: a person who you like and enjoy being with
That is the definition I found in the online Merriam-Webster.com dictionary.
Since the day before Thanksgiving four women I know have died due to ovarian cancer. Only one of them have I actually met in person and that was only for about an hour. But I reacted to their deaths as if they were friends from work or church or my neighborhood.
I have heard people remark that you can not be close to people you only know online and you can't be friends. I will admit I get a bit annoyed when people say that. Three of the women were members of two different groups for ovarian cancer survivors on Facebook and one I met on Twitter first and then friended her on Facebook and eventually met her in person. One woman lived in Engand. Another was the mother of Cynthia ( also an ovarian cancer survivor). But for me my online friends fit the second friend definition of "helping and supporting someone." These women were no different than women I have met in person at various ovarian cancer awareness or education events. or at conferences or courses. Afterward we stay in touch through e-mail, support groups or phone calls.
We meet because of our disease but bonded as we supported each other and shared information about treatments, side effects or how to emotionally handle the stress of scan time. And as with other friendships along the way you learn other things about the person such as the shows they like to watch on TV, books they like to read, where they were born, what work they do, where they went to college and what their hobbies are. So it really is the same process of building a friendship as if you had met in person.
I value each and every one of the women I have met in person as well as those I only know on social media. Our numbers are not as large as those diagnosed with other cancers but we are strong and want to make connects in person and online and their is value to both.
RIP - Benita, Cheryl, Elaine, Barbara I was honored to have known you.
Every Day is a Blessing!