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I met Julia Larsen in 1990 when we were both in high school. We didn't go to the same high school, or even live in the same town for that matter, but during my junior year my school sponsored a choir invitational and invited Billings Senior. Julia and I ended up standing next to each other in the combined choir and somehow bonded enough that we were friends by the end of the weekend.

For the next ten years or so we wrote letters to each other. LOTS of letters. I don't think we saw each other in person more than two or three times after that choir weekend, but Julia was the kind of friend who you didn't have to see every day (or even every year) to feel connected to. We wrote about high school stuff, college stuff, meeting and dating the guys that we would eventually marry, marrying them, heading off into the real world and getting jobs, etc. She was a much better letter writer than I was, I have to admit, and in the end in spite of her efforts the letter writing sort of petered out. I thought about her from time to time and wondered what she was up to.


In April 2007 I'd moved in to a new house, and one day when I was going through a stack of boxes I found all those letters she'd written so long ago. I also found her Christmas letter from 2002, which happened to have an email address in it. I did a quick web search to see whether it was still valid, during which I discovered that Julia was also on LiveJournal, and then shot off an email of the I don't know if you'll remember me, but... When I logged into to LJ the next day, she had already added me to her friends list.

I'd known from that quick web search that she'd been diagnosed with lung cancer (it's on her Friendster profile) so it wasn't a surprise when I started reading her entries and she was mentioning things like wigs and chemo and different kinds of medicine. She seemed to have such a good attitude about it, and I don't think I ever really took in how serious it was. I live near Seattle, and at one point Julia and I had said that the next time she came to visit her mom, we should arrange to get together for lunch or coffee or something.

I'm not a TWoP member so I didn't know that she'd gone to the hospital last weekend, and I didn't find out that she was gone until the post in her LJ yesterday. I'm still getting used to the idea. In a way it's strange to find out that someone you hardly ever see could leave such a hole when they're gone, but I think that's one of the things that made Julia such a great person to know.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
astrablue
Jun. 1st, 2008 04:20 am (UTC)
In a way it's strange to find out that someone you hardly ever see could leave such a hole when they're gone, but I think that's one of the things that made Julia such a great person to know.

Absolutely.
jenelope
Jun. 2nd, 2008 06:58 pm (UTC)
I've been describing Julia to my friends and family as "not a close friend, but a good friend." I think with someone like Julia, it's doesn't matter how little you saw her. She made a lasting impression.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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