Saying Farewell to Friends Who Blog

I haven’t posted in a while, I hadn’t intended to post again until the new year, but the past three weeks or so have been fully focused on my circle of friends here on my blog, and on one in particular.

I know I am not unusual in having had the opportunity to make many friends and some particularly deep connections with folk who blog – we stumble into each other in odd moments, like what we see and stick around. We are often introduced through another blog, usually in the comments where we air our thoughts and feelings (well, I do any way) generously, randomly and sometimes in great detail. 🙂 We find folk who resonate with us as well as having shared interests. It’s the resonating that is important to me, it probably is to you too.

My friend Cynthia reminded me that we first met through Derrick’s blog, I had forgotten the genesis of our friendship but she had not.  We knew each well for less than two years – yet it seems we knew each well for much longer.

Our friendship grew quickly. We emailed and continued conversations started in a comment somewhere. We shared our opinions, our thoughts with honesty, sometimes acerbically, sometimes with humour, and sometimes with tears about hurt hearts. There was nothing that couldn’t be resolved, there was nothing that didn’t end with us bouncing humorously off each other. Despite having lived in different parts of the world and having followed very different paths on the journey, we found we held thoughts in common, about health, about education, about art, about spirituality, about life and death. Sometimes we ranted, sometimes we sighed, sometimes we amused ourselves and each other highly, sometimes we simply changed the subject.

I bought her book of poems, ‘A Certain Age’, loving so much of what I read on her blog. She ordered a light catcher, to be made in blues and oranges. Particular blues and oranges! I was aghast at her colour choices and kept trying to calm them down. “No, no!” she emailed back, “the other blue the bright one….” I strung some together and sent a photo, “Less amber,” she replied “more orange, the bright orange”

At last I got it right and she pronounced herself satisfied. It was spectacular!

cynthia-pizap

Cynthia had a gypsy soul I decided. She agreed, but don’t spread it around she said – I can’t dance any more and I’ve lost my castanets and you can’t be a proper gypsy without castanets!

And then my gypsy souled friend admitted she was feeling unwell. I knew she had been struggling all through that last northern summer. She emailed and said she had finally given in and gone to be checked out. She was afraid the cancer had returned.

Cancer? What cancer? She had a bout of cancer some time back and had gone into remission six years ago. Cynthia was afraid it had now returned. She didn’t want to go the medical cancer route and she didn’t want the battle she thought she would have to endure.

I mostly ignored that email – I didn’t want her to go that route either. Another note arrived hot on its heels. The diagnosis was in. Cancer. Metastisized. A matter of time.

The time was two weeks. Two weeks from diagnosis to a peaceful passing with her beloved sister Jen beside her and Celtic lullabies playing on the CD.

Cynthia Jobin, poet, writer, calligrapher, artist, blogger, friend, passed away December 13th 2016.

Cynthia will be cremated today. She did not want a service, just her ashes to be scattered when the weather is more clement off the coast of New Hampshire.

Far away in New Zealand on the 13th of December, I sent my last daily email to her. The following morning I sat before my in-box and a little voice whispered in my ear to let her go.

We’ve lost a great gal from our blogging circle.
A wonderful poet – a great mind – a ready wit.
A particularly kind woman!

I thought you’d like to know and perhaps share the news as appropriate.

Cynthia’s sister Jen is happy to hear from any of her friends who would like to make contact. Her email is [jlibby16@twc.com]

Cynthia told me that her friend and fellow blogger John (Looker) Stevens had offered to organise publication of a second volume of her poetry.  She was ecstatic about the kind offer and with her energy failing and her sister’s help, gathered together some works and sent them to him.  ‘They won’t go into the dumpster’ she wrote ‘Hallelujah!’

Cynthia’s intention was to make three last posts on her blog, poems already in her archives.  She managed two.

I’ll leave you with the third:

The Sun Also Sets

Without a bedtime story or a lullabye
the evening’s blush sinks to a deeper red
then slips into a slit between the earth and sky
leaving our goodbyes lingering, unsaid.

I do not want to go, or let you go.
I want to dare this ending, call its bluff,
delay our parting with a sudden overflow
of words—too many and yet not enough–

while you, my dearest one, would choose
blunt disappearance, the mute way
to stanch an agony—those deeper blues
along the skyline fire—as if to say

the sun rises, the sun also sets.
So let it set. Let us let it. Let’s.

To listen to Cynthia read this poem, follow this link 

123 thoughts on “Saying Farewell to Friends Who Blog

  1. Thank you so much for this wonderful tribute to a talented poet. Thanks also for including her sister’s email address as I wish to get in contact regarding including some of Cynthia’s work in a project of my own based on my Simply Elfje blog (https;//simplyelfje.wordpress.com) to which she contributed.

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  2. So sorry, Pauline that my comment took up till January 7th for me to visit and find out this special and dear friend had passed away. Continuing to send you warm regards and hugs, as you grieve for Cynthia. ❤

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  3. Please accept my belated condolences, dear Pauline. Your friend wrote a lovely poem here and I missed checking your December posts.
    Sometimes, I have accidentally missed people on their blogs during the busy holidays.
    Unfortunately, I had never known or noticed Cynthia’s comments or been to visit her blog.
    Sending you hugs and hopes that your warm memories give you comfort. ❤

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  4. Such sad news, which I just heard today. I loved her spirit, and her poetry, of course.
    Thank you for this loving post, Pauline. It’s remarkable how we can warm to individuals whom we’ve never met. I loved reading Cynthia’s poetry and usually replied to her, but I also liked emailing back and forth with her. And when she reviewed An Honest House, her review instantly became one of my favourites. I shall miss her greatly, and again, I thank you for this post.I feel your loss.

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    • Hello Cynthia. Yes, our friend was a much loved woman and there are many who will miss her for a long while. I am deeply immersed in A Good Home currently and I am very much enjoying the way you relate your story through your various homes.

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  5. I’d been away from blogging for a while, and so am just now hearing of Cynthia’s passing. I’m utterly shattered. She was quick and beautifully, utterly talented. I can’t quite yet conceive of not jumping over to her blog to catch her latest pieces. I will miss her lovely insights, her craftsmanship, and her supportive comments. Thank you so much for posting this. Wishing you peace and healing. ❤

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    • I’m sorry to be the bearer of this news. It was, for all of us, a sudden and unexpected event. I am hopeful a second volume of her poetry will become available and that her work might reach the audience it deserves. You said it so well, ‘ ….. and beautifully, utterly talented’. I am simply glad that we had the chance to meet up for the time that we did ❤

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  6. Pauline, my thoughts are with you as you grieve the loss of your friend. Your words about her are a beautiful eulogy and the link enabled us to put a voice to the person you introduced me to. So very sorry for the loss of your friend.
    I’m in Atlanta with Andrew and Jon, and doing some blog visits while waiting for the household, including two sweet labradoodles, to awake. My thoughts are with you and your family, human and animal, on this Christmas morning. XOXO

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  7. Pauline, Thank you for telling us. In the beginning of December, I was sleeping in one morning after working late the previous night. The telephone rang and I heard the recorder come on and a voice say, “Ginene, this is Cynthia Jobin.” I flew out of bed and said, “Cynthia!” She said that she “thought she would take a chance” and ask me if I wanted a collection of sound recordings of her reading her poems to publish or to just listen as she noticed I particularly liked the recordings. It was a good thing that I was half asleep because I probably would not have been able to talk if I had all my wits about me. It was easy to realize on the phone that she was a very private person regarding personal matters and I thought that I would ask her at a later time for a biography to go along with the CD. I thought I would ask her for a photograph of her desk or perhaps a view out of the window where she wrote if she didn’t want her picture on the cover of the CD. I thought I would have time. I wrote her a week after I received the recorded poems, but she didn’t get my letter in time. Not knowing that, I was waiting for a word in return.

    When I read on her website that she had terminal cancer, it took me three days to be able to function again. Last night, when I read that she had died on December 13th, eight days after mailing the recording to me, I was left standing with the wind knocked out of me.

    How can we explain these deep friendships with someone we have never met? It isn’t really that surprising when we remember that many women and men formed deep friendships through writing letters in earlier times. Many of these relationships evolved into lifetime friendships and even marriages.

    I was overwhelmed with Cynthia’s gift to me, a woman she never met, and at the end of the phone call, I said, “Well, I love you, Cynthia.” She laughed at the strange circumstance of someone saying they love you when you have never met them. She laughed. And, then she said, “I love you, too.”

    Ginene

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    • Ginene, this is such a wonderful story of Cynthia! For me it encapsulates her determination to ensure her work found a home, a place she intuited would keep it safe. She was so private wasn’t she, offering little bits here and there and only opening up when she felt it would be held respectfully. She was very reluctant to go wider with information of her diagnosis and, outside of her family, told only four other people. The one sentence on the second to last post she made was made reluctantly, only after some urging that those who hadn’t been told needed to be at least forewarned. I am thrilled that she chose you to have the recordings. Thank you for sharing this extraordinary encounter with us.

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        • Ginene, I am still very much in the waves of processing so many feelings about the death of my friend of nearly 55 years… and today I am reading again through all of the posts on Pauline’s blog in regard to our friend Cynthia’s death. And I guess I didn’t see this note from you about that phone call and Cynthia’s offering you the recordings of the yet unpublished poems. I so hope you are in touch with her friend John to whom she entrusted the poems she was so happy to hear that he was willing to gather and publish a second volume of her poetry. One of the things that thrilled me most was being able to listen to her reading her poems…it would be such a gift to have the recording accompany the printed volume.

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          • Hi Julie,
            I, too, like the CD that accompanied the first published poems. I asked Cynthia for John’s number or email and Cynthia said that the next book will not have a CD with it. I will publish the CD of her spoken poems as Cynthia suggested soon. I feel that her expressive voice is part of her art and a treasure.

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  8. Cynthia’s great gift was being able to communicate with people artistically, through her writing, and also personally. I often told her I knew nothing of poetry, but she was not deterred: she sought to engage me, again and again. This is remarkable as I think we were polar opposites. Nevertheless, she captivated me with warmth and wit.

    Our paths crossed (virtual paths, as we never met) a few years ago–I am not exactly certain of how long ago it was; it all seems like a dream now. But our time together was not long enough, and this is the most painful part for me. I miss my dear Cynthia. I miss her magnanimity. We had so much more to say to one another.

    Cynthia, thank goodness, is no longer feeling pain. But my pain will linger, as I have lost a great friend.

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  9. What a beautiful tribute to your friend, Cynthia. I am both sorry for your loss, and sorry that I didn’t meet her on my journey. You obviously shared a very special friendship. The light catcher you made for her is beautiful. I couldn’t help but think, as I read her beautiful poem, how well it is reflected in her words of farewell, with the blush of the sunset as it slips between the earth and the sky. I couldn’t bring myself to listen to her read it just now, but will do at some stage, and read others of her poems. Thank you so much for sharing her story in such a loving way.

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    • Thank you Norah, for coming by to hear about my friend Cynthia. She really was a master poet and deserves to be more widely known. Included in her book ‘A Certain Age’ is a CD of Cynthia reading some of her poems – it is wonderful to know that voice lives on.

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      • Thank you for sharing her story. I must check out her book of poems. It sounds lovely. Wishing you a peaceful Christmas. Best wishes. xo

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  10. Thank you so much for writing this. I had known Cynthia for about ten years via letters and then her blog. Her grief was deep the past six years and yet she continued admirably adjusting to a much diminished life. Her artistry with her calligraphy and her own art was magnificnent and second only to her gift for friendship.

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    • Thank you for coming by Natalie, Cynthia spoke warmly of you. I think you are right about these last years, it was hard! Yet she remained so open and kind to everyone. Quite, quite remarkable! I am sorry for your loss!

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      • If there is anyone here who would like to exchange old-fashioned letters, the way I did with Cynthia, I would be delighted. We could discuss her poems–individually or as a group. We could discuss life. The trepidations of age. Sometimes I type when my arthritis is acting up, and she most generously said that my typing made me sound somehow –“More myself”. If you would like a sympathy note in and a discussion of Cynthia’s birthday on January 24th, you could email me at: nctyler@gmail.com with your postal address.

        This extends to anyone here, not simply to Norah.

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        • Gubbinal, I would very much love to receive and send a sympathy note on Cynthia’s b’day. Thank you for this offering and I will send you my contact info. This is a precious offering.

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  11. Thank you for writing this. Brother Ass is the last of Cynthia’s posts that I can open, though I can read the next two and Jenifer’s message in my emails. I am unutterably saddened by her loss, I very much hope that John (Looker) Stevens can succeed in publishing her poems to succeed the brilliant A Certain Age. The miracle is that we have her voice so that, even from across the Atlantic, I know her so well from the posts and the DVD in the book. I am charmed by her taste in colours for the light catcher (stained glass window strength) would love to hear anything more you have to tell us about Cynthia.

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    • Hilary, hello! Cynthia gave me a short list of names of people who were special to her and your name is there. She didn’t give me emails though, obviously thinking I was bright enough to figure out how to track everyone down 🙂 and I haven’t had the time or energy to do that as yet. Thank you for coming by and making it easier for me I don’t know what has happened on Cynthia’s blog. We’ll have more stories to share I’m sure!

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      • oh, yes, please!!! Julie Murray 147 Parker Street Cincinnati, OH 45219
        julimurray@aol.com
        I realize that Cindy had the habit of calling very late at night, if she saw from her blog that I was up late and reading her latest poem and commenting…..I had the feeling several times in late November or early December that it was she calling when my landline rang very late – now, I am sure it must have been she – and I am broken hearted that I did not answer….I don’t have an answering machine, and no caller ID on my landline – rather “voice mail” – and an old phone with no caller ID – but I know she saw my final comments to the poems she posted in her last days, and she “liked” my remark, though she clearly now I see, did not have energy to write one of her kind, witty, appreciative comments…I should have known and called her myself!

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  12. Oh Pauline, I am so sorry to hear you lost your dear friend. She sounds like such a beautiful spirit. One of the things I like most about WordPress is the wonderful connections that we make with other artistic souls which was not initially what I expected blogging would be about. It is so hard to loose a friend, I lose a childhood friend a little over a year ago and also a neighbor that I was close with. I am glad you have her wonderful poetry and that you can return to it often. Sending you love, hugs and comfort. xoxo

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  13. Oh, Pauline. What to say at such a loss. Your expression of love and friendship for Cynthia is so touching and heartfelt that I felt the tears forming as I read your loving words. Although I did not know Cynthia I loved reading the glimpse of her as told through your words. . .

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  14. Dear Pauline, I am so very sorry for your loss of your dear friend Cynthia. You write a beautifully gentle and moving tribute to her and her poem…it is exquisite. I didn’t know Cynthia, but how wonderful to know that her poetry will live on and with the help of her friend and sister, a second volume to be published in her honour. I hope you can feel my huge hug wrapping its way around you as I type this my dear friend, as I also send you blessings for peace and comfort to flood your soul at this difficult and sad time. With all my love… Sherri ❤ xoxo

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  15. Anyone who thinks blogging friends aren’t “real” should stop by here. You paid tribute to someone you admire and respect as though you had spent a lifetime together. The loss is very real and I feel it through you. That she was able to leave such beautiful poems behind for all who cared for her is a wonderful legacy. You are a good friend to share that with those of us not yet acquainted with her. It is as hard to lose blogging friends as well as those we see in physical form. Like you, I tend to get concerned about fellow bloggers when I don’t see them post for awhile. You wrote a very moving and beautiful tribute to your friend. I am so sorry for your loss.

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    • Thank you Marlene. I agree with all you say here. Thank you for your thoughts and words. Cynthia will be missed by many and for a long time. Her poetry is really, really good too and I still hope it will find a wider audience.

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  16. Dear Pauline, I hardly know what to say. Cynthia was a remarkable woman, and your friendship quite special. I’m so happy you had the time you did, but it hardly seems like enough. It never does when you care so deeply. I’m heartbroken for your loss. Judging by the comments that proceed mine, Cynthia had a large and impassioned following. Thank you for honoring her memory with this lovely post and thank you, too for sharing one of her poems.

    Sending love your way. xo

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    • Thank you Alys. And thank you for your support while I was waiting to find out what had happened. You are a rock! I know how I felt for those days and could not bear the thought of her friends waiting longer, not knowing. There is much grief at her passing! And I was blessed to have her friendship for a short while. It is enough. xoxo

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    • Hi Frank, yes, I am well thank you. I have been focused on Cynthia for a while now and I am glad we are all able to share at this time of her passing. She was a special person and much admired and loved for herself and her writing!

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      • I wouldn’t have known the news without you … and I’m thankful for you informing us. Isn’t it interesting that one gets a empty feeling on receiving news about someone we’ve never met. Oh yes – the power of cyber connections!

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  17. Dear Pauline, I don’t know what made me go to the “Little old lady who….” blog today. I did. And I saw your comment and I read every word, which was hard because the tears were flowing…..Cynthia was an exceptional lady, brilliant and kind and, and I can’t find the words to describe her. I am heart broken.
    How beautifully you have written about her Pauline. She loved us all equally and yet I felt that she loved us Down Under more!!! I say that because Cynthia made everyone feel special and very loved and welcome. It reminded me of my father, who loved all his three children equally but when he passed away, each of us said ” he loved me the most”!!! I felt like that about Cynthia too. I am going to miss her terribly. Let us always keep her in our hearts. Let us. Let’s…..

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    • Hello again Shubha! Thank you for your email too. I smiled to myself when I read ‘I don’t know what made me go to the “Little old lady who….” blog today.’
      Cynthia at work! And you are so right, she was exceptional. I know she will live on in many hearts and minds for a long, long time. And her work, her poetry, will find a larger and larger audience too – I am sure of it. We grieve our loss together!

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      • Thank you so much for this precious post in which you do us all the favor of filling in some of the details of the final days. I just love knowing that Jen was right there with her and the cd of Celtic lullabies was playing as he dropped her body. All of these details are very precious to me and I am enormously grateful for it all. Including knowing that a second volume of poetry will be published. please how are we to connect with this person who agreed to do this? I would definitely buy 10 copies, as I did with the first volume…she is truly a great poet! I am not a blogger, though I fantasize about it…but I want to be included in whatever follows……how may I do that?
        Thank you, Contented Crafter!

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        • Hello Julie. The man with whom Cynthia was in contact about a second volume of poetry blogs at ‘Poetry from John Looker’ https://johnstevensjs.wordpress.com/ I do not know any more than this, but am sure he would find a way to keep all Cynthia’s friends informed when he has something to say. You could visit his blog at the link I have given here.

          I am also most happy to pass on anything I hear about the second volume to you as it becomes available. I don’t know anything else at this point in time. You might also email Jen, Cynthia’s sister, whose address is included in this post, she is the person most likely to know of future developments.

          I’m so glad this post was able to ease your mind and heart a little.
          Pauline

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          • Bennison Books is honoured to be working with John Looker on publishing a volume of Cynthia’s poetry. Her work is also to be included in a forthcoming anthology Bennison Books is publishing in aid of The Book Bus charity. The wonderful title for this anthology ‘Indra’s Net’ was Cynthia’s idea. The news of Cynthia’s death is deeply saddening. She was a highly accomplished poet and Bennison Books will be proud to ensure her work lives on. It’s a great privilege to be entrusted with this project.

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          • Thank you so much, Pauline! My last days have been completely absorbed with thoughts and feelings and wishes and dreams of Cynthia. I am so appreciative of your posting and responses helping us all have a touchstone during these first days of grieving. You mentioned Cynthia giving you a list of names of those whom she wished you to be in touch with, close friends…dare I ask if my name was on the list? I do want to know….such a long relationship from teen years into our most recent contact in June around whether she would come to Boston for our Emmanuel College reunion or not and whether she was feeling up to my coming to Rumford to visit….. Either way, I would like to know, please. She taught many so very deep, important lessons in recent years, since Mary’s death…..and today these most recent “teachings” are supporting my deeper walk….
            You can email me julimurray@aol.com. Many thanks, Pauline!

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            • Pauline, please do let me know, when you can review “The List”…either way is perfect! What kept our relationship alive for 55 years, with all its ups and downs, was being totally truthful with each other….so, I just need to know.

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  18. I think sharing an online connection gives you something you just can’t get face to face. It’s deeper, wider and more poignant because you don’t have to pretend to be anything that you are not. Cynthia’s poetry is/was brilliant and your friendship has coloured both of your lives. I am so sorry that she passed away Pauline.

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  19. What a beautiful tribute to your friend. I am so sorry for the loss. The poem is poignant and beautiful. It perfectly expresses the moment.

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  20. I’m so sorry to hear your sad news Pauline, your tribute brought a tear to my eye. Cynthia sounds like a remarkable lady and a wonderful person to know and I hope you can take comfort in the smiles you shared together. Her poem is just beautiful, big hugs to you xxx

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  21. I clicked “Like” because this is such a beautiful tribute. I’m so sorry, Pauline. I have lost a couple of blogging friends over the years — and still visit their blogs now and then just to say a silent and heartfelt hello. *Hugs*

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  22. Oh Pauline, I am so sorry you lost your lovely friend Cynthia. You have written a beautiful tribute to her and it must have been marvelous for her to have friend like you. Hugs and kisses , Johanna

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  23. Oh, Pauline–I’m sorry! I know how I’d feel if I learned that any of the great friends I’ve made through blogging had died so I think I can share your sorrow, even though I didn’t know Cynthia. You did a beautiful job expressing what Cynthia meant to you–I love her poem . . .

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    • Thank you Kerry. It is hard, especially as one can’t just pop in and sit and support as one would like to. But what a blessing to have had the opportunity to know there are such wonderful people in the world as Cynthia Jobin!!

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  24. This is such a heartfelt tribute, Pauline. I guess we had all been anticipating the news, but, my, was it quick. Thank you for letting us know. Cynthia ‘always used to say the most insightful things’, said Jackie. This was very true. Her intelligence, knowledge, humour, and sensitivity enabled her to do this. I am only pleased to learn that you were introduced to each other through my blog. I have had many pleasing connections through this medium, but that takes the cookie.

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  25. Hello my dear, I’m so sorry for your tremendous loss. You’ve written a beautiful tribute, clearly Cynthia’s friendship meant a great deal. It’s very true, how we get to know and love our friends here so profoundly. Gentle hugs and love to you xo k

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  26. She was one of those people who just shone a bit brighter than the rest of us. We did benefit from her intelligence and humour. Thank you for your heartfelt tribute to Cynthia.

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  27. I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend, Pauline. Your tribute to her is very lovely. She clearly touched a lot of people and blogging helped her reach and touch even more souls than would otherwise have been possible – just as you are doing now. Xxx

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  28. Thanks for that Pauline. I had been trying to find the obituary column of the Rumford paper with little success. And your posting brought the sad news that I had been waiting for.

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  29. Oh Pauline… I’m crying for your sadness at losing such a connection. They don’t come often. Take care, lovely lady x. What a lovely poem to leave us too ❤

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  30. Pauline, even though I knew this news, I’ve been able to have a good cry because you showed Cynthia so well. Thanks for letting the blogging community know and for helping us connect with Cynthia’s sister. It’s a lovely service. I will miss Cynthia–a teacher and a mind to be engaged.

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  31. I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading this post. Now I am sitting here speechless. I am sure this must have been a difficult piece to put together, but you did a marvelous job and one I’m sure your friend would be proud to read.

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  32. This is such a lovely tribute to your friend, Pauline. People who don’t blog can’t understand the close relationships that can develop overtime. My heart is breaking for you and Cynthia’s family. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. xo

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  33. My heart beats harder, the tears fill my eyes and sting, salt water dripping down my cheeks. We all have friends like this, who inspire us and sing with us. You have evoked the entirety of it with this beautiful love letter to Cynthia. I am feeling with you, Pauline, grieving and loving, and sending my love across the waves. Thank you for sharing! Aloha.

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  34. Oh, Pauline, I never knew or knew of Cynthia, but I mourn her passing. It is clear from your wonderful tribute that the world is lessened by the loss of a very special soul. I will hold Cynthia, her family, and her friends in my heart and prayers. Thank you for sharing her story and her final poem. Both will continue to resonate with me for a very long time to come.

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  35. I am gutted by this news, Pauline. So deeply, deeply sorry for your loss – for our loss. Such a wonderful woman, such glorious writing. Thinking of you and her and all those she touched and gathered in her beautiful blogging circle. Thank you for letting us know and for sharing her last poem.

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    • Hi Pauline, any idea why I was unable to respond on Cynthia’s blog page to John Looker’s comment this morning there? it gives me a “Whoops – Four Four” message and tells me I can’t get in that way.
      Which was her last poem that people refer to?
      and the lines that Jen put on the post yesterday, giving all of us the news….were those her words?

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