I got a card today. I had wondered about that card because I had sent it out myself. I had sent it the moment I heard a colleague was very sick and dying. I had sent it to the hospital.
Today I got the card back stamped “Return to sender. Patient discharged”.
I sent the card on Friday, January 15th. My colleague died on Wednesday, January 20th. I only found out about her death late Friday night, January 22nd.
I had been thinking about that card all day Friday, wondering if she had received it, wondering if she knew the impact she had had on me this last year. Now I know she never saw it, never knew.
I want all of you to know.
I didn’t know Charlotte Boyett-Compo until about October 2014, when she and I were part of the group that became The Naughty Literati. Charlee wrote dark fantasy and paranormal romance which, generally, I don’t read simply because it’s not my taste.
Charlee had, and still has, a huge following. She built elaborate worlds involving Nightwinds, Reapers, Shadowlords, and WyndMasters – characterizations I cannot even fathom ever creating and still don’t quite understand. The sexuality of her worlds was dark, and I appreciate and applaud that direction in erotic romance. She was the consummate professional and a willing mentor.
I never met Charlee in person, I only knew her online. But nowadays, that is sometimes the only way we know colleagues. The lack of face-to-face interaction does not diminish the impact a person can have on another.
I learned a lot from Charlee, and was quite inspired by her example. She wrote prodigiously this past year, almost like she knew she had to get all the words out. She achieved new success this past year even in the face of some pretty aggravating publishing hurdles. She had health problems this year and yet soldiered on tenaciously.
Farewell, Charlee, and thank you.
And to the rest of you, hold on tight to your loved ones, tell them how you feel now. The card may never arrive.