It’s a strange feeling when a close online friend passes away. No body around you quite “gets it”. I mean, those around you might understand it’s sad to lose a friend. But they can’t understand how an online friend is hard to lose, because they never knew them. Also, the world around you revolves like it always did without change, while deep down something is missing.
It’s especially difficult when losing an online friend as special as Anita DeFrank.
I don’t want to rehash all the wonderful things my dear friend Val posted on her blog (see Remembering an Online Friend), but I will say she hit the nail on the head. Like Val, Anita, and all the others who have replied to her touching post, my online business journey started over a decade ago at WAHM message boards. Message boards were the only online networking tool and social media platform back in those days, before Facebook, Twitter, and dozens of others.
Anita and I became fast friends, chatting through Yahoo messenger (does that still even exist?) and plotting all kinds of online business ideas together. Our first “merge” was a newsletter geared towards work at home moms and joint promotion across our first real websites (what we often called our “babies” – MommysHelperOnline.com and MomsMarketOnline.com, both fallen into cyber darkness, unfortunately).
Our perfect partnership spread out into other areas of online business, including Direct Sales Helpers. Her relentless desire to help others was the main motivation behind the website, book, and marketing products, while I sat in the background doing the “techy” work . Don’t get me wrong – she was pretty darn techy herself. But that’s why we worked well together, because I was the “behind the scenes” gal while she was on the front line. It was where her helpful personality was able to shine the brightest, and she loved every minute of it. Same with her website and forums – she lived for those social connections in the WAHM world.
Our online business journey didn’t stop there. As blogs began to surface and become popular, we jumped on the bandwagon together. Our first blog was 2WAHMs, which later was moved to its own domain (now gone as well, but the original “Blogspot” blog remains). Looking back at those old posts brings back good memories of her, and I’m thankful that tiny online footprint remains of my dear friend as a testimony of how helpful and dedicated she really was.
While we began to drift years ago, she and I would still send each other updates from time to time. Life was never kind to her, with life-long pain problems followed by a car accident and family struggles. Yet she still kept pushing, helping others, and sharing her beautiful outlook with everyone she came across.
Truth is, I’ve missed her for years. I miss chatting with her every day, even when it meant we didn’t get a lick of work done. I miss the chats and online events she would host in the name of helping other mom’s make a living online. I miss our brainstorming sessions, where we would bounce ideas to see what stuck.
Just last month I was working on promotions for my “real business” offline, and thought to myself “boy do I wish Anita was around to chat”. That’s when I made my last reach-out to her, yet it seems her health issues were already taking too large of a toll for her to make it online anymore.
I think that’s what saddened me the most. To know that she was no longer able to be online and working, doing what she loved so much. It comforts me to know she is no longer in pain, though, and to know how much brightness and love she spread in the short time she was here. I know that her kindness will live on through her children and they will remember her as one hell of a fighter.
So here I will continue my journey, with this blog, because Anita DeFrank touched my life in a positive way. I will miss her, but know she is not far away. Maybe one of these days we will actually meet, and I can tell her how important she was to me and how much of an inspiration she will continue to be. Even as I type, she’s helping me to write this post and redesign the blog today. Why? Because that’s what we would be doing right now if she was still online.
Love ya, Anita.