I need to write a bit about Julia. For John and Ranaan and his family, for Ajumma and Ajossi, and Leila. So they know what Julia meant to me, and many others like me. In thanks. And selfishly, for me, too, I need to write a bit.
It's hard to write this, though, because my relationship with Julia deepened so close to the end of her life. Our paths intersected from time to time for the past year or so, but we'd go off in different directions, and it wasn't until early this year that we fell into a more parallel track. For a reason I'll never understand, Julia reached out to me unexpectedly one day on facebook, and after that in IM. We both type like banshees, and packed a lot into each conversation. I came to hope for the *ping* that meant she was on her PC and wanted to talk - many of you are nodding your heads to this, because I know she chatted like mad.
We talked about much more than adoption. She talked me through her pictures of Jerusalem and Korea. Sent me links to hilarious YouTube videos. I learned she loved the color white. I learned about her family and friends and John. I learned that she was really stubborn. And I learned a little more about the pain she expresses on her blog.
A few weeks ago I took some time off from work, and one afternoon read her blog from beginning to end. I had read many of her posts before, but not the earliest ones. I found her after she'd been blogging awhile, but I hadn't taken the time to catch up, and missed a few posts, too. So I read or re-read them all, in order, and was stunned at the depth of this young woman's humanity. You want to learn about love? Or forgiveness? Or faith? Read Julia's blog, read it, and think about it, and take her words to heart.
I can't go back yet to re-read our chats quite yet, but they line up in Gmail with their dates and their lengths, the short history of our online connection. I can't read her text messages, either, they start too close to the day she passed away. Those chats and text messages, some emails, and two precious phone calls, are the sum of my relationship with Julia. But it feels like I knew her a lifetime.
You know, her voice was exactly as I had imagined it, and was just like she was - light and clear and strong.
A young woman reached out to me, and we connected. Even now I don't fully understand how precious a gift that was. And Julia will never know how much of her I will take with me to the end of my life.