Reenie

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.”
Source: http://www.journalscape.com/ifwriter/2006-01-18-13:23

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,

for Reenie

she is leaving
it was on a bulletin board
broadcast to all interested parties

standing alone
I read in a hearts quiver
the expected news I dreaded

her last word
Love, her final missive
with that she took my hand

Maggie Turner

God speed and God bless Reenie. May we meet again.

9 Comments

  1. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    Sounds like you knew Reenie a long time. I’d noticed before that Reenie’s Reach has been around for a while, so that says a lot.

    I know what you mean about wondering if people are for real. I’ve also had contact with people who were figments of their own imaginations, so to speak. It can jade you about people on the internet. Fortunately, in my 22 years on the internet I’ve found many more real people than fakes. Helps restore your faith that there are good people out there.

    No doubt that Reenie was a fighter. She fought for herself, she fought for others and herself when it came to how people who needed oxygen supplements were treated, she fought to maintain her dignity and individuality in the face of a debilitating illness.

    I think maybe the thing I loved about her the most were her last two posts. I had the feeling she was saying goodbye, but she did it with quiet grace, directing our thoughts onto greater things.

  2. Indeed, well said. I found myself going through Reenie’s last entries to find a woman who lived with such grace, despite the difficulties she had to deal with. Peace to her spirit and comfort to all who knew her.

  3. Nora

    Hi Maggie, Very nice poem. She touches us all. I’m still trying to get a grip. Did not think it was coming so soon and was not really prepared. Sort of speechless.

  4. Nora, what you wrote on your blog about Reenie was beautiful. I think Reenie allowed each of us to see something of most cherished selves in our interactions with her, a priceless gift from a friend.

    I have been thinking about Reenie, what she would be doing if she had lost one of us. I am pretty sure she would continue to celebrate life, she loved life. She loved her life, and she loved the life in others. Loving life is honouring her memory, she would like that I think.

  5. I was new to Reenie and she was new to me, I mean blogwise, so it was a bit of a shock to me to realize our newfound “friendship” would be a short one. Short but sweet.
    I’m sorry for your loss, and mine.

  6. So many of us will miss her Kate!

    It is strange. I am mourning Reenie in two dimensions, this is the first time I have experienced this phenomena. One dimension is the online experience, so public, so shared, it has a certain feeling to it, a good feeling. The other dimension is a private one, which comes to me when I am sitting quietly listening to the leaves rustle in the breeze, the patter of rain, watching sunshine dance, this is an internal experience, a completely solitary experience.

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