A #fashionofficeangel has gotten her wings.
No no NO! I am so heartbroken. The world lost an incredible, kind, smart, innovative, shining human being on the morning of March 10th, and I lost a very dear friend, soul sister, collaborator and mentor. Ruth Staiman, lovingly known by @fashionoffice on Twitter and Instagram, has passed from this mortal world. You may know her from her 20+ year prestigious fashion career at Bloomingdales, Hearst and independently. More likely, you know her because a curiously sophisticated chartreuse chair avatar @’d you out of the blue and made you smile.
Something you probably didn’t know was that Ruth has been battling breast cancer for a year and a half. She’s glad you didn’t know – she never wanted to announce it on social media. She didn’t want cancer to be her thing.
She wanted HAPPINESS, POSITIVITY and LIVING WELL to be her thing! @fashionoffice loves beaches, sweetness, shoes, sunshine, spas, fashion, tech, Hermes, diamonds, family trips to Europe!… and most of all she loves to INSPIRE people and fill them with GOODNESS, and good advice. And Ruth kept her social media message just that. Her inspirational memes – they meant something deep every time I saw them. I’m so sad right now. Ruth, I cannot believe you are gone so soon. You told me you weren’t going to die. She told me she was fine! I should have called more. I should have tweeted more.
And then it dawned on me… I can still tweet @fashionoffice. And she might mention me in a tweet again too – or you! (She’s got automatic paper.li tweets and auto-horoscopes set up to disseminate every day.) Ruth has touched hundreds of thousands of people through social media and will never cease to do so. Her message is her life, and the tenets of her life are ingrained in her tweets and posts. She took part in just about every social media campaign I ever conducted! She’s helped my Twitter parties go viral, she’s guest blogged for me, she was a top member of Spa Week’s Hot Mom Spa Squad that I created, dishing out parenting advice rooted in “lead by example.” Ruth’s passion for connecting with and helping people online has carved out a generous spot in so many hearts – and lucky for me, segued to many delicious, indulgent dinners at Nobu. I’ll always remember how excited I was to first connect with Ruth on Twitter. She was so open, and never left me hanging on a response – just like she is in real life. Something as simple as seeing “@fashionoffice was one of my first Twitter followers! I will miss her so much.” shows just how powerful her presence online is, and how intimate that relationship can be.
Ruth reminds us we must never underestimate the power of our voice, our presence and our kindness – online and off.
In the age of social media, our conversations can stay easily alive, and we are there to stalk until eternity. Side note, I believe social media profiles should go to social media heaven or hell when you die. Your friends get to vote, and your profile picture receives a halo or horns accordingly! Mark Zuckerberg, what are you waiting for?
Well, here’s my version: A smattering of my favorite of Ruth’s Instagram inspiro, securing her a spot in the highest of heavens. Note the imperfections – Ruth didn’t mind if part of a word was cut off, what she cared about was getting it out there.
Ruth reminds us that our perfectly-formed thoughts aren’t worth nearly as much our thoughts we share – for those are the ones that become our legacy.
TODAY :: Share/RT one of @fashionoffice’s messages and tag her. She would have done it for you!
USE HASHTAG #fashionofficeangel
(As determined in this Twitter powwow – good one @gimletstyle:)
Please send your warmth and strength to her loving husband Bill Bymel, their sweetie eight year old daughter Elizabeth, and her other two handsome sons. I wish I could have made it down to Florida for the funeral today. My heart is bleeding with you all right now, and with all who have been blessed to have been blessed by Ruth’s life.
And @fashionoffice’s final Instagram photo… her backyard, her heaven on earth, evidence of eternity.