It's safe to say that my time spent in the Blogosphere has been brief when compared to others, especially considering how sparse my contributions have been in that time frame. And while I understand, possibly unbeknownst to some less familiar, that the bonds created can be a bit fickle, it doesn't detract from the fact that real, positive friendships are made. And that the people you come into contact with can leave everlasting impressions.
To me, Shanique Roca Terry is one of those people. I originally typed "was", given the circumstances, but I feel that would be false. She is one of those people. Always will be. Shanique (or Willow Wimp as I had known her by — I tend to stick to using nicknames or online personas) passed away just over a month ago from what appears to be a multitude of medical complications that I never knew she suffered from. Leaving behind a son barely months old, who she hardly knew because she had been hospitalized the majority of her time post birth. Looking into the events leading up to her death — her outspoken family citing the possibilities of negligence at the hands of the hospital(s) that she frequented during complications — can become fairly depressing, fairly fast.
Upon learning of her passing, I became very emotional, and I let those feelings seep from me periodically over the days following the news. One would think I was best of friends with Shanique. That we shared some incredible unspoken bond (perhaps we did at some soul level) and that we kept in touch each and every day after meeting online. But the truth of the matter is that we barely spoke at all, beyond the first few months after becoming acquainted in the Blogosphere back in May 2013.
There was a blip in time when we added each other on Facebook, an awkward moment that was either too "real" for her (or I had the impression it might be for her), and short lived. After those moments, we barely spoke and it's something I regretted, but was (is) a common theme for me and the world of blogging. I have a hard enough time forging friendships with those I interact with face to face, let alone the multitude I "meet" online from around the world.
This means that, unfortunately, only after her death did I come to learn that she actually became a police officer (something she was striving for in the time we kept in touch), that she had found love, and that she had given birth to a beautiful baby boy. While I was going to make an entry after hearing about Shanique's death, I refrained, being uncertain of how to construct it. But at about 230am this morning, she sprung to mind, which felt random until learning that it was her birthday (now a day or two ago, pending when I get this entry up) via a mutual friend's posting, and took it as a sign.
So while I have no rhyme or reasons to how I am presenting this, I wanted to share my thoughts and memories (what little I have) of her, and celebrate her in my own way. I think she would appreciate that. Willow Wimp always seemed to like my writing style (which is more than can be said about some of those I know in my day to day lol), for whatever reasons!
I remember how, once upon a time, she declared me a blog crush. An honor if I ever heard one! And I remember how cute it was when she felt the need to explain that it meant it was only my writing and not me personally (because you know... all the ladies want me...), so as to avoid any awkward confusion.
I remember her drive and passion to become a police officer.
I remember her courage to talk about the many personal, emotional experiences of her life, which most people tend to hide and bury deep within themselves. She allowed herself the strength to become real and vulnerable with those she connected with. It instilled trust and motivation for others to do the same.
I remember the dialect that shined through her writing, giving readers unaccustomed to the culture a small snippet of its flavor.
I'm incredibly proud that she succeeding in her dream of becoming a police officer, I can only imagine with the strong, pure intent of making the world a better place. I'm grateful beyond words that she was able to experience motherhood, even though I have no real idea what her standpoint on it was. I know without a doubt she loved her child fiercely, near or far, during the complications that arose (and still even now). I know she felt blessed to have him in her life.
It is apparent just how much she loved and was loved by those in her life, and I wish I had gotten to know her better. A common theme with life and death, I know, but true nonetheless. She made the world a better place and even though she is gone, her memory will live on through those she touched with her fierce, yet gentle heart. A heart possibly too big to keep contained in the fragile shells we are offered on our time on Earth. Now free to soar without bounds, continuing to spread the Love she knew. Was. Is.
We may not have kept in contact over the years, but I felt it was important to express that she is remembered. Whether for me, for her, for others. It's just simply fact.
Happy Birthday Willow Wimp.