Losing Our COPD Friends

I recently wrote about the positive things that have happened because of having COPD. One of the things listed in that article was all of the new friends that I have made in the COPD and Alpha-1 communities.

So many great things have come along with meeting these friends. They have helped me on my journey, and some of them have come to be like family to me.

The impact of friendships and shared experiences

These friends have also taught me so much, not only about my health but about the way I navigate it. I have seen so many great examples of resilience, courage, inspiration, unwavering strength, perseverance, hope, and grace.

We have seen each other's families grow through birthdays, graduations, weddings, and births. Through all of those beautiful moments, we have also seen hardships over the years with health decline, family passing, and, sadly, our friends passing.

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I couldn't even count how many friends I have lost these past 14 years since being diagnosed. It never gets easier, either. I do know that I will never forget them. I have so many great memories with each one.

I knew some of them just from being in the same groups, but I have met others at education events or national conferences over the years. Every year at each conference, we always say that it's like one big family reunion.

Remembering those who made a lasting impact

Like I said, I would never be able to name them all, but I would like to tell you all about a few of my friends who have passed.

Julie was one of the first Alphas that I met at the first Alpha-1 education day that I went to. I remember thinking when I heard that she was a support group leader that I wanted to do that as well.

I did become a leader and was able to serve as a support group leader alongside her for many years. Julie was a great asset to the Alpha-1 community, and advocated for many Alphas over the years.

Donna I had met in one of our Facebook groups but we ended up messaging each other every once in a while and had many things in common to talk about. Donna was the kindest person that I think I have ever met. She had a love for animals and people and was an Alpha-1 net coordinator.

As the years went by, we messaged and talked on the phone more often. We finally got to meet in person at one of the conferences. Like many of my COPD and Alpha-1 friends, it felt like we had always known each other.

Valarie was another great friend that I met online back in 2010. Val was such a great mom, grandma, and partner. She was also a fellow support group leader and was a great advocate who had needed a transplant for many years and finally got it but passed a couple of years after that.

She made the best of those couple of years. She was such a fighter. She was another who made me feel like I had known her forever.

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Honoring the legacy of our friends

Many other friends of mine have passed, and I would love to share their story, but it would take me forever, and that is so sad to even think of that. I sit here and cry as I write this, thinking about them all, but I won't stay here long. I know those beautiful ladies would not want that. They would want me to keep moving, keep advocating, and do all I can to help myself and every other COPD and Alpha-1 patient out there.

I hope you have all gotten to form some great friendships in the COPD community. I know it hurts when they pass, but I feel these relationships are important and can be very rewarding.

Please share any connections you've lost as part of your COPD journey in the comments section so that we may honor their memory.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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