I’ve belonged to online support groups since Thomas received his first diagnosis. I found other parents who’s child had the same diagnosis and I was hooked. The support, friendship and knowledge gained from that group was invaluable and amazing. So amazing it’s difficult to describe what these women meant to me then and mean to me now. I found a very dear friend, Diane who lived in Long Island. I was so excited to see her screen name contain “NY” when we first met online. We did manage to meet in person, in Manhattan one very, very snowy day. It was incredible, without seeing a picture of each other we somehow recognized each other at Grand Central and just hugged. So sweet. She even met me at the hospital we used for Thomas in Long Island. I had to bring him in through the ER one New Year’s Eve and Diane met me there. Such a great friend ❤️.
I also was fortunate enough to meet other women from that group. A bunch of us went to a conference in Los Angeles. We came from all over the US and Canada! We made arrangements to share a hotel room without knowing each other outside of our online friendships. We talked on the phone but that was it. Let me tell you it was awesome! I met one of my closest friends ever that weekend. Her name is Jackie and she lives in Wisconsin. We text and Facebook a lot and when we have the time we’ll catch up on the phone. I always say we were meant to be friends, our sons were merely the catalyst and our way of finding each other. We’ve been to each other’s houses (well I haven’t been to her new condo… but one day).
When I was pregnant with Samantha I joined a message board website for pregnant women. I found the most wonderful, caring, warm friends on a web board for women who were due to deliver in August 2006. I’ve the years we’ve seen each other through so many tough life situations. I feel very close with these women most of whom I’ve never met in person. When someone has an issue they are dealing with; the group will give real life honest advice. And it comes from the heart. If it weren’t for Samantha I would never have met these women who are an important part of my life. And if it weren’t for Thomas I wouldn’t have met my first ever “online” group of friends and I probably wouldn’t have been as open to my next group of friends on the web. I heart my now in real life friends 💕.