My friend Linda passed away last week. She had double pneumonia, but she'd had lung troubles before, and I'd expected her to get well again. She was so strong for so many people, I suppose I imagined she was bulletproof. Hearing of her passing was a terrible shock. She and I mostly communicated over the internet after I moved 90 minutes away, but she was still very much part of my emotional landscape. In fact, she's on all of my anti-suicide plans as a contact. I haven't yet penciled in any new names. I can't right now. Linda came and sat with my sister and me while our mom was dying in the ICU. She bailed me out of jail once. She took my calls at all kinds of strange hours. I was in her wedding. I can't yet cope with the idea that I will never again see or talk to her in this life. I know I'm "only" a friend, but I felt closer to her than I do to some of my relatives. She was a chosen sister. I've spent the last couple days sleeping 90% of the time, because I'm too miserable when I'm awake. When I sleep, I dream of the funeral. I truly haven't felt this bad since my mother died. I feel like I haven't captured her with this post, so I'll describe her briefly . . . she was the lady with the pink hair in the glow-in-the-dark wheelchair wearing shades and a t-shirt that said "Piss On Pity." She hated being looked down upon because she had a disability, especially by people who felt saintly for patting her on the head and saying, "Ohh, poor widdle you." That just enraged her, and rightly so. She was married for 19 good years to her husband, JJ, and the two of them had the happiest marriage I have ever seen. A favorite memory was the time the two of us went to an assistive technology conference in Detroit, with a mutual friend, Miriam. Linda used an electric scooter at the time, and Miriam had an electric wheelchair. I had some kind of major problem with my knees, so I'd rented a scooter too. We did lap races around the food court section of the Renaissance Center, narrowly missing horrified onlookers. (Miriam won, hands down. That chair of hers could easily do 10 mph.) Miriam has also since passed on, and I like to think of them zooming around the afterlife, still running over the toes of those with over-delicate sensibilities.