Today I awoke to the joy of freshly piled snow and the euphoria of an unexpected cancellation at work. I reveled in lying in bed for a few extra hours as my unfortunate husband had to get up at six and put on his tie and jacket. To be home, alone, to work on my projects was a joyous gift until I checked my Facebook feed to see that Misty was dying. In my first blog post on 30WaysofWalking I wrote:

My list making was interrupted on four different occasions in the past year. Through both Facebook and some face-to-face gossip, I learned that four friends, from different parts of my life, had died or were diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Therefore I have known for over a year that Misty was going to die. She is thirty, just like me. We were married only days apart. I sent her a check when her best friends and her newlywed husband sent word through my inbox of an auction to pay for her medical bills; she was too sick to continue teaching and had lost her health insurance. I sent her a handwritten note, but by the time it arrived, she was too sick to respond.

Facebook is such a funny thing. I recently finished The Fault In Our Stars a story about two terminally ill teenagers who speak in erudite and witty dialogue about the way Facebook commemorates the dead. Hesitant to be, as they describe, someone who is a voyeur to Cancer I found myself struggling all day with what to say if anything, and analyzing if I were to write -who am I writing for? We were college friends who did not remain in touch other than through casual contact on social media.  If I were at work today, I might not have realized she was passing.  Since I was snowbound today, every hour or so I found myself logging back on to read and to check her status, which was updated by a friend at her bedside. How odd is it that even our dying is broadcast on social media?

As an editor she published some of my earliest poems and was the catalyst for many parts of my life as a writer.  Moving away from poetry and toward a less promiscuous genre, I have been at work on several essays this year. As I await a reply on my queries and continue to work on my manuscript I am haunted by the texts that she will not write and curious if her closest friends will make an effort to posthumously publish her work.
Blogs are not books. These musings might never reach a broader audience, but these posts are for Misty. In her honor, dear reader, take a long walk and revel in each step.


About 30 Ways of Walking

Gina Liotta's writing has appeared in or is forthcoming in The New York Quarterly, Slate, The Paterson Literary Review, LIPS, and The Healing Muse, among others. She lives, writes and teaches in New York.
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