We never met Hazel, but we loved her from half a world away.
May 15, 2013
We never met Hazel.
Not in person.
Yet we knew her.
Knew her through the wonders of technology that let us communicate like neighbors next door, though she was half a world away in Wales.
She was as fiercely independent as any who live there. Or ever have. Or ever will.
We – countless numbers of us from near, from far – posted on a website. We met her there years ago, read her words there in thousands of always welcomed, always anticipated postings at midnight, noon. In between.
When she did need to rest, she would say it was duvet time, then add nos da – good night.
She was candid; surely the original non-mincer of words.
Now Hazel is gone and at this very moment we get word that in the cherished little garden she often wrote of at her home in the pleasant countryside that brought it to life for us, family and friends are memorializing her, celebrating her life.
And erecting a marker.
Planting a tree.
We were deeply, richly blessed because we knew her. Her wisdom. Her humor. Her forthright take on most everything about her.
If we were asked to limit ourselves – and fortunately we were not – to a single-word description of her, it would be:
Sometimes, we called her Haze, just as she sometimes referred to herself, though she was the epitome of clarity.
All of the time we called her friend.
She was rocking-chair age – though surely much too active to ever sit in one — yet ageless.
Young at heart, mind, spirit, soul.
She brought us smiles, those of us there on the website with her, even in those times when maybe we had little to smile about.
She caused us to laugh, even when laugh was maybe the last thing we wanted to do.
She made the sun shine, even when the ominous clouds were gathering.
She made us appreciate, even when we knew there were times when we failed to appreciate, thought we had little to appreciate. She made us realize that we did.
Her postings revealed her path was not always strewn with flower petals, though certainly she had a goodly share of them. But rocks too. Even a bolder here and there.
But she knew whereof she wrote.
Mirth was hers. And she cheerfully, readily shared it, sent it along to us via the internet. In abundance.
Cheers from across The Pond.
Joy was hers. And she readily passed it on to us in full measure.
She taught us.
About how things worked.
And sometimes didn’t.
About things that grow in the soil. And bloom. And die. And come again.
Things that fly and crawl and meow and bark and screech and howl.
Things that at once mystify and delight.
She taught us about the best of things.
About things that disappoint. And why.
So much about life.
The vibrancy of it.
The magic of it.
The demands of it. And how to meet them, confront them.
She shared. Our pains. Our joys. Our good times, our bad.
Focused on the possible.
So much so that our collective cup of all of these spilled over.
And then some.
And she did it online, something we were relatively slow to embrace, something comparatively new to us.
Did it through her written words.
Hazel’s life, to us, was a sermon.
An instructive, rewarding, inspiring, truthful sermon.
She – the online posters’ recognized, indicated matriarch of the website — is gone from us now.
Oh, so quickly, so soon, so sadly gone.
Some of the richness – the warm “conversation” that her posted words helped create and sustain — of that website has slipped from us.
Yet, because she let us know her – really, really know her, as so few people do – she is in a quite real way with us yet.
And always will be.
Nos da, Hazel. Nos da.
It’s duvet time.