I have recently lost someone I really appreciated and whom I expected to meet some day. It's been three years of collaboration and messenger chats about work and about this and that. She was not a translator, but she was the hell of a translator.
Yesterday I heard from a third party that she died last week. I cannot confirm. My only contact to her life was herself. I have her facebook, her msn messenger, her mail. But, of course, she is not there to answer. So I have to believe what I’m told, and to ignore the million questions that pop up in my head: was she sick? She never said. Was she happy? She certainly seemed so, from her cheerful disposition during our conversations. Yet she had problems, like everyone else.
It is a strange situation, you can meet anyone from anywhere, but it is not what we call a relationship in the literal sense. I didn't even know her face, I didn't even ask to see a picture of her. What for? I knew her from her conversation, from her work. That told me more about her than a picture could ever do. I didn't know her face but I think I knew her, at least a little bit. But I do not have a relative to whom I can express my condolences, only the bunch of people who collaborated in a project, and who are as stunned as me.
Lately, usually after a conversation with her, the thought came into my head that I would like to meet her personally. Another continent, an ocean to cross... but she was worth it. Now it will not be possible. I will miss her so much, but she will be around somehow.
It seems stupid, I didn’t even know the woman personally, I never spoke to her or heard her voice... yet I have been crying since I heard about her death. I know I will miss her a lot, we shared so many things.
So I just wanted to air this reflection out there, for all of you who build relationships on the net, for all of you who know that meeting someone in person is no longer an essential thing to build a friendship. Of course, a further step is meeting in person but... sometimes you just do not have the chance.