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Chuck Hinman, IJMA No. 325: Chan Bush: Chat Room Friend

It's Just Me Again No. 325: After the death of his beloved wife, Connie, the writer formed some great friendships with chat room friends - one who filled a very special place in his life
The next earlier Chuck Hinman column: Chuck Hinman IJMA No. 170: The Rest of the Story

By Chuck Hinman

Chan Bush: Chat Room Friend

In the days after Connie went to live at Geriatrics nursing home never to return home, I had some real difficulties adjusting to our new life.

I had heard that there were caregiver chat rooms on the Internet but I hadn't a clue how to get started. I was apprehensive because I was aware that you could find weirdos who would talk on any subject.

I found several caregiver chat rooms but they didn't interest me for various reasons. I didn't give up and soon found one that stuck.

Until Connie passed away on December 30, 2002, I spent every evening for an hour or so visiting in that chat room with people I knew only by their chat room name - Bird, Cozy, Chan, Husband, Ima, Dev, Jae, and countless others (people except for Chan I have never seen). I was known simply as Charly. All were caregivers for a mate with Alzheimer's Disease.

The purpose of the chat room was to give support and experienced advice on our common problem. I was helped tremendously in the early days of my entering the chat room.

I soon found that when a new person entered the chat room, those already present (the old-timers like this Chan guy) would stop their just plain old chit-chatting about everything and zero in on the new person and their problems - offering invaluable advice born out of hard experience.

It was exactly what I needed at the time -- first getting consolation and comfort in getting used to daily life without Connie at my side, and when I was stabilized in my new life - getting to share what I knew "that worked" and can't be learned at the Doctor's office or from a jillion books.

Each evening was a fulfilling experience, the likes of which I never knew before. I count my unseen chat-room friends as my closest-dearest friends. We have been through chilling experiences that bond us like no other relationship.

The purpose of this writing is to say that Chan, one of those chat room friends died last night (April 2003) of cancer of the esophagus. He was the only one of my chat room friends I had seen in person. If there was such a title, Chan would probably have been referred to in our chat room as "Chairman of the Board"! He was our leader.

He was the owner with his family of an office supply business in Joplin, Missouri. He had been up to the time of his bout with cancer the caregiver for his wife Lois. It was a shock to his friends (and family) to learn that he was going to die before the one he had cared for so long.

He was my friend at a special time and I will miss him. So long dear friend Chan. - Chuck Hinman, April 2003, emailed Saturday, September 5, 2009

This story was posted on 2012-04-22 03:53:44
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