Rules. Most get set with good intention, right? I’m not so sure, but I’ll go with this premise for the time being. Rules of writing. Rules of relationship. Rules of the highway. Rules. Rules. Rules.

Recently, likely most profoundly this evening, I discovered I’ve lost two very dear friends. One of these friends I wrote the poem “Midnight in Her Heart” in her honor, the other, a man who would be 91 this March had death not come and stole him away.

Ayesha is likely the dearest human I’ve never met in person. In my heart, she’s the dearest of friends and the dearest person I’ve ever known. Her writing enticed my attention, my heart, and my creative muse. Her passion for caring for humans, especially children, flowed through her words as natural as a simple breath. Writing from her heart appeared as effortless as snuggling into a warm blanket on cool evening.

Harvey owned a heart of the purest gold ever to walk this earth. Such a dear, sweet man. And his life stories! Oh. My. God. This man could make you laugh about the foibles he suffered. You felt his good nature in his voice. In his laughter. In his constant ability to be excited about cars, and stories, and life. His humility walked limitless with him everywhere his feet carried him. Harvey wrote a book’s-worth of stories about his life.

I tried to get Harvey to let me publish his stories. He wanted to. He truly did. He just had to take care of everyone and everything around him. That’s who he was. He was selfless, and I want to say – to a fault – but I could find no fault in Harvey. I cherished every moment with this man. Harvey always had you feeling like you were the most important person in the room when he spoke with you. Always playful, always smiling, always a friend.

My last conversation with Harvey, he was undergoing Chemo. He let me know he would call me on the other side of the treatments. His statement sounded like a goal. Something to shoot for. A hope. I just knew I would get that call…

A little over a year ago, Ayesha underwent Chemo. The news shattered my writing world in many ways. She would write the most profound and supportive comments on my blogs, encouraging me and lifting me. Over the 8 years we conversed, the communication remained solely through blogging comments. She went into seclusion during her Chemo and I never heard from her again.

Today, one day after learning that Harvey had left this world, I noted Ayesha’s Facebook page disappeared. Sadness. I’d always hoped to meet this brilliant, talented woman in person. Life keeps delivering the message that not acting on the impermanent nature of life definitely brings a boatload of regret.

What does all this have to do with rules? Too often in my life, I’ve paid far too much attention to rules. So many of them run me into the ground and I feel helpless. No more. The overwhelm of rules will no longer proliferate as a debilitating aspect of my life. I understand many rules own specific, life-enhancing purposes in life. Many do not. I must continue to grow into the distinctions between the two.

Harvey and the world should have had his book. Its charm would have warmed the hearts of all who would have read it. The stories were that good. He often regaled us at The Inspired Mic with these wonderful vignettes of his life. Now I fear they may be lost forever.

And Ayesha. What I would have given just to speak with her one time. Her wisdom never failed to amaze me. Even more so, her unbridled support and encouragement of my writing helped me feel worthwhile even when the world appeared to scream otherwise.

Moments ago, I want to the HubPages site where I first met Ayesha. I read some of her comments to me. Then, I read some of the hundreds of comments from other readers and writers on that site written directly to me. Here are just a sampling:

While writing a causal analysis essay for an English course, I went browsing for ideas about the effects or benefits of excellent writing—why does it matter—and I stumbled, thanks to Bing, onto Michael Ray King’s hubpage. Not only does he have an appealing style, but I felt encouraged to strive for excellence, to go beyond what I usually settle for. I appreciate that. Thanks. – moxie1956

Michael, you are one amazing writer. It will probably take me half a lifetime to read through all your hubs, but I’ll probably do it. – novascotiamiss

What a wonderful writer you are, I am grateful for hubnuggets for introducing me to you. A well deserved nomination and a lot of good reading to catch up on…I am your fan! – Sioux Ramos

you’re a very talented writer…and have the most amazing hubs! Looking forward to reading more…myownworld 

That last comment was the first one made to me by Ayesha. One of my takeaways from these turns of events is that I need to be more present in my own worth. I need to understand my value more. Not for purposes of ego, but for the purpose of carrying on as both these wonderful friends.

Each was selfless, yet I felt they understood their importance to others. Of course, I could be mistaken, but I do not believe so. In my heart, each set an example of how to be true to oneself and how to be kind and helpful to others. I’ve never had an issue with the second half of that last sentence but I’ve struggled to master the first.

Therefore, the time arrives for me to implement my rules. My take on this life. My stance on how my remaining time gets used. Ayesha had a book she was writing as well. I offered to publish it for her. That never happened.

My vocation, my passion, falls into two areas. One as an author. The other, a book whisperer, which is someone who helps people get their books written, edited, and published. My rules now apply. I’m not only good at what I do, as Ayesha said in her first statement to me and many more over the years, I’m amazing!

I discounted my worth for far too long. No more. The rules which kept me locked down and in fear of my own personal success no longer apply. Reading hundreds of people who wrote from all over the world of my amazing articles has given me cause to pause, reflect, and realize I help no one by ignoring my worth. I possess huge potential for improvement and growth, but there’s no reason to ignore my talent.

Helping others to see the same in themselves happens to be one of my strong points. I am heartbroken over the loss of these two dear friends. I crave another conversation. Another interaction. Another shot of confidence and support which both excelled at producing.

Ayesha

In my darkened, silent room
Your voice imagined, your smile, your laughter
Yet I possess no such past experience
I long for a trip back in time just to make this happen.

I once wrote
“Knowing we share breath in the same age of this world
Lifts my heart”
Knowing you’re gone breaks that heart

You would not have this
You would not care to see me falter
You would have me strive, help others
You would have me champion your love of truth and your own such devoted heart

Lift me up
Lift me high
Lift me to where we once touched the sky

I’ll be brave
I’ll think big
I’ll travel wherever your midnight bids

In my darkened silent room
Your accent imagined, your insight, your truth
My life stands with you
Oh to still amaze you…

I once wrote of your midnight healing
The hours you spent collecting your soul
Fleeting respite from life’s cruel beatings
Beauty blossomed in the dead of night

Lift me up
Lift me high
Lift me to when we each viewed our sky

I’ll be brave
I’ll walk tall
I’ll dedicate my life to midnight whims

May peace and rest be with your midnight heart … and mine …

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