Tuesday Morning Blues: A Tribute to Chatblu
Posted April 5, 2016on:
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:
We are all going to share our memories with you in this post. I’ll go first.
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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