As I type this, my fingers shake on the keyboard. Once in while, my stupid tears reach my lips and I taste the salt of them.
I’d never expected such heartbreak at the loss of someone I’d never met, but here it is.
I have also wondered about sharing personal stuff on my blog, but this time, I can’t help it, so again, here it is.
The blogging community lost Tina Downey yesterday, but I lost my sister in spirit. SIS, we called each other, half-joking. On Skype calls, we giggled over small things, over random stuff of her American life, and trivia from Singapore.
And she could make you laugh, even when connected to machines and tubes. She made light of all her suffering, medical procedures without proper anesthesia (prolonged treatment had made her body very resistant to some drugs) and not being able to breathe well after a few minutes on the phone.
She joked through our April madness, and she organized and herded the A to Z Challenge team. She loved her blog, and blogging, and blog friends. She could be fierce in protecting those she considered her own. She adored her husband, doted on her sons, stood by her relatives and community.
She loved sunflowers. Always sent me a sunflower icon on whatsapp.
She stood by me when I suffered a bereavement, and we cried together when she suffered a loss. Wish we had talked more when she was healthier, wish I’d pushed on the US trip that’s been on the cards for a few years now. And now she’s gone, leaving me determined to hold my friends, both online and off, closer. To tell them they mean so much to me.
Having lost many friends and family to the grim reaper, I know that the first hours are gut-wrenching. But this year, while discussing death and dying, Tina and I had discussed this quote that comforted us as we cried, and I want to share it with you all today:
“Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before. How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!”
Rest well, my friend. You’ll continue to inspire me, and one day we shall meet as we did not in this life, share a joke, and burst out laughing.
Dear readers, has any of you interacted with Tina Downey?
I’ve always counted on and appreciated your advice, so: Have you suffered loss of friends or family? What is the best, most positive way to respond to such a difficult time?
I am really sorry for your loss.. but I learn something that blogging world is not only about competition but it’s deeper than that…thanks for sharing..
Hey Damyanti, I apologize for your loss and the loss of another writer, wife, mother, friend. Being human is not an easy thing and some people get credit for it despite their inability to feel. But not you. Your humanity is evident in your words. I was a soldier in the US Army for five years and lost seven friends to combat operations. Their deaths served as a reminder that we all have a duty to live a life worthy of our eulogies and often that means fighting to the end. It seems to me that your friend Tina did just that. My condolences.
What a beautiful quote, and thank you for sharing it and your friendship.
I’m so sorry for your loss, Damyanti. I, sadly, didn’t know Tina. I’m liking this post only because of its beautiful sentiments on friendship and the quality of a life lovingly lived.
I’m so sorry to hear this! I lost a good friend whom I had never met in person a few years ago. I know what it’s like (and the regret of not going to visit when you had the chance!) 🙁
I’m sorry for your loss. Take comfort in the knowledge that you were and are still part of each other. The passage quoted says all I would wish to. Hugs to you at this time.x
May her soul rest in peace
Absolutely beautiful passage on death. I found it very comforting. I am so very, very sorry for your loss. I know it hurts so much.??
I’ve been listed you of one of my blogger in Liebster Award.
Your words are beautiful. Just last year I lost my father and at that time someone told me that the greatest way to deal with the ever changing presence of life around us is expression. Be it through art, music, words, or even just an unrestrained conversation with a willing stranger. Just as long as the experience is allowed to flow through. Again, such a beautiful tribute you have given
This was such a beautiful way of saying good bye, Damyanti.
Hugs to you, D
That was a wonderful tribute to Tina.
My condolences to you for this great loss. This post was a beautiful tribute to Tina.
So sorry to hear of the loss of such a dear friend. I have some very close blogging friends and I would be equally sad if I lost them. I pray for Tina’s awesome transition. Deepak says, :Death is a creative way to recreate yourself.”
My heart is out to Tina, her friends and family. Your tribute brought tears to my eyes and a longing to my heart.
The grief that moved me the most was that of my mother’s loss of her eldest son, and my brother. It was then that I saw cultural traditions so clearly – her giving up favourite foods for a year, and the flowers around photographs. Only recently have I begun to feel she has healed a little bit.
I am so sorry for your loss. Eight years ago I lost my best friend. There was a lot of crying. Quite a few sleepless nights. Several cups of Kahlua-spiked hot cocoa. And many, many viewings of Veronica Mars season 1. (Trust me on this last one.)
I have no advice for you in this moment, only condolences. She sounds like she was an incredible friend. I have no idea where that quote came from, but it was gorgeous and better than anything I’ve ever read on the pain of loss.
Let memories of your lost friend be an inspiration: People can truly have momentous positive effects on each other. We can enrich each others’ lives. Tina made your world a brighter place. We should all be so lucky to have friends like her and we should all emulate her in hopes of connecting with each other and spreading happiness through all of our relationships and friendships.
I never had the privilege of meeting her but I have seen all of you come together to honour this woman who has deeply touched so many. She, obviously, had tremendous gifts and all who knew her are enriched by knowing her. I have lost family members and it does create a sense of loss but, in time, i felt even more enriched that i did know them and am a part of them. Our hearts and minds will continue to be enriched by the gifts they gave to us and others. Even in this sad loss you speak of the laughter you shared and the oneness you shared. This is a rare and true blessing
This is my first time here.. I am sorry for your loss Damyanti.. Just read few of Tina’s post and couldn’t hold back my tears..
My father passed away 3 years back. Even after 3 years I am not able to think about him without shedding tears..
We will miss our loved ones even though they said “I have only slipped away into the next room.” Sending my prayers and thoughts..
I’m sorry for your loss, Damyanti. And just to share with you my favourite Christina Rossetti.
When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.
I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.
“Have you suffered loss of friends or family? What is the best, most positive way to respond to such a difficult time?”
Yes, I have, two of them, in just two months. The best way to respond is…Well, easier said than done, but it is to accept, because no matter what you do, she won’t be back. The five stages of grief will be there in the next days, or weeks, or months, even years! But the important thing is to recognize that you are just going through those stages and be kind to yourself and others even — or especially — during the angry/blame stage. Don’t let grief consume you; move on, not to forget about the loved one who has passed away, but to pay more attention to those who are still with us.
You are in all our thoughts during this difficult time. May Buddha fill your life with blessings…
I’m sorry for your loss and the loss that others who knew her are feeling at this time. The quote is an absolutely beautiful one. It is one of the best comforts I’ve read regarding the unknown.
I’ve just started following you and this is your first post i’ve read after that.
RIP, Tina 🙁
We’re with you, Damyanti… Always.
I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing the quote; it is just lovely.
Does anyone here know where the quote comes from?
I first read it in September by Rosamund Pilcher. Sorry I forgot to attribute it, I think. Will correct it now.
Thank you. (The reason I didn’t directly ask you is, I figured you have enough to deal with right now.)
Damyanti, dear friend. Death is not real. There is nowhere but here, so where can your friend go? She is present here without the burden of her painful body. If you are sensitive and soft you will still be able to talk to her. She will always be their whenever you think of her. I promise you this. It will be even easier for you to connect with her because you friendship has only ever been on line, so you are an expert at summoning her presence without her actually being physically present.
Here is a link to a piece I wrote about my mother’s death that you might feel like reading
I read it. It’s amazing. Thanks for sharing it with us. And thank you for your insight.
I’m so sorry to hear you’ve lost your friend. The people I have loved and lost are still a part of me. They have all changed me in some way and I will never forget them. Despite the pain, I am so glad I had the opportunity to know and love them.
She was amazing! I think we both learned from this not to delay things, thinking there will always be a chance later. 🙁
Yes, Shannon. I’ve learned that, for sure.
Sorry for your loss.
I’m sorry for your loss.
My thoughts and prayers. I am so sorry for your loss. Great friends are a treasure and you are fortunate to have known her.
Tina was the first team leader I encountered for my very first Challenge and she really looked after us. She truly was one of life’s nurturers. It’s a sad loss for the blogging community and especially to those who knew her behind the scenes.
I love that quote. Thanks for sharing. My tribute to Tina is very short, but such an impression she made on me in far too short a time. I am richer for that brief contact.
I lost my dear friend and mentor just over a year ago. The loss still kicks me in the teeth on a regular basis. Here is what I know: Be gentle with yourself. Cry when you need to. Honor her memory and spirit by celebrating and supporting the places, ideas, people, and rituals she loved. Write. Keep on living.
Love and light to you. Loss is difficult. It should be.
She was a special lady.
And I don’t think there is any advice for loss. You just deal and go on. Or not.
Many condolences, and thank you for a beautiful tribute and for sharing a beautiful quote. When my mum died, John Donne’s “Death be not proud” was a great comfort to me.
I never knew Tina, but your post has meant that I shed a tear for… I was going to say her, but it is you and her friends who are hurting now. Don’t forget to remember in happy times (and happily) as well as sad ones.
So sorry for your loss.
*hugs* I have no answers or advice on how to respond to such loss. Loss affects us all so deeply. Losing someone is never easy, especially those special people in our lives (whether or not we have physically met them). God bless you, *GREAT BIG cyber hugs*
prayers and blessings!! A lovely tribute to your friend!
Sorry for your loss. I will have your friend in our duas.
Damyanti – Your tribute is beautiful and your sorrow shared by all of us. I cannot believe we will never hear Tina’s writing voice again, but I will keep her close in my heart. I published my tribute to her today; she was a huge influence on me.
Sammy we’re doing a sunflower fest for her, which I shall be announcing on my blog shortly. Hope you’ll participate.
That sounds like a wonderful idea, bright, happy and completely Tina! Thank you for letting me know.
My husband’s 90-year-old Mother is in her last days of life, and we are headed to a small town in Texas to be with her, make arrangements, etc. I’m not sure I will have I’net access through the weekend, but will check your site when I can.
Take care, Damyanti. Sammy
Condolences to you and the blogging community on this great loss. Thank you for sharing that quote….it is perfect.
I have lost almost everybody I ever cared for over the years Damyanti, in some small way I hope this helps:
From within a plan
Forever scented of summer
A hand reaches
Through the wintery mist
Scenting the empty winter air
Gently, gently, touching
Reminding me, there is a plan
One day to take me there
Where as summer I too will reach
To warm future winters
Oh, how I promise
To return to warm
With promises of an end
For me this is how I deal with loss. Even as a life long Spiritualist, it still hurts…
Sorry for your loss. It really is tough at first but everyday there will be something that happens, our is said that will remind you of her. Those memories will never be taken away from you, they are always there, and sometimes I like to think those special memories that happen all of a sudden are the ones we’ve lost giving us a simple” hello. I’m doing just fine. “Just remember who she was and celebrate that.
So sorry to hear this. I didn’t know Tina, but remember seeing her blog during the A Z Challenge. She sounds like an amazing person and I’m very sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing the quote.
I am so very sorry for your loss. Tina sounds like she was truly inspirational. As we get older the number of “real” friends diminishes, so losing just one is like losing a piece of ourselves. Hold those who are special to you close. ♥Tee
I am so sorry for your loss. Tina was very helpful to me during the A to Z Challenge. Thank you also for your quote. I found it comforting.
Sending you hugs,
I have seen death, twice of very closed ones. The key is to keep the memories tight in your mind, time heals the pain.
This was a beautiful tribute, Damyanti–Tina was amazing. It sounds like you knew her even better than I did, but I still considered her friend and I am very sad to lose her.
death…The only thing to be sure of in life. When I lost my Dad my mom went into the shell. I diidn’t have the option to mourn as I had to take care of my family as I was the head now. I once said to mother. Dad was with you for 25 years, with me for 20 years, with brother for 14 years. He died within 15 minutes. He lived for 55 years shared his life with us. He experienced death for 15 minutes. So why we remember 15 minutes when we have years of memory with us. Let’s celebrate his life and not mourn his death. His life is what gave us joy and cheer. Do not mourn Death but celebrate LIFE.
Sorry to hear about your loss. I understand from your words and from those of others who have posted in her blog what a treasure she mush have been.
We lost a good friend earlier this year and as sad as we were at the loss of “rufus”, at his funeral we truly celebrated his life by sharing all our fond memories and funny stories. We tried not to mourn our loss, but rather celebrate his life.
Remember the good times, the laughs and smile for the blessing that Tina was to you.
I’m so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with Tina’s family and friends at this difficult time. Hold into those happy memories x
oh gee, this made me cry really hard. I’m so sorry for your loss. I feel like i have been crying all day because I just published a post about my mom and while working on that post I was crying and now this…
I’ve been told — more than once — that it’s impossible to really love someone you’ve never met. I never gave it any credence, and I’m pleased to see so many people commenting here who also know the truth of it: We can be affected deeply by those people who enter our lives in ways other than physically. In fact, I would posit that the online friendship is often the deeper one because it always comes from the heart and does not rely on sight or touch. I’m so sorry for your loss. To the question of coping, as others have said, the constant pain transitions to something else with time. But know that it never truly goes away, and although it’s natural to want the hurt to stop when it’s fresh and intense, ultimately you may grow to relish its reappearance, as I do. When that time of remembering comes unbidden — and it always does, whether once a month, once a year, or with even less frequency — the scars reminds us not only of that person who has passed, but also of the simple fact that you have lived and loved. And what more important thing can any of us do?
I am sorry for your loss; the loss of the blogging community is mine too. I checked her blog only too late.
Gosh holding back the tears reading that and sending you some hugs. She sounds wonderful and memories will become sweeter x
Hey. I’m sorry about your friend. Be brave and keep strong 🙂
And, to answer your question of how best to respond to this time of grieving … there is no ‘best’ way except to sit in it and grieve and mourn. Be sad … and honour her life by being sad. Remember her with love and affection and let the tears fall. Feel the hole in your heart.
WHAT? NO…. I cannot believe this. All loving thoughts to her family, and her blogging community. What a great loss for all who knew her .. her spirit showed through in all her posts and she was such a credit to the April A-Z blog challenge.
And Damyanti, for you I am sad too …
So sorry for your loss, a special post, made me teary. Take care
I am so sorry to have lost a blogging friend. She was very helpful when I guest-posted on A to Z. Her posts were always interesting. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends. I’ll miss Tina. Sue
I feel for you, please try to be gentle with yourself at this time
I’m sorry Sweetie but there’s no easy answer to your question.I’m so sorry for Tina’s family and for her friends like you who feel the loss of a special person. There is hurt and a feeling of unbelievable loss and emptiness when something like this happens. Tears will come unbidden each time you think of her but if all your thoughts of her are happy ones, how you giggled and made each other smile, then the pain starts to disappear and you can think of her often without tears.You will never not miss her because that’s what being family and friends is all about, the love of being close to someone but you will adjust to the idea that this is not the last you’ll see of her. Take comfort in the fact that you knew Tina and that she touched your life for however short a time and that the friendship will be renewed at some stage.
xxx Massive Hugs xxx
Just be sad…and then be thankful. It will all balance out. I’m sad for your loss.
Damyanti, I ache for Tina, her dearly loved family and all of us in the blogging community who were fortunate to have known her. My prayers go out to all who were touched by Tina’s life.
I am so sorry to hear about your loss xo
sorry to hear that, your words are such a beautiful tribute to her
I’m so sorry you lost your friend. It’s the hardest thing. I do find the quote truthful, and think you’ve must have been friends in a former life and will be so again in the future. Take care. Hope you can find comfort in that thought.
Sad about this loss. But i liked the thought of ‘waiting in the next room till we meet again’ logic. It will make it easier and think positively. Time will heal.
So sorry for your loss; may you find peace and resolve in the process of your mourning.
I am so very sorry for your loss and the pain that loss brings.
I did not know Tina (although I feel I do al little now after reading what she was to you).
I do, however, know loss. When someone that was very close to me was taken from this physical existence it was as if my lungs couldn’t quite fill with air and I remember being in utter amazement the world kept spinning…music still played…people still drove down the street as if nothing had changed- how could it when the most important person in my life had just been ripped away? My world had just shifted on it’s axis a bit and no one else even felt it…there should be a moment of silence…the world just needed to stop for a moment and let me process this. For days (maybe weeks) I would catch myself holding my breath and have to remind myself to breathe…in and out…all day long. The essence of who your friend is will never be completely gone – just take a different form. Honor her with your work, thoughts and actions and continued love although she isn’t here. And do know time really does heals all pain.
For coping through the grieving process, I have found it is helpful to be gentle with yourself. Allow for sadness – but not too long. Try to focus on what you can learn from the experience of having known and lost this person. Again, I’m sorry for your pain and sadness. (Big cyber-hug from Seattle)
Contrary to popular belief, some people do present their real personalities over their blogs and I lost a friend the same way, so I know what you’re feeling, and I am so sorry for your loss!! A time must past for you to grieve. Then, only happy memories will remain. To grieve is only natural and it somehow strengthens us in the end…
That was Tina to the end.
I hope my tribute tomorrow does her justice. She was sister to many of us.
And I can’t wait until we meet again…
Your shared thoughts with Tina about death are very touching. So sorry for your loss.I can’t imagine how you feel right now, knowing that you’ve lost members of your family recently.
Rest in Peace Tina. Wish you were here n I could know you more.
What a beautiful tribute and testimony to how we can connect with each other in this digital world.
Really well done, D. She would love all of us sharing with each other and supporting each other.
We lose a fine neighbor in our WP community. We are better for her example she set in her suffering. We are never too strong or too old to feel the sharp bite of that loss. Such a loss should be grieved openly for as long as the hurt remains, and after that, the good memories should always come and crowd away any regret.
I am so sorry for your heartache. In June, I lost one of the dearest online (and offline) friends I’ve ever had. I understand your pain. Time, and memories… I wish you good days ahead when the blessing of having known her is more powerful than the pain of her leaving.
I share your sorrow. My comprehension of this is a bit hazy today, but I’m not sure an event like this can ever be fully understood in this life. Tina was one of those unique individuals who could touch many in many different ways. I’ll always remember her great sense of humor. She gave me laughs and smiles right up to the times when she was in her greatest suffering. There is a lesson to be learned in Tina’s life–I am trying to grasp that.
Tossing It Out
I’m so sorry for your loss … and for all of ours. I came to know of Tina through the Blogging A-Z challenge and it is hard to think that she is gone. But she’ll be there in spirit with us next April, right?! I love that quote that you posted. That is very powerful. I’m so sorry…but how lucky you were to have been engaged with her as you were. That was her gift to you. And yours to her is the everlasting love you have for her. Sending you a big hug.
Your words were beautiful, and I am so sorry for your loss. 🙁
I am so sorry to hear this. I lost an efriend a year ago and it hurt as much as any loss I had experienced in my physical world. Digital relationships are as authentic as any I’ve known. Take your time moving on. We’ll all understand.
I’m so sorry for your loss. The quote is beautiful and though I can look at it now and think of those I’ve lost, it is never easy when that loss is still fresh in the heart. Treasure your memories, be kind to yourself and find a way to pay tribute – a way to remind you of everything you meant to each other. That helped me. And time. Letting yourself grieve, but never letting go of all the beautiful ways you touched each others lives.
I did not know Tina; from what you’ve shared she would have loved your tribute. Losing a friend is never easy. Keep her in your thoughts and continue to celebrate those giggles. Her memory WILL make it easier.
I’m so sorry you lost a friend. A beautiful tribute.
Sorry for your loss.
this saddens me…your friend was a very courageous woman, my condolences on the loss of her companionship.
I am sorry for your loss. Tina Downey and I shared no interactions, but after reading your post I am confident that I would have enjoyed conversing with her. Your portrayal is that of a bright personality that adds light to others near her. Although she is gone, you remember her well.
The ability to share those memories, to inspire others to cherish something they can never have, that I think is one of the greatest gifts one person can give to another.
Such horrible news – I’m sorry for the loss of your friend, Damyanti.
I am sorry for the loss of your friend. I found the quote you both shared to be comforting and may offer you some solace in those moments when pain overwhelms. My sole advice is to lean into it and allow it to breathe. It will be healing, slowly, enduringly.
My condolences. That’s a lovely eulogy. I don’t remember having interacted with Tina, but I follow many blogs and don’t always know the real names of the authors and maintainers, so it’s possible I did.
My mother died on November 1, 2011, at age 69, two months short of her 70th birthday. She had led a life of privation and hardship with very few good moments, and she had been a good woman who had deserved a better life than she’d had. For my sake I wished she’d survived, but for her sake I was glad that her suffering was over and she was at peace. I don’t comfort myself with stories about any afterlife. Once you’re gone, you live only in the memories of those who remember you while you were alive, and in whatever artifacts and testaments of your existence you left behind. What comforted me was that my mother left ME behind. I remember her, and think about her regularly. Sometimes I’m angry that all her suffering has come to nothing the way it does for everyone who dies. At other times I am again glad that she is at peace. I had a dream of her speaking Russian to me, even though she wasn’t Russian and never learned the language (although someone once told me she’d had a previous life as a Russian farmwife). Still don’t know what to make of that dream. And in this apartment there is a memorial to her in an out-of-the-way but easily visible spot against the wall. Just a photo of her, some candles, a miniature censer, and the wristwatch my father bought her as an anniversary present in 1966, when I was only one year old. I look at that little memorial from time to time and think of her. In general, however, life goes on.
The few losses I’ve suffered, I’ve listened to this song . . . other than that, there are never any words that suffice, or even come close. You’ve covered the main thing . . . they live on in our memories.
I am so sorry. I wish I had something to offer to make this loss easier to accept, but there isn’t anything other than time. I too have lost many friends. Each loss is hard. Time eases the pain and each memory remains strong years later.
So very sorry for your loss. HUGS.
I am terribly sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and her family. May she rest in peace.
So sorry for your loss praying for you in your time of grieving.
I am soo sorry for your loss, that of your dear friend. My sympathy to you and her family. Blessings to all so close to her. Rest in Peace.