I just heard that Leslie Harpold died. I don’t know if it’s true, or what happened, but I had just been wondering earlier today why she hadn’t updated the Advent Calendar in a few days. I never met her in real life, but I was pleased to call her a friend. She was so supportive of me when I first start writing here at whygodwhy. She sent presents when my children were born. We almost met in person twice. The first time I had to go to San Francisco for work. We made plans to have dinner at her house, she planned the menu and everything. Then at the last minute she got called to New York for a deposition for her lawsuit, one of the things she told me about in email but never wrote about online. The second time was when Josh and Alex got married, but she was too sick too attend. I was excited that she had recently moved to the midwest, now it seemed much more likely that we would get to meet soon.

My friend Matt called me to tell me about Leslie. He had met her in real life, just this year. He heard from Dan, who heard from Judith. I checked my email but there was nothing about her. I went to websites of people I thought might know her, but there was nothing.

I was so mad and frustrated for her when hoopla got stolen from her. I know that she enjoyed life and her friends and all she’d accomlished online and off, but the stories she told made it sound like her life had been one sad event after another. Stories from when she was growing up, and about her husband, and about her lawsuit and medical problems. I was so proud of her, leaving San Francisco and starting a new chapter of her life in Michigan. It was exciting hearing from her about each new adventure in home ownership. Getting the color of the bathroom just so, the attractive fireman who helped her paint.

I didn’t always get along with Leslie. Actually I fought more intensely and more frequently with her than with just about anyone I’ve ever met. But we always saw each other’s point of view, and we always made sure things were better in the end. She made it easy. It was always so clear with her, when she cared about someone. She never held back or hesitated to tell you.

She told me once that when she first read my story Emails From Dead People, she called Paul Ford in the middle of the night to read it to him. I don’t know if i was true, but it was one of my favorite stories, and one of the nicest things anyone ever said about me.

I don’t know what else to say. I’m writing so that I can stay in front of the computer, and maybe someone will send me an email to say that it was all just a misunderstanding.

It doesn’t look like it’s coming, though.

I’m so sorry for her mom. And Jill is in Italy, does Jill know?

So many people drop off the internet and drop away from your life, but even though she hadn’t really been updating her main website lately, I still knew what was going on her life. That’s the sign of a real friend, right?

Leslie, I’m sorry that we didn’t get to meet in person, but I’m really thankful that you were in my life, and that you shared yours with me. And I’m sorry that my kids won’t get to meet you, because they really loved the presents you sent, and I think they would have really liked their Aunt Leslie.

I hope that you are somewhere. I hope that your body is whole again and that you are with people you love. It was wonderful knowing you, and a blessing to be one of the many, many people whose lives you touched.

Take care.