A good friend passed away yesterday. His name was Walter, and he was the "Mal" half of Bon & Mal at The Diatom Project on AOL and at the private journal Of Mice and Puzzles on Blogspot. The "Bon" half of the team is his beloved wife, Bonnie.
Bon & Mal are known for their original word puzzles and games, as well as for their many thoughtful essays and gentle humor. They revealed a new side of themselves as Bonnie and Malcolm Mott in their 2006 online novella, The Dark Rambler. (The earlier entries are here: Chapter One, Chapter Two and Chapter Three.)
From my first forays into blogging, Walt was always there. The typist of the two, he always signed with both their names. He and Bonnie rarely let a post in Maraca go by without leaving a nice comment, and they always followed up with email on comments left on their sites. They were exceptionally generous and considerate that way.
Over time, our emails became more personal, and the friendship blossomed as we shared life's joys and challenges. Despite his and Bonnie's own difficulties and poor health, Walt never failed to swing into action whenever he sensed I needed some encouragement or a virtual hug.
In March, when I was a bit down and had not posted here for a while, he sent me a disgracefully cute photo he dubbed "The Chickadee of Cheer." I didn't respond right away, so he dispatched "The Mouse of Mirth," followed by "The Hamster of Happiness," and he threatened to keep it up until I snapped out of it. How lucky was I, to have a reader like that? How lucky, and how blessed.
Bonnie, all of us who have known you send our heartfelt sympathies. Walter, my friend, I hope you have found peace. I think, maybe, you were here to show us how to face adversity with courage. How to live a life of unselfish love.