Last week I learned of an old friend’s passing.
I wasn’t ready to write about it, but I couldn’t gloss over it either. It had been years since Victoria and I had anything resembling a friendship, but she was once a significant person in my life. To learn of her death was heartbreaking.
When I moved back to Vancouver after a year and a half of living in Calgary, she was my closest friend. Neither Victoria nor I had much money, so our main activity was browsing. We liked making fun of the hideous overpriced clothing in the old rich ladies’ section of The Bay. Our young, uncultured selves would marvel over the products offered at the Asian supermarket (geoduck!). We even managed to get a kick out of poking around completely ordinary stores like Ikea… to the point I went through the trouble of illustrating a scene for my then blog using MS Paint because I hadn’t brought my camera.
Victoria, like me, was into writing goofy stuff on comment cards. Here’s what she left for the Royal London Wax Museum back in 2005 (I archived all my blog posts from 2000 to 2008):
“I came when I heard about your ‘Last Supper’ exhibit. When I saw it, I was enraged to say the least! The workmanship was sacrilegious! Peter didn’t look dignified enough. Judas didn’t look enough like a betrayer. You didn’t even make me look like the son of God!”
It still makes me chuckle. I loved her quirky humour.
I moved away, and she went on to attend Gallaudet University where she was able to easily find other deaf friends who enjoyed her humour as much as I did.
It was somebody she met at university who informed me of her passing; the deaf community is small like that. Of course, had I not deactivated my Facebook account earlier this year, I would have known the circumstances leading to her death.
Facebook’s original purpose was to keep people connected, but I was finding that people were using it mainly to share goofy memes and political articles, so I saw no reason to stay. I was still connected to Victoria through Twitter and Instagram. Or so I thought.
Everything she went through with her illness was posted on Facebook. The last thing she posted on Instagram was a brief video of a train going past fields on which I commented, “Wisconsin? Interesting choice.” She responded by explaining that she was en route to Philadelphia.
I had no idea she was headed there for medical treatment. I don’t know if she realized that I was so out of the loop that I had no idea what was going on. I missed the GoFundMe campaign started by her and her mother.
I don’t think she knew how much I valued her even though we were no longer the friends we once were. I guess I didn’t even realize how much I cared about her until last week.
I started searching her Flickr for a photo I knew she had of us together, but she had long deleted her account. There are many mentions of her in my archived blog, but I have very few photos of her.
Here’s one of her wearing a $300 rain jacket on one of our “let’s make fun of The Bay’s inventory” trips.
Victoria had been living in Seattle for several years. I figured I’d get to see her again once I was back living on the west coast. I missed her. Now, I’ll miss her forever.