There have been many times when people have said "They're not real friends. It's just online." Now, I've known this is baloney for a long time, but sometimes you get poked by the reality of knowing and not "knowing" people you meet online.
I have never met Samantha. In fact, I've never really even chatted with her online either, merely shared a "like" and a comment every once in a while. She was only a Facebook friend, after all. I'd met Samantha fairly soon after I was diagnosed. I had been searching for any support group I could find and found her through some Facebook group or another. The rest is littered with cliches like 'struggle' and 'brave' and 'heartrending'. She inspired me with her strength, and her family's strength and loyalty made me smile, reminded me of my own.
Samantha had a particularly ravenous cancer - melanoma. She had been fighting tooth and nail when I met her and continued fighting, even as the news kept getting worse and worse. Through numerous chemo treatments to clinical trials, she didn't quit, though you could see in her regular updates that she was struggling and tired.
I found out about her passing pretty late. Mostly because I'm not the best FB friend. I'm bad about going past the update page, but I did notice I hadn't seen an update lately and I knew that it meant the worst. I procrastinated, like with everything else and now I feel like the worst kind of friend.
Goodbye, Samantha. Peace in that unwanted but much needed rest. You might not have been a "real" friend, but you meant a lot to me.