Ann and I became fast friends on Vampire Rave, more than 10 years ago. I referred her as a Dominar, appointed her my Assistant House Master, and referred her to take my place as Master of House Eternal when I moved into the role of Regent. We spoke every day in some manner- on the phone, text, VR message, or Facebook. We talked too long, interrupting my dinner cooking, needing to leave the house on time for various things, interrupting my grocery shopping, and even sleep (lol, and all the same for her). She flew to New Orleans three times and stayed with me, as well as coming across the Canadian/US border to have dinner with my husband who was on business in Detroit- and smuggle him some Cuban rum as a gift).
Knowing my son is a major pasta freak- she twice shipped cases of various pastas to our home. She also spent *way too much money* sending me imported tea from England because she knew I loved it and couldn't buy it here. From her I have books, jewelry items, a few t-shirts, and a handmade a scarf she made for me for Christmas this past year. Things are just "things" you might say- but Cancer says "Thoughts are Things"- and Ann has taught me these "things" are her thoughts.
On her visit just over a week ago, we went to a fabric store I took her to last time so she could browse. On her last visit, she spent $150 on high end fabrics and accessories to make me these fleur de lis throw pillows. She was diagnosed with cancer shortly thereafter, and couldn't get around to making them. She brought me all the materials back to NOLA, and on our trip back to the store she saw some ribbon she far preferred over what she'd purchased before, and it was a highly illogical expenditure- $61 on this ribbon for a person who's a crappy seamstress (me). "It's gotta be the meds," I told myself... But surely she knew just what she was doing. It was, after all, no different behavior than in her healthy years.
We did lots of fun things on her previous trips to NOLA, but just a little over a week ago she treated me to two amazing events- the Lestat Vampire Ball, and the Endless Nights Vampire Ball. She grooved in her wheelchair, chatted up with the attendees, and inhaled a serving of jambalaya. She couldn't get around easily, but she did not wallow. She colored in her adult coloring books every time she went to "rest", just 10 days ago she was fervently whipple-stitching on her ball gown because the zipper was messed up. She wanted to go to church with us on Sunday- and our church, although Episcopal, has an exact mass as the Catholic Church... She stood up from her wheelchair every time in reverence as the rest of the people, standing any length of time as required. When we weren't out and about, we power-watched the Food Network and YouTube videos via Apple TV of "Sorted". We had a good time. She treated me to all my favorite restaurants as well, and insisted on attending my son's National Honor Society induction. I didn't sleep a wink all week- staying up to take care of things, and keeping my eye on the clock to wake her up to take her medications.
For months up to the visit we all understood that they would be leaving on November 3, but a shock as Ann went to bed on the 1st, her mom's alarm went off reminding her of their departure in the morning. They were not ready at all, and Ann was wiped out. I didn't even lie down that night, doing their laundry and packing Ann's luggage as she was too weak. The morning was a rush, and we dropped them off at the train station with, well... kind of a "see ya later" hug, as they were running behind and needed to get checked in ASAP. I knew I needed to get a better goodbye- but I also knew that she would *never* leave me. I still feel her here right now.
She didn't get to take part in the Orlando festivities she'd planned of Disney and Harry Potter World, as she had a stroke on the day of arrival. Her last celebrations of life were here in New Orleans, where she and her mom piped-dreamed as we drove around that she would get well, move here, start a new community acupuncture business, and hire me to run her administrative end. Her mother told me when she was napping, "Know that she loves you guys, and will watch over you when she's gone." Ann very matter of fact-like and nonchalantly told me (while putting on her makeup for the ball) that she was sure she would die in the month of November. It was hard to imagine that could be true, as she stood in front of the mirror with new color added to her face... Replacing what the disease had taken away.
Ann knew/knows more about me than anyone in the whole world. We had more in common than any other person I've known. She accepted me 100% and never showed me an ounce of disapproval. Not sure I'll ever have a friend like that again.
She was just here... I'm drinking her orange juice- and there's a still some Cokes left from the loot she bought me while here. That's just how quick this has been.
I met Sahahria on VR several years ago ( Ignore the 1 year I have been here a bit longer than that ) And we hit it off straight away I remember lots of chats and laughs while playing Hangman and lots of talks with her and others.
She always had a way of just getting me ( no matter how off the wall I was). I left the site and was away for a couple of years before coming back and as soon as I did Sahahria and Images got me back in HE which I am truly grateful for.
About this time two years ago I was truly hurting and she was there for me I was lucky enough to spend the weekend with her and the boys eating pizza drinking wine and getting my ass kicked ( much needed ).
I honestly believe that without her and that weekend I would not be here now. She was truly exceptional and will always be with me every time I see a Dachshund or see someone rowing or even drink my favorite wine I will think of her and yes miss her she really was one of a kind and the world has truly lost someone amazing.
Biggest regret of my life was not making the trip to NY for Otter's wedding and meeting Doe.
I really didn't have the money or energy to go all that way for a wedding and...well... Mom had just died and I was/ am still sad from that loss. But I knew of her illness and once I got my head above water I tried to show her I, and the other two here, cared for her.
I remember sending her cards, hoping she got a smile out of them. Then she moved and before I could get her new address seen she was going to travel with her mom so I stop trying to send her cards. Wish I had made the effort to of emailed her, something to let her know I cared.
When I read Ann was going to be in NY for the wedding I kind of knew it was the only time I would meet her. Nightgame and I was looking up hotels rooms, talking about me taking Friday off for the ten hour drive which would kill Nightgame as far as sitting in a car that long but we was up for it. Then coming home Sunday. A one day to visit but we both wanted to make the effort, see our beloved Otter and Doe.
Then the business truck was burnt in a fire. And I really had to stay and deal with trying to keep the company in business as I dealt with the insurance/ claim. Even today- three months later- still dealing with it.
And I missed meeting Ann.
We didn't talk all the time like Images and her. But I felt she was a woman I could of tell anything to. She was a strong brave woman. I remember the morning she shared with me her rowing times, some of her life. Her family rental business- always helping me when I asked of her knowledge.
I have candles I purchased from her- and a signed photo of the charity logo she ran for her friend who died of cancer. I made a donation and she sent me that photo to thank me. I had it in my office, in a pile of "Don't trash but keep" papers. I pulled it out after I learned of her passing and it is pin to the board behind my office door. I see it often, think of her.
I remember in this House, her humor and fun. I remember the 1's rating and the drama she got from that simple thread post/ action in her other Coven.
Yes- I regretted not going. Not meeting this special person in life. Letting her know she was loved by us, cared about and so many candles and positive energy sent her way.
Might just be one of the biggest regrets in my lifetime.