they did. And so our connection began.
Another time, she wrote: “Pat Bertram, you matter because when I read your blog posts I can forget about my problems and just get lost in your words. Thank you. Please keep writing!” Later, through other comments, I got an inkling of what those problems were: “Friends and family are getting me through metastasis bone cancer. Wish they weren’t so sad for me…I’ve lived a long and happy and adventurous life!”
“Dance for you is what Tai Chi is for me. Even though I can no longer do it, just thinking of the different forms calms me, relaxes me, brings me peace. Lying in my bed, I can imagine myself flowing through the forms, like a slow motion dance, and I am one with it.”
And I learned a bit about her adventures: “Pat, one step at a time. I have started over many times and that’s how I’ve always done it. And I’ve done it alone, with small children. I am not worried about you, now that you have the dance to feed your being.
The kids and I lived homeless in another country for 6 months, many years ago when they were 5, 4, and a newborn. It wasn’t easy. But we survived. And are the better for it. And now this new journey of mine, with cancer, has my friends worried/bothered for me like your friends are for you.
Let them worry, let them be bothered. It’s their choice. Me? I am truly excited for you and can hardly wait to see what your blog shares about the new life you will form!
Best of luck and have fun! Hugs, Millie
And then suddenly, the “like”s and comments stopped. Worried, I emailed her, using the email address she’d used for WordPress comments, but got no response. I didn’t really expect any — any time I’d contacted someone via such an email, I got no reply, as if perhaps I had stepped over a boundary I shouldn’t have.
Today I checked her Facebook profile, hoping to find an explanation. And I did.
Mildred died on May 20th. A celebration of her life was held on May 31st, while I was dancing on stage. Although I didn’t know about the service at the time, my dancing was a much better memorial to her than the tears that are now blurring my eyes.
I’m sorry I never got to meet ”sumalama.” (Sorry I never asked what that meant.) But I am so very glad we connected.
Thank you, Millie, for enriching my life. Best of luck and have fun! Hugs, Pat
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.