Once upon a time, back in 2008, I was in a bad place. I had many long stays in the hospital and ultimately had major surgery. The recovery was long and very painful. Just over a month and a half later, my father became very ill. I left my home and family in Columbia, MD to live with him in his home in Arlington, Virginia to care for him. He was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer just days later.
Let me back up a bit. Before I became ill, I was working alongside my husband at a wood flooring wholesale business. I had my own little office in the corner of the upstairs offices. I loved my little job. I had a little boom-box I kept next to my desk. On our trips into work, Rob and I would turn on WARW; The Arrow, 94.7... which later became The Globe. The morning show had Weasel (remember him from the old WHFS days?), and Kelly Knight. The banter between the two of them was so entertaining. I loved Kelly's laugh. She had the most wonderfully wacky, honest laugh! I looked forward to hearing it. No, seriously; I did. She usually did the weather and traffic spots, but would get into these great conversations with Weasel. I thought on many occasions how cool it would be to know her and to joke around with her. She spoke to the audience like we were already long-time friends.
As I recovered from numerous bouts of Diverticulitis, I kept in touch with family and friends through a social network. Remember MySpace? Yep. I kept my radio on. I can't really recall what made me actually look her up, but I looked for Kelly Knight. You know, that chica on The Globe in the mornings? I found her. I asked to be 'her friend' I saw that she had like six jillion friends, already. If anything, I thought I'd just be 'a friend' to show my support. She accepted immediately. And that was that.
I remember when she had her daughter, Gracie. She posted a lovely tribute to motherhood:
I’ve discovered that parents really are Super Heroes in disguise.
…I’m humbled and honored to be inducted into this club.
I’ve always wanted to have super powers!
I posted a simple congratulatory note in response. She replied with a simple :) Time went on and like I mentioned above, was now living in Virginia. It was a very hard, painful - both physically and mentally - time for me. Even though I was surrounded by my wonderful family (dad's house was right in the middle of his sister's and her son's homes), I was alone. My father, now hospitalized, was growing weaker and sicker. I felt so alone. I ached for my husband and children. I missed them terribly. I began posting to MySpace my situation. It was a release for me. I could not just sit around at night and do nothing - although I was warned by my surgeon that if I did not settle down that he would "Put me back in the hospital so fast my head would spin, sick father or not." I remember feeling especially down and lonely one night. It was too late to call my husband (work/school night), so I turned on the computer. I went to MySpace. I saw a little notice ... I had a message. I was shocked at the name that appeared: Kelly Knight.
I opened my message. I was shocked again. This was no little message. LONG story short, she told me that she has been keeping me in her prayers. That she is thinking of me. She told me that my sons "Are gorgeous and to be careful (yes, I was peeking at your pics)!"
I read and re-read the message. I then sent a reply, thanking her.
And that is how I met Robin Bumbaugh... aka Kelly Knight.
We exchanged many, many messages after that. She sent me a card when my father died. We began discussing everything. She confided in me that her marriage was in trouble. She worried about her Gracie. Somehow, we stumbled on the subject of my hometown, Columbia, MD. She immediately typed back "I used to live there, too!! Ever go to Clydes!?" We exchanged phone numbers and planned to get together.
I let her know about 18 months ago that I would be having a hysterectomy. That's when she told me that she too was sick. I had not heard from her in a while. We again made plans for a meeting. "This is ridiculous; we have GOT to meet, Doll!" She told me. She called me Doll. Always Doll.
I had my medical issues... and so did she. She dropped a HUGE bombshell in one instant message. She had had a stroke. She was mad, and determined to heal. Then she told me she had Lynch Syndrome. Chemo was to start within the week.
The last message I got from her was a few weeks ago. She was now in rehab, learning to walk all over again. Again, she was angry and was so determined to get better. She told me she was doing okay, but then changed the subject. She wanted to know how I was doing, and was very specific. She knew of my troubles, too. Again, she promised that soon we would meet, as soon as we both were doing a bit better. "We must meet, Doll!"
Today, Robin died. I am so heartbroken. All I can think about is how a little message of support on MySpace turned into a wonderful friendship - from afar. If my friendship with Robin has taught me anything, it's taught me to never put off. I'm caught in the "wouldda, couldda, shouldda's" now, which I know she would hate. I have a feeling if she could say anything to me, it would be to look out for her somewhere. That's she'll still be hanging around.
I remember telling her how awful her diagnosis was, and how sorry I was that she had to go through so much shit. Her reply was simple:
Don't be sorry Babe, apparently I CHOSE it! (if you believe in reincarnation) - I musta been a really, rude, rich antichrist in the last life LOL - let me get over this divorce and jobless hump, then we will have a party! You are like an old friend. It would be great to see you on NOV 6, but I know its a hefty price tag. Grace is awesome - thanks so much for asking about her - she and grandma Dolly are my best girls - each day she chats me up more and more, really wants to read and was yelling this morning in her crib that she was reading! !t was funny! Has taken to singing Tom Jones in the car - its very sweet- she is awesome. wants to be in a marching band.
I love you tons - Me
I'll be on the look out. In the meantime, your laughter is forever with me.
|Robin Bumbaugh - aka - Kelly Knight|
Good night my dear sweet friend,