The first warning came at my obliquely, a sharp, concerned comment from my wife. “Is there something going on with Blaire? Your aunt’s Facebook is….” She trails off.
She looks at me across the living room, concerned. I grab my laptop off of the coffee table, nonchalantly snap open the lid, saying “oh yeah, she has been sick for a while again, she isn’t in remission anymore… its been rough.”
Power up, log in, online, login, search for Pamela’s page. Oh no.
Search for Blaire. Oh, no. No.
Her last update, a few days ago, was “Can’t stop coughing for the life of me.”
Above that, her boyfriend saying goodbye… and then her friends.
Search for her sister Madelinn’s page. Oh dear child, oh no. Please, let me missunderstand this. This cannot be. But it is.
I call my father, Pamela’s brother, who is on vacation with my mom and sister and brother-in-law. It feels wrong for me to tell them, but worse to shield them from the sad facts of the matter. Rarely am I so speechless as when he picks up in Florida. “Dad, I’m so sorry. Blaire’s died.”
As the night wears on, all of my extended family, Mason’s, Shermacks, Ells, status and posts started to change, to statements of sadness, of loss, of grief. Miss you, Blaire.
Today, I look on her page, and her friends, her many many friends, are all writing their goodbyes.
Most of them have changed their profile pic to a picture of Blaire. Most of the pictures, she has brilliant blond or pink hair.
It is a wig. The treatments had made her hair fall out.
A year or so ago, she had told me blond’s do indeed had more fun.
I met Blaire two years ago, Pamela had brought her daughters to the east. My daughter Emma met them, my son Rhett did not, to his current sad regret. This was not the first time that I was amazed by the power of genetics and of heritage and family, these people who lived 4500 kms away had similar habits, laughters, evil senses of humor. It was cool, it was exciting. These people, Madelinn and Blaire, were without a doubt our family.
I tried to convince Blaire to come to NSCAD when she graduated from high school. Halifax seemed like a long way from Edmonton for her. We stayed in touch on MSN then later on Facebook. She got sick before she could really make those choices, and she fought long and hard for several years.
A bright light, a wonderful person, a sarcastic little monster in that special way that seems to be the dominant and adored Mason family gene, I am so glad I met her, and glad to stay in touch.
I now have two friends on facebook who can no longer update, who will never see the outpouring of grief, the tributes, the comments, the love and friendship they have inspired.
Even five years ago, I would have gotten a phone call, been sad and there it would have ended, other than occasional introspection. There is less seperation now. I can see my family, Blaire’s friends, her sister, her mother, and live moment to moment with them in their grief. I almost wish for the old way, almost, because grief is hard.
I found a quote online last night that said it all for me – Grief is the price we pay for love.
Miss you Blaire.