I’m not really classed as young anymore, yet I still feel far too young to be writing a blog post like this.
There’s often a debate about those friends that we don’t “see” are really friends. If most of your contact is online, how can you really be close to someone?
My answer to that, for what it is worth, is it depends how you view friendship. If it is simply someone to go for a drink with and gossip with, never talking about anything more serious then whether the latest film has the right lead male, then I guess online friends aren’t so good. But if friendship is having someone you know you can talk to, rely on to be truthful even when the truth hurts, and to support and encourage, then often someone at the other end of a message is just, if not more valuable.
Me? I value people who take me as I am. People that I can chat too, about daft things and serious things, and that understand that I’m there for them if they need me, and when they need me. I need to know that they offer the same for me, but understand that sometimes I need to be quiet, because what I’m going through needs to be processed before I can talk about it. Whether we speak daily or occasionally, that friendship never changes. Does that make me selfish? I don’t know, but that’s what friendship means to me.
Why I am raising this today?
On Wednesday evening I glanced briefly at my Facebook author page. My daughter was happily playing with her Dad, building one of the many presents she had a Christmas, so I had a rare five minute to myself. What I saw changed everything. The rest of this week has been a blur, and led to a lot of soul searching; and yes, a few tears too.
You see I saw a simple message on my wall reading “RIP Lindsey”. My heart fluttered, that awful stone sinking feeling you get at the thought of bad news. I clicked on the page the post was made to, thinking, or rather hoping, that it was some joke, maybe someone had beaten her at archery…
What I saw there my brain failed to process. A few, and only a few, posts expressing grief. Still, hoping for a miraculous mistake, I posted a message to The Alliance of Worldbuilders, had anyone heard off Lindsey since New Year’s Eve, the last time I had heard off her? Then I cautiously, hopefully posted a comment within one of the posts – could someone pm me and let me know what happened…
Despite the sharp grief that came with it I will be eternally grateful to Lindsey’s friends Charlie Upton and Martine Barons, who both responded quickly, and privately with the news I’d been dreading. Lindsey had died on Sunday 5th January.
Always upbeat, always seemingly positive, this dragon-loving, warm hearted author was gone. Losing someone you love is never easy, but somehow I always feel worse for those that have lost at Christmas and New Year. For Lindsey this means though that she’d had one last wonderful day with her children, walking on New Year’s Day. Suffering a ruptured aneurism later that day she was admitted to Walsgrave Hospital, and seemed to respond well to surgery at first. She died, five days later with her family by her side.
That’s important to many people, but for Lindsey I know it would matter most. You see one of the strongest things we had in common, was our love of our families. I remember when Lindsey lost her own Mum, how she coped with it, and how her foremost thought was to support her own children through it. The last thing on earth she would have wanted to do was cause them any pain, but they will also know that throughout their lives she gave them her all, and loved them eternally.
Lindsey J Parsons, author of The Return of the Effra series. Talented author, artist, archer (even winning medals for the Stratford Archers), loving mother and friend. To read just a little of her enviable talent, take a look at Week Four of my Castle of Dreams series. She was all of these things and more, and I’m proud to have known her and been able to call her my friend.
Since Wednesday, the news has spread amongst the Alliance of Worldbuilders, the online group of authors from across the world that we belong to. The grief has been strong, fresh and raw. Some only knew her through our common love of all things fantasy, others were much closer to her than I. But one thing is common, our sense of needing to do something.
For now, we’ve all changed our profile photos to an image that Lindsey created for the alliance. So appropriate to who we are, it also seemed a small, but fitting tribute for the immediate.
For the future, who knows, we’ve got ideas, and when the time is right I’ll share them here. But in the meantime, take a look at the work of this wonderful woman. You won’t regret it.
If you’re still reading this, by now you will be wondering why the title to this post? Fantasy lovers are all different, we have a lot in common, but there are things about fantasy that some love and others less so. My own passion is magic and castles, the two are inseperable, as you’ll know if you’ve read Leah. Lindsey loved all things dragon – even having a stone dragon on the cornice of her roof at home! I’ve had this quiet thought in my head ever since I started to come to terms with her loss, which is a journey I’ve yet to complete.
Lindsey, I hope you are now flying on the wings of dragons. Rest in peace my friend, and know that you were loved.