A few days ago a woman whom I loved passed on. Though I never had the opportunity to look directly into what I know would be her soul filled eyes, I spent many hours, some during the most difficult times of my life, chatting with her online or via phone. You see, we met in a recovery chat room online, somewhere between 5 to 7 years ago now. She was my friend, a confidant, always offering me support, and when asked, guidance from the gentle loving soul she was. There are several of us, a dozen or more, who stayed in touch with each other via facebook. Some of us now long past the struggles and challenges that brought each of us into the rooms that housed our broken hearts. For those of you who doubt, yes, the answer is , yes, you can love someone you have never met.
Whitewolf was a woman of very few words. When she first came into the rooms she sat quietly just listening and taking in our conversations. When she started to share it was behind closed doors, in private messages. It quickly became apparent to all of us that we had one special friend here, one old soul, one beautiful person who loved and cared about us. Whitewolf became part of my (our), daily lives.
Her family became part of our “family”. Many of us, became friends with her daughters on facebook. Oh how she loved her children, she was proud of them. Some of us played word games with them on facebook, others of us spoke in private…Special people with huge hearts. I, and I’m sure “our family” sadly remember the morning we jumped on line to learn that one of her daughters had died unexpectedly the night before. We mourned with her. She taught us, by her example, that we must accept that to which we cannot control. She also taught us that love does not stop or end when a person passes. Quite the contrary, it continues to grow.
When Whitewolf was diagnosed with cancer she private messaged me. I was the one of our “family” that had been affected the most by cancer. My experiences with such brought me immediately to the realization that her long term diagnosis was not good, but still I (we) hoped, and we prayed. As Whitewolf went through treatment she informed us of updates only, there was no complaining or self pity. She would pop on once and a while saying she loved us but was too tired to stay up and chat. Her daughter kindly kept us up to date on her status.
Too quickly the day came when she and her family were told there was nothing more they could do for her but to keep her comfortable. That evening she and I spoke on the phone for over an hour. We laughed, we cried, we sat silently, as we both knew too well we were powerless over what was happening. The only control we had was how we handled the situation. Her online family continued to post our/their love, prayers and thoughts on her facebook page, our hearts bleeding with the knowledge that we, too, were losing her. That last telephone conversation I had with her, I encouraged her to move closer to her sister, to her family though she said she didn’t have the strength. Family was most important to her, knowing her time was short, though incredibly sad, was a gift in that she could choose where she wanted to spend her time. Whitewolf wanted to spend it with those she loved most.
When told that death was imminent, I (we) prayed for her and her family, I (we) still do. When notified that Whitewolf had passed, I (we) cried. How is it possible to love someone you never met person to person? How is it possible to mourn someone you have never met? I don’t know the answer, but I do know unequivically it is possible. Whitewolf’s online family loved her very much and I (we) do, have, and will always miss her presence. She had a wonderful energy, one of love and wisdom, one of acceptance. Her consistant caring brought many of us stability, her sharing taught many of us and gave many of us hope.
Mere hours after I learned of her passing I was traveling to California for work. My mind was on Whitewolf, her family, my online family. When the Captain informed us that we were flying over The Rockies, my mind went to Whitewolf, lover of nature, admirer and strong adoration for God’s animals, particularly wolves. She so loved her dogs, and loved to share stories. I recalled the last time we spoke I had told her “If we never speak again, know that I will be looking for your sign to me that you made it”…she quietly agreed. As I sat on the plane looking out the window at Mother Spectacular Nature, my thoughts were with my friend who had passed just hours before. I closed my eyes, said a prayer and told her “You promised me a sign. I need a sign WW”…. Then I sat quietly, pondering this “gift” I have. Questioning the validity, was it wishful thinking? Did I make up these “signs” or looked for something that really wasn’t there?
Upon landing In St. Paul, MN, our layover and connection spot, we happily trekked off the plane. What stood at the end of the gate brought tears to my eyes. I stood there quietly, with my jaw now resting on my chest looking at what was in front of me. There, first thing was validation and answered prayers. With no time to stop and gaze, and also having a plane load of people behind me eager to catch their connection or greet their family, and with little time to catch my/our connection, there stood the most beautiful sight. There, at the beginning of the terminal, and ending of the gangway stood an absolutely beautiful pack of hand carved wooden wolves. Three of them, one standing tall, proud, protecting, another howling, and a baby in front of them. I instantly knew this was my sign from Whitewolf. Whitewolf had made it, she had arrived and was with her maker, for this I cried. “Thank you WW, thank you for letting me know that you are okay, I love you”.
I wanted to snap a picture but I was so starstruck by these beautifully made and perfectly placed wolves, the significance of what they meant and said to me. Tears kept me from being able to see, to find my phone. Off to our gate, though I didn’t want to leave this sight. When our flight was postponed an hour I was determined to go get a picture for my online family, for her daughter, but time ran out and I had not succeeded in finding it again. I asked my friend Cindy “Did you see the wolves”… no, she hadn’t. Ever doubting myself again I asked my girlfriend Sheri “Did you see those wolves?” “Yes, she said, they were beautiful”. I was so relieved that she said yes. Why is it I still doubt the gift(s) I was given? Why am I still shocked when my prayers are answered and I am given what I need to know…..to process, to share, to accept?
I wrote a blog in Whitewolf’s honor on the trip out to Minnesota, and lost it somewhere in space. This was disappointing to me until I walked off the plane taking in this beautiful sight, this validation that my/our friend had arrived safely. I am supposed to share this, so that my fellow online family members, and her family would know through what was perfectly laid out in front of me, Whitewolf was okay.
On the return trip home (this morning), I decided to go in search of that again. Remembering that I had been previously and mysteriously paged to come to a gate when I had backtracked hoping to find the wolves again, and having been told by the Delta Representative that “We didn’t page you”, I realized I was missing something here. I went back to the gate I had heard myself paged to days before in that very airport. Just past that gate where I had hadn’t gone before because of time constraints, stood this magnificant pack of wolves, handcarved, tucked perfectly in a corner . A corner in which many, I’m sure, walked right past without even seeing them. This time I stood looking at the wolves, this incredible validation, and sign that Whitewolf was okay. She was home, with a smile on my face and joy in my heart I said “Thank you Whitewolf, thank you my friend. We are surely going to miss you”. As I snapped a couple of pictures it became quickly apparent that this wasn’t necessary, I didn’t need “proof” for my conviction, of the truth, for this generous sign from my friend. I was only allowed to snap a couple of pictures before I was forced to move on. I had hoped to get a picture to attach to this dedication, and I did. For the nonbelievers perhaps? For those who needed confirmation? Perhaps for those yet to accept?
As I boarded the plane with my friends, with pictures now on my phone camera, I realized why I had lost the first blog I wrote. It was to tell this story, to help others and her family know…Whitewolf is with her maker, and given the details of this carved “pack” I’m sure there are other messages in this that aren’t for me, but for someone else. A mother? A father? A baby reunited? Three in a pack whom have passed on? I know not. To my online family, to Whitewolf’s family and friends… I give to you this experience to take as you wish, with hopes that this will bring to you, too the peace, and acceptance I now have since her passing.
Not coincidently as I near the closing of this blog, I look over to mountains and a beautiful sunset on the East Coast. My journey is almost complete, Whitewolf’s journey here was complete, and as I sat on the plane looking at this beautiful scene, I knew what this too meant. The sun had set, thy Will be done. I will forever miss you my friend….Rest in peace, run with the pack and know, that while your work here on this plane is done, the love and adoration, your teachings will stay forever etched in our hearts. You are so loved.
Once we were off paved roads, now on back dirt roads almost home, a large owl flew towards us and landed in a tree. All three of us were in awe of this beautiful sight. Not only another sign from Whitewolf, but this one carrying the message that she was and will be watching over us.
Thank you Whitewolf for all that you shared with me, with us. Rest in peace…