Reenie, of Reenie’s Reach, left us yesterday afternoon.
I haven’t taken it in, not completely, not yet, probably not ever.
The internet is where I met Reenie, and where we got to know one another. It was our only avenue of connection. How do human threads of attachment grow so strong in such an environment? This will remain a mystery in my life.
I do not remember when Reenie and I first encountered one another. At first I didn’t believe she was “real”. Twice before I had encountered individuals on the internet who presented lives that were fabrications, for their own reasons which did not seem to be particularly nefarious. Was Reenie who she said she was?
As time went by I began to appreciate Reenie more deeply, and decided that if her presentation was fabricated, it was beautiful, it was art, and I loved her for it.
Reenie named her new blog Reenie’s Reach back in 2006:
“Oh, and my site is called REENIE’S REACH because I like the sound of it – that I’m always reaching. There’s so much hope if one continues to reach. Yeah, REENIE’S REACH says a lot about me. Always reaching.”
At that time I don’t think Reenie realized just how far her reach would extend. She reached into my life, and the lives of many other people. She reached a state of grace, living with quiet dignity, exemplifying the most admirable human qualities, allowing herself, and thereby the rest of us in her circle, to be fully and gloriously alive and human.
Reenie once wrote to me, “We have more in common than you know.”
There is no higher praise, no thought more comforting.
She lived gracefully through her days with IPF (Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis), a disease that slowly arrests the lung’s capacity to use oxygen. This same disease took my father-in-law. It is not an easy disease to live with, to die with, it is fatal.
When Reenie recently wrote that her children were coming to see her, all three of them, I knew she was easing into saying goodbye. Her next blog entry, her last, summed up how she lived her life, how she saw other people, and what she gave freely. “Love” was what she wrote, just one word. And like an arrow, that word pierced my heart with a deeper and broader understanding of life on planet earth.
Every one of Reenie’s many friends would understand her meaning in a different way. Reenie would have loved that,
she is leaving
it was on a bulletin board
broadcast to all interested parties
I read in a hearts quiver
the expected news I dreaded
her last word
Love, her final missive
with that she took my hand
God speed and God bless Reenie. May we meet again.