One of the challenges with having been around a while is that you begin to lose those who have also been around a while. Ones you’ve grown close to over years and years of interactions. One with whom you have developed and fostered a friendship.
Yesterday was a big challenge. Jo Beverley passed away. We first became friends twenty-four years ago in an online writing group before there were really online writing groups. I was drawn to her wit. Dry and sharp and I just loved it. I was also drawn to her wisdom and willingness to show newbies like me the ropes, helping us to avoid mud puddles.
We’ve had great conversations. You know the kind i mean. Those Life, Death, and the Universe kind of talks where you’re totally free to be perfectly frank because you know you might be met with disagreement but never without respect.
She was always ready with an encouraging word. Ready to prick the hard topics or one’s conscious. You might not know what you think at the beginning of a conversation, but you had a firmer grip by its end. Jo made me think. She helped me act deliberately and with thought as well as conviction.
In other words, she was my friend–and I tried to be a good friend to her also. Friendship is, after all, a two-way street.
In this past week, I heard from her twice. And the day before her passing, she was working in ten minute stretches, trying to finish copyedits. That tells you how much writing meant to her. And a great deal about the woman and her work ethic.
I’m going to miss her. But my heart is full of years’ worth of memories and the wisdoms shared. Wisdoms I’ll carry with me the rest of my days and continue to attempt to pass on.
Rest easy, Jo. Your work here is done. Now your new adventure has begun, but your warm and wonderful spirit shines on.