Last year my friend Melissa and I went to the Romance Novel Convention in Las Vegas, and the first night of the convention kicked off with a large celebration. Wanting everyone to have fun, I was on the lookout for people who seemed to be shy and alone. I have a strong personality and am known to randomly walk up to strangers and introduce myself, and that is how I met Lindsey J Parsons.
I was immediately drawn to her (especially once I heard her accent). She was alone and watching everyone on the dance floor, and once she informed us she was at the convention by herself and was from the UK, we told her she would be our friend and would hang with us while there. (We really did claim the poor woman. She had no way to escape us, even if she wanted to.)
The rest of the week, we sought her out and greatly enjoyed her company. I nicknamed her my little wallflower, because she was so sweet and quiet (the opposite of me). However, it was our last night together that we truly got to know her better. The three of us ventured out of our hotel and walked the nearby strip. Knowing we would have to get up early in the morning for the big book signing did not even sway us from staying out until after two in the morning.
We laughed so much that night. I teased her about her proper accent (so opposite from my southern one), she would roll her eyes and shake her head, while Melissa would apologize for my mouth — which Melissa usually does. By the time we walked back to our rooms, we swore Lindsey would have to come and visit us, and she invited us to visit her.
The next morning she was dressed in her Return of the Effra shirt, and her table was covered in posters, bookmarks, and other swag. She was truly ready. Her banner was one of the best at the convention, along with her beautiful book covers.
Once the signing was over, Melissa and I had a flight to catch, and Lindsey had lunch with a couple she had met on the Internet through a writing club. In the end, even with her quiet personality, she had met more people at the convention than I had, as she got many waves as we walked through the halls.
We said goodbye and swore we’d see each other again. Once I got home, she participated in a book giveaway on my blog. I often saw her archery wins on Facebook, and we would chat via Facebook on occasion. However, I soon got busy. As the months went by, I often wondered why I had not seen anything on Facebook from her, but I guessed she was busy with her writing, like me.
I thought of her on the day I started to fill out the form for the Dragon Con convention, thinking she would be the perfect author to be at my side. However, I got distracted and put the form aside, without contacting her. Each time I opened my desk drawer, I was reminded of her with the stack of bookmarks she had signed and given to me for giveaways, and I would remind myself to check on her.
During this time, I also stopped calling my dear friend Melissa. I’m at a stage in my life where I enjoy solitude a bit too much, although one would never know that by meeting me. I’m not shy or quiet around people. I really am the opposite.
Where I once used to host parties and fill my schedule with people, I now choose to stay home and write, read, bake, or spend time in my organic garden. There are many things a person can do while alone.
Recently, Melissa and I had a long talk about our distant friendship, and we fixed things. She is who my first book is dedicated to, and you just don’t walk away from a friend that special.
Yesterday we were on the phone, and we got to talking and laughing about Lindsey. As we talked, I pulled up Lindsey’s author page and was shocked to discover that she had died unexpectedly from an aneurism at the beginning of January. Words cannot explain the sadness in my heart.
I am lucky in that I’ve never really had to deal with the death of a loved one. Except for my grandfather’s passing when I was a young child, it has only been pets. Yes, I’ve gone to some funerals during my life, but none of them truly brought out what I experienced when it came to Lindsey.
It was unexpected. She was my friend, and she was truly a beautiful person. Although I did not know her for long, she made an impact on me that rarely happens. I chose to claim her as my friend, not an acquaintance. She was my friend, and that says a lot with me.
I spent last night pondering how I didn’t check in on Lindsey. It took me six months to realize she was gone. I have been selfish with my time — my life, and I hope this post is a reminder that if you haven’t checked in on your friends in a while, do it. Do it now. You never know when the last goodbye will be.
If I had known that I would never be able to speak to Lindsey again the last night we chatted via Facebook, I would have said more. If I had known that I would never see her again when we parted ways in Vegas, I would have hugged her tightly — even though I don’t usually give hugs.
I’m a believer in life after death so when I think of Lindsey now, I have hope that one day I may be able to see her again. I imagine myself giving her that tight embrace and telling her the words I think of when I think of her. I would smile and say, “Lindsey, my dear, you are a beautiful soul.”
Until that day, I have her book that she signed and gave to me. I haven’t had time to read it, but now I’m eager. And not because we’re the same fantasy genre author with many similarities. No, it’s because I want to find a piece of her in her writing. You see, writers always hide parts of themselves in their writing. Sometimes it’s blatant, yet sometimes it’s subtle. However, it’s always there. Lindsey is in the Return of the Effra Series somewhere, and I now cherish the book she gave to me. Once I finish reading it, I plan to put it away in a special place, and I plan to keep it.
Lindsey J Parsons, you will be greatly missed, and I hope to see you again one day.
Melissa, Lindsey, me, Meg, and Raven – the night of the costume ball.
Beautiful Meg and her mother Raven. Me, dressed as Alissia Roswell — eyes and all. Lindsey and her love of dragons.
Melissa and I strutted our stuff at the red curtain.
Lindsey showed off the wings of the dragon costume she made.
She even made a tail on her dragon costume.
Lindsey and her beautiful book covers and banner — very impressive! She took pictures of me at my banner, and I played around giving sexy shots and trying to fix my Spanx. After a while, she looked down at my camera and told me she had accidentally been recording me. Luckily, there is no recording of all the crazy I was doing, but we all got a laugh at the thought of there being evidence of my picture taking ways.
Melissa, Lindsey, Raven, and her daughter Meg.
Melissa and Lindsey.
My dear Lindsey — we laughed so much that night.
We spent two hours in this bathroom, just sitting there laughing and talking. Some of the women walking in would notice our author tags and would ask for our pictures and stop and talk to us. Two girls stopped and played with Lindsey’s hair. They even took hair pins from their own hair and put them in Lindsey’s.