Words teeter on the edges of my mind, thoughts plump and wavering, waiting to drop in tandem with the tears on the edges of my lashes.

The world goes quiet.  Smoke in the air has created a strange, unsettling day, and when I walk I'm sure I'm moving slower than I usually do. 

Some days I wonder, is this just what happens when you get older?  It isn't a surprise, the spreading cancers.  It's no longer a question of how or how surprising, but a question of who now and how long until.  These are the times when your soul screams at you, do something, but there is nothing to be done.  The unimaginible manifests, and we stop wondering how we can survive it because there is no longer any choice. 

I don't know her but I've known her for years.  Through these words she weaves, beauty and poetry and inspiration and camaraderie, raw and vulnerable, she has shared herself with the world.  In her sureness and unsureness, she has given so many people hope and made us feel less alone.  

Before I knew in my heart of hearts that my own story, narrative and memoir, was the spine that holds me up in this world, I knew her words touched me for reasons I couldn't fully understand.  She has captured the magic of connecting through experience, a magic I now see sparks of in my fingertips and am learning to nurture.

Ten years ago, I met her, the only time we've ever been in the same room, maybe the only time we've ever been in the same city.  She was the first blogger I knew who wrote a book, and it was beautiful.  She showed me that this weird but heartfelt virtual place IS for real writers.  Rockabye sits on my shelf still, her signature scrawled inside the cover.  So much has happened in those years.  

Her family is like a fairy tale, magical, and full of so much love I can feel it states away.  She is the kind of parent creating the children we will be thankful for when they are the ones in charge.  I think things will be better then.

My heart is made of vines.  Some of them grow and encompass those closest to me, but in this digital world some tendrils have shifted and blinked and become virtual, ends opening in faraway places to people I somehow love without physical connection.  I think giving away pieces of my heart is part of how I experience my humanity.  

Her words are poetry and beauty, they are raw and unwavering, her own vines are reaching and spreading into so many hearts and they come into me, touching me in that longing, black hole part of my soul where the desperate love and sorrow live side by side.

My star stuff is a glitter and dirt mix of empathy and longing and love and strength, black dust of the times when it was dark, specks of light from the future I'm building, and a spattering of loss that rises and falls within like oil in water.

I love them and my heart aches for them, these faces that seem so familiar of children I have never met, these hearts dear to the hearts that are dear to me, these mothers, these sisters, these lovers.  My words are my gift, my soul, they are all I have, so I write.  I pour myself like hot wax and they leave their impression, and I know I am not the only one forever changed.