“I love you, too! And I’m so bummed that I won’t be there to see you blossom in the care of and caring of the others. I know you will nurture the group, tending to them as individuals and the whole.”
When I opened this letter and began to read, I slowly started to sob.
Rara has been one of my closer friends online since I started CardCastles in 2012. She entered my life as a fan of my artwork. Once I did a little digging, I was astonished at what a blogging celebrity Rara was, and even more so that she liked my work. We became like family over the years and when I first heard the news, I was saddened to the deepest parts of me.
That same morning we all heard, I received an invitation in my e-mailbox. It said that I was invited to be an administrator over at Stories That Must Not Die, a new site that Rara had created. Clearly, our girl had something up her sleeve. I was a little busy at the time and knew it would be a challenge, but I accepted. I would have done anything in my power for Rara, especially now.
In our first few weeks, the team here was all in shock. Some of us were grieving. Some of us were angry. All of us wanted answers. And then something “wondrous” began to happen.
We became friends. We started to function as a unit. We helped heal each other.
“- and I’m hoping you will allow yourself to be nurtured BY them. There’s so much wisdom, strength, compassion, and drive in the group and I am (all at once) excited for the future of y’all and sad I will be missing it.”
She couldn’t be more correct. We’ve said many times amongst one another, that Rara knew exactly what she was doing when she brought us together.
I sobbed as I read her words because I just couldn’t conceive how a soul as bright as hers could be all caged up in some dingy, dreary place. When I first wrote her, I sensed something, and I let her know all about it. I drew her rough sketches of something only she would understand at the time. It was a picture of a sun and a moon with faces. The significance of it all had to do with a children’s story I wrote and illustrated a while back. Rara loved that story and I knew it would bring her some calm in a bad situation.
My senses hadn’t failed me. I knew Rara would receive my letter when she was having a particularly difficult day.
“Your intuition did not fail you. Your letter arrived on MY HARDEST DAY HERE. We were moved from 2-man cells to what they call “the tank” – a 40-man dorm. It’s loud and unruly and happened after my court date where I stressed all day about the 3-year sentence term. At least 5 panic attacks were pushed back that day, but the smile you sent me pushed it away for good. I slept easy that night, with my sunshine and moon in my hands.”
I’ve been a terrible friend. After that, Rara asked how I’ve been. I wanted to say “terrible dear, my world keeps falling apart…” but how could I? My constant, unrelenting issues seemed like not as much compared to what she was going through. How could I sit there and unload when she was the one who should be unloading on me. Then I remembered something Goldfish said about trying not to always “measure the bad” and instead just realizing that all pain is pain.
A lot has happened since February. So many more unfortunate events and it seems like every time I get the spare time to write something heartfelt back to my friend, another major catastrophe takes place. Still, I made a promise to her, that I would care and look after this place while making sure all of us are okay. I haven’t broken that promise.
If all goes well, Rara will be home by summer. I miss my friend. I cannot wait for her to be back here with us where she belongs.
I’d like to leave a message here for her for when she gets out: I have a confession. I was institutionalized at one time around 2007. This was two years before I had my son. I know I hinted this to you before. It was like hell on Earth. Even though it was a life-altering experience, I grew from it. I became stronger. One of the friends I made inside there said something on one of those darker nights that stayed with me. “Sometimes when you’ve had so much bad, the bad doesn’t seem so bad after all.”
What they were basically trying to say was, time eventually softens the blows. I know you may need some adjusting when you read this, and your heart may be a little sore, but you’ve nurtured us too. Now let us nurture you.