The Widdershins

Tuesday Morning Blues: A Tribute to Chatblu

Posted on: April 5, 2016

Good morning, Widdershins. You’ll notice that today the blog looks different, in a more somber theme. That’s because we are mourning the loss of one of our own: Our beloved Chatblu. She passed away last week due to respiratory complications and a form of pneumonia. She was sixty-seven years of age.

The family has kindly sent us a picture. Here she is:

Our chatblu

Our chatblu receiving 1st prize at a cat show

 

We are all going to share our memories with you in this post. I’ll go first.

MadamaB’s Memories

It’s been a while now since The Widdershins was born, as a spinoff of The Confluence. Many of us were not comfortable with the direction of that blog, and we wanted to find a place that was both lefty, and supportive of Israel’s right to exist. (Not easy to find!) So, we created The Widdershins. Unfortunately, passions ran high amongst that OP (Original PUMA) group of bloggers, and they eventually left and formed their own blog, leaving yours truly with no one to help carry the posting load. Given that I am still working and my writing is for love, not money, I knew I’d have to find another writer, and soon.

I had previously noticed Chatblu amongst the commenters. I loved her pithiness, dry wit, and political acuity. I reached out to her to ask if she’d be willing to help. Reluctant at first, she eventually agreed to take on the challenge of writing for TW, which included learning how to use WordPress (it’s definitely a bit of a learning curve, as Fredster and Prolix will tell you!) and putting up with my perfectionism when it comes to grammar and spelling, even on the InterWebz. In time, Chat became my beloved sister blogger, both because of her writing and her unfailing support and sense of humor. She was my rock during the chaos of the first and second incarnations of The Widdershins. She was so clear-headed and balanced in her thinking; I relied on her sound advice and patience to keep me on a steady track, and although TW is entirely volunteer, I knew I could always count on her to show up when she said she would.

After such a meaningful history together, when my work took me to Fort Lauderdale, we knew we had to get together! We managed to work out a lunch, when both my husband and her significant other were around and available. We had stone crab claws at a local place, and had a long and fascinating conversation about everything you can think of. It was then that she instructed me in the Southern view of the Civil War, which we’ve discussed a few times on TW. (It’s odd how all the writers on TW are Southern except for me! So much for the theory that all Southerners are Republicans.)

I feel so privileged that I had the chance to meet her, and to know her for all these years. She was truly a special person, and I really wish we had had more time with her. I’ll miss her very much.

Fredster:  My dear sweet Southern sister and fellow blogger is gone

When I first came to The Widdershins it was as a guest poster.  I suppose it could have been considered my audition.  My post got some comments and soon I was asked to become a regular poster.  I had really wanted that to be the outcome and then the first time I got to look at the composition screen to create a post I thought “Oh Lord what have I gotten myself into?”.  A quick email to chatblu was returned and she included her phone number and suggested I call and she could walk me through the process.  I did call her and got through the process just fine with her assistance.

After that our phone calls became more frequent and we shared different things from both of our lives.  I learned about her daughter, her three grandchildren and her “special fella”.  We became more than blog friends even though our friendship was a long-distance one.  Soon we were exchanging e-cards and then Christmas gifts.

Another way she shared and helped was that she became my own personal Minute-Clinic!  With her over thirty years of nursing experience I called her one time to ask about some medical thing I had going on.  She told me to take a picture of it and email to her – and I did!  After that it wasn’t unusual that I would call her to say “Hey, I’ve got this knot, bump, splotch or whatever on my leg, arm, neck, face so I sent you a picture.  Can you tell me what it is and what I need to do for it?”  She never failed to respond and if she wasn’t sure what it might be she would tell me.

When I had the Momster in the nursing home she was there to advise when I had questions and was also able to provide some insight into legal issues and responsibilities on the nursing home’s part.  And when the Momster passed, she was with me through calls or emails as I needed.  And that was our chatblu:  warm, personable, willing to help in any way she could.

I’m going to miss her terribly.

Prolix:  My thoughts about our friend

It has been decades since I was the new kid on the block, but around these parts, since I’m the newest correspondent, I can pretend such a designation might still be believable.  When I first started coming around, eventually I screwed up my courage and commented.  When I did, I was welcomed to TW, as so many have been, by our Chatblu.

It wasn’t a gratuitous social gesture.  It was sincere, concise, kind, and it felt very real.  It was exactly who Chat was.

The following are some of the things I wrote to her family.

As the years pile on, I’m more attentive to the miraculous paths epiphanies take to find their ways into my life in order to bring illumination.  Chat was one of those ways.  She was one of those extraordinary people who you never meet in person, but seem to have known your entire life. 

I knew Chat to be highly educated, but her wisdom wasn’t a product of schooling, it was a result of her lifelong quest to acquire it.  Being someone naturally predisposed against the advice of others, Chat’s wisdom was always welcome since it was underpinned by anecdotal purity that said, “Been there, done that so long ago the t-shirt is now a retired dust cloth.”

There is no distance that can lessen a friendship if you are thoroughly convinced of a person’s intrinsic goodness. Chat’s friendship was not burdened by distance or lessened by its virtual nature, it was genuine, it was based in her goodness, and it will be desperately missed.

For our music today, I’m posting a few of her favorites. I hope she’s listening somewhere and smiling.

Please share your thoughts about Chatblu in comments. We’ll keep this post up for a few days to make sure our community is aware, and has time to be heard.

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72 Responses to "Tuesday Morning Blues: A Tribute to Chatblu"

I couldn’t read all your post because I can’t see through my tears. But I will, when I stop crying. Heartbroken. RIP, Chatblu. We love you here and always will.

Thanks, GAGal. We are right there with you.

I am so sorry, you guys. She was the backbone of this blog and you could trust every word she wrote. When she disagreed with a point it was with class and respect and when she agreed it made me proud, as if I had won an award. When I saw your comment on SD madamab, I had such a strong feeling of dread that I didn’t want to come over here. This news is overwhelmingly sad. Sending love through tears to The Widdershins.

A loving and moving tribute to an exceptional writer who brought such insight to this blog. She will be greatly missed.

I think chat would approve of James

Oh wow! So sorry to hear this! She’ll be missed.

I’m so sorry to hear about Chat. I never knew her very well but I do remember her from the PUMA days. I kind of dropped out and didn’t blog for a while.

I remember “meeting” you Madamab at Talk Left.

Such sad, sad news.
Chat was always so warm, welcoming, knowledgeable and so much fun.
I never met her but her death leaves a hole in my heart.

So very sad. Words feel useless now. …

OMG I feel so awful about this. I never knew what she looked like till now, what a lovely woman. Bright, fun, easy to ‘chat’ with and now just……gone. Life is so fragile that way. Honestly, I don’t know what to say except I am shocked and so sorry she is gone. And I know this is a huge blow to the hearts of the Widdershins and a massive one to her family. Wish I could hug you all.

I’m pretty much a moron when it comes to technology.
I have no idea how to post content from YouTube, but Chat would take my requests (“with pleasure, Sweet Sue”) for music videos and never make me feel dumb because I relied on her tech smarts.
That was just like her, wasn’t it?
She was such a doll.

Thanks all, for the wonderful comments and support. It really helps. I knew you would all want to know about her passing. I hope she knew how much she was respected and loved!

P.S., she would be tickled pink to hear that she was considered tech savvy. She started out being so uncomfortable with the WordPress experience, that she would email me her posts! I knew it wouldn’t take much to get her up to.speed, so we had a few training sessions. She became a pro very quickly. 😊

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

:crying:

I have fought back tears since I got the email from her grandson about her passing. Now, reading all of your thoughts they are beginning to well up and come out.

GAgal: I’m sure that chat would approve of James Taylor. No problem there.

When I saw MB’s post of this sad news on FB this morning, I was so sad. Chat was always the welcomer. She, and many of you, were with me in 2009 when my mother dies. Chat sent me her personal email three years later when the unthinkable happened and cousin/emotional sister was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. Ever the nurse, Chat did not sugarcoat what I knew to be true. She was just there-with honesty, faith, support and love for all the people here.

I think it was Chat who began posting film clips and music on Sundays. I looked forward to it after hectic weekends. I loved it when Chat would post on TEP, and Pat would go nuts. (Sorry Pat) As a person she was all you’d want in a friend. As a writer, she was always on point.

I can’t imagine this place without her. Love and hugs to you all.

Mary Luke

I remember when I was with questions regarding my health issues, Fredster went to Chat for information for me. When Fredster loves and trusts a soul, you know it’s a good soul.

What a devastating loss. Just heartbreaking. She was one of the pillars of our little corner here, offering smarts and commonsense to every subject with her wonderful dry sense of humor. I will miss her so much. She looks a lot how I pictured her–I always thought she had red hair from her comments about her heritage.She’s absolutely lovely. Am shocked that she’s gone.

MB, Fredster & Prolix, you’ve created a beautiful memorial for her. I’m glad you put up her Dawgs fight song.

Is there someplace we should go to leave a comment for her family? Did someone say she had a fb page?

The comments are all beautiful btw.

annie, I’m waiting to hear from either her daughter or her grandson with information on an online condolence book. As soon as I get that info I’ll put it up here. I may even go ahead and put it on the right side links.

Mary Luke, hey! Nice to see you again although I hate the circumstances.

Thinking about our dear Chat and her being from Georgia, this clip came to mind from Designing Women

Fredster, that was adorable.

annie, not inferring anything with the clip but Chat was indeed proud of her southern heritage.

Hello, my name is Samantha and I’m Chatblu’s granddaughter. Thank you everyone for your kind words about my grandmother.

Nana was just as you all said, unfailingly honest, remarkably witty, intelligent and uncommonly kind. I miss her with my entire soul.

She spoke often of this blog and showed it to me when I was in high school. She, and by extension many of you, shaped my attitude and thoughts about politics. Thank you for being a part of her life these last few years, I look forward to reading back through all her posts.

If anyone has any questions or sentiments please feel free to email me at samanthacwhitmore at gmail dot com.

Samantha,

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Please let your family know they are in our thoughts during this time of loss.

Please come back often.

Hi Samantha, glad you came by.

And yes, read chat’s posts. I truly think you’ll enjoy them.

Samantha, Chat spoke very proudly about you. Your words are so beautiful. We are thinking of you and our hearts are with you.

I have spent the entire day WTF-ing at this news. She was on an awesome cruise, dammit! I’m just stumbling with shock and WTF-ness.

Madama B hit it (as usual) on the head with how we all met—and disintergrated—at the Confluence. That’s where I met Chatblu too. A small part of the “OPs” (didn’t even know there was an ‘OP’ acronym, like ‘OG,’ Original Gangster, lol!) turned into a pundit-making business; I was too busy trying to keep the roof over ours heads during the recession. The whole I/P fight was awful, it was terrible and I never, ever wanted to even comment on anything ever again. I lurked and lurked and lurked, this was the only place I could come to read. Ain’t nobody got time for that! I did and do stay connected with Madama B occasionaly via email and on LinkedIn (hey girl!) and ended my exile until Hillary decided to become a candidate. Only here.

Chatblu wrote me a private email and asked me to blog again. After that ugly experience that Madama B described, I was so turned off, but I did tell her that I loved her and thanked her for her trust in me, but that I wasn’t ready yet. I’m just getting out of the recession (quantitative easing, anyone???) But I did promise her that when I had something to write about, I would. I’ve been mulling and mulling a topic I want to discuss, and it does have to do with the ugly past that Madama B wrote about. I made a promise to Chatblu and I intend to keep it, if the Widdershins’ permit.

Chatblu, I want to dedicate this song to you, so Floridian Blue in your teal/turquoise Cat Lady award, I LOVE YOU.

Thank you also for your Lazy Weekend posts, the music shared will never leave me. Ever. If heaven exists, may all the musical greats have welcomed you with a booming choir and a kick-ass band:

SM, that’s a great song choice.

Fredster, I’m just heartbroken.

Samantha, you are a wonderful and lucky young woman, I’m sure she’s so proud her grandbaby and please know that your grandmother was loved and deeply respected by her blog friends.

Your grandma spoke her mind freely, but always with very well-sourced and thoughtful commentary. Her love of music, just great music—please don’t stop listening to her music, as it always had a message. Please play the music she loved always wherever you go. Hugs and strength to you and your family.

Hey SM, girl. You are ALWAYS welcome here. Thanks for your wonderful posts about our Chat.

Anytime you want to post, just write me. It’s a done deal.

Another one for Chatblu from the Queen of Soul. Tell Pavarotti we said hey!

Pleas keep the Lazy Weekend post going n her honor :)!

Madama B, you are my sister, nuff said :). I promised Chatblu that I’d write it and I’ll send it your way once it’s “there.” You know that “there,” in that writer space. I hate that I didn’t get my post ready before her unforeseen passing.

SM, to borrow the words of Ms. Carly Simon, “nobody does it better,” your words are beautiful about our friend.

Oh wait, we have to celebrate the awesome Chatblu! Here’s another of her favorites and mine’s too. Let’s dance! Let’s shout! This is Marvin Gaye at the Montreux festival in 1980, if you can get the entire concert, please do. But here’s a link that I could find, Youtube took down their link but try this one:

http://www.mgoon.com/ch/wogmddl/v/703050

Prolix, you are too sweet and forgiving :)! This is the, I swear GAWD HONEST TRUTH: As I was responding to you, my daughter bursts in to say that she just heard “I am the Walrus” song in English class today and loved it. We talked about Chatblu and my blog friends, so here’s from the kid and me, to you, the Widdershins and to our dear Chatblu:

Awww, all the comments, and thinking back to ’08 when so many of us came together and what we went through. dKos, TL, Confluence, and Widdershins & Skydancers, and many of us are still around on those 2 latter sites and at Uppity’s. I never met chatblue either but read her posts and comments and loved her insights and her style. I’m in healthcare too, and what she wrote range true. chat, we are carrying on. chat, we miss you.

Samantha, thank you for stopping by. You had a wonderful grandmother, and part of her will live on in you.

Chatblu was my grandmother. And reading all your kind words means a lot. Know that she made a connection and had such an impact on another group of people is amazing. She always talked about this site, but I never took the time to read her work. I have spent the last couple of days read her old work and it has been very helpful with the grieving process. As I read, I hear her voice talk to me about this weeks political issuse or the most recent national crisis. I am very young and “politics” has never been my thing. I am 18 now and with my Nana’s help I am keep informed, but now that she is gone I don’t know how anythings is going to be the same. Their is so much I want to share but sadly I did not inherit her perfect diction. I would call her in the middle of an essay just to ask her for the exact word I was attempting to recall. You would hate the game scrabble after you played with her. I must end this post here.

Again, thank you all for you kind words. I know if she would be touched by all of your kind words.

Puppydawg, I love your name. I can guess where it came from!

I am so glad you’re reading her work and that you came by. You and Samantha are always welcome. You are in our thoughts.

Samantha and puppydawg, its so nice of you to stop by and visit with us. Yes, your nana was loved and admired here. I’m the blogger of my little family, but my husband and son also enjoy The Widdershins; my son (lakerwade) wants to send his own message when he gets home tonight, but here is a message from my husband:

Like everyone else, I am shocked and saddened at the news. My wife had wondered why she hadn’t commented when she would have been home from the cruise. I greatly enjoyed chatblu’s musical weekend posts and her enthusiasm for football. I have gotten into the habit of checking to see if the Dawgs had won during college football season. It was obvious she was very intelligent and an all-around good person. She helped our son do a post a year or so ago and was so nice and helpful about it. My wife and I send our sincerest condolences to Lynda’s family, friends, her fellow Widdershins and other Hillary bloggers. She will be greatly missed.
PS, I will still check the Dawg’s scores and ask annie put up the fight song when they win, unless Fredster beats us to it!
Best Regards,
Rick (socalhubbie)

Samantha, with your permission I’m going to edit your email address in your comment so that no one can come by and grab it for spamming purposes. It happens. 😦

Puppydawg,

First, awesome screen name.

Second, thank you for coming by. It is truly happy-making to know our collective affection for your grandmother is being communicated to her family. We thank you for that.

Third, please stop by whenever you want to check on what’s happening in politics. Or stop by just to say hi and hello. Or just stop by when you want to feel your grandmother’s presence because she influenced us all. Or just stop by.

Puppydawg I know it hurts fiercely right now with your loss so fresh and recent. Just know that we share that loss with you.
Please come back and comment whenever you want to and if you’ve got some questions about political things you can ask us. We’ll be glad to help. 🙂

Rick@11:34: Being that chat and I were both SEC fans I’ll be keeping an eye on her dawgs in football season and I’ll do my best to post that song whenever they win. But should I forget, you go ahead do it too.

Good evening. I am just delurking to send you all my condolences. I have not commented on this blog, but do read it and have appreciated Chatblu’s posts and her kindness and insight. My thoughts are with you all.

Linda,

Thank you. I used to lurk too and then I found how welcoming everyone was and haven’t shut up since. Please delurk often. We would love your thoughts if you care to share.

Socal, the message from your husband is wonderful. Thanks for posting it! We look forward to hear what Laker has to say. I, too, am now a fan of Chatblu’s Dawgs, even though I don’t like football. 😇

Linda, thanks so much for sharing your kind thoughts. I agree with Prolix; please feel free to comment anytime.

How sad. I loved Chatblu’s posts and welcoming ways. I will miss her.

chat would be so proud of her grandchildren right now. Sincere condolences to you, puppdawg and Samantha. You had an awesome nana and you honor her with your comments.

So sorry for your loss. My sincere condolences to all

Folks,

Chat’s family graciously provided us with a link to Chat’s online biography and asked that we share it.

http://www.fredhunters.com/obituary/149479/Lynda-ONeal/#bio

As you will notice, it’s so very “Chat” to care for unknown others by asking people to commit random acts of kindness.

Reading her life story on the link, does it really surprise anyone that she was always assisting other folks, whether it was when she was working in the E.R. or at later times in her life? What a wonderful person she was.

“In lieu of flowers the family asks that you commit random acts of kindness or pay it forward in her name.”

Hey Shinners, would love to know if Chatblu had a favorite charity. I’d love to donate something in her honor.

Thank you all for your kind words and interest in making donations in her name. Nana donated to more charities than I can possibly list here. The best way you could honor her is to pick one that speaks to you or to directly help someone in need in your own community. We all know someone who knows someone who needs a hand.

Thanks so much for sharing the link, Samantha! I will definitely visit tomorrow and figure out something to do in her name.

For those looking for an organization to donate to…Chat had a special place in her heart for the Nurse’s Union and the SEIU. Food for thought.

I am so sad that chat is gone that I hardly know what to say. I will truly miss her, she always had a balanced tone to her posts which were always well done. I also enjoyed her spirit on football days, in fact, she liked the things I like, football, music and movies. When I wanted to do a post here, she very kindly helped out and did all the technical stuff. She was a lovely person with intelligence and Southern kindness.

I would like to send my condolences to her family. I see her grandchildren are here, which is really nice, and I wanted to tell them that I am 22 and a college student, so they can see that their grandma had a wide variety of admirers here. Your grandma was obviously a wonderful person, and I am very sorry for your loss.

Hello laker. Thank you for coming by.
Our Saturday football comment stream is going to be missing a big presence this fall.

Hey Fredster. Yes, it will be sad without chat.

@Laker, yes it will. 😥
But I know that she would not want us to be too sad as difficult as that will be. I’m trying to think that way.

Agree, Fredster. She wouldn’t want us to be sad, but she’d understand our feelings.

What do folks think about doing a kind of musical wake this weekend? Everyone can stop by and post their favorite tunes in honor of Chatblu.

Another good deed you can do…give some money or love to Hillary. Bernie just called her “unqualified.” Clearly it’s not just his supporters who are sexist.
http://www.mediaite.com/tv/hillary-on-bernies-unqualified-attack-i-will-take-bernie-sanders-over-donald-trump-or-ted-cruz-any-time/

The Washington Post had a headline that said Hillary said Bernie wasn’t qualified. She said no such thing. He reacted before he checked to make sure it was true. Thus, the media has a new topic to stir up their horserace again. Same as it ever was.

Madamab, I followed you here when you started this blog. Personal circumstances drew me away for a while, but I have peeked in occasionally and always enjoyed reading Chatblu’s posts and comments. Her voice was strong, reassuring, and full of Southern wit. This is a sad loss to the Widdershins and her family.

Hello Jules. Thank you for coming by and for your comments.
Please feel free to come by more often.

Thank you Jules! We appreciate your thoughts, and I echo Fredster’s invitation!

A musical wake this weekend sounds fine.

Madama B, that sounds like great idea, like a New Orleans Second Line jazz funeral to me 🙂 Keeping the Lazy Weekend going for Chatblu :)!

Thanks, Fredster and MadamaB!

Sounds like a plan, folks. We’ll do it!

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