On Friday, I visited a friend of more than thirty years; she is in the intensive care unit of the hospital where I work. She is very sick, and I left the hospital honestly not knowing if I would see her again. She has been much on my mind since.
This morning, I awoke to find my Facebook feed saturated with news of another passing.
Nearly eleven years ago, when I was a brand new blogger, I was eager to learn more about this world of cyber activity. I had a few friends with blogs, and through their blogs made new blog friends. Occasionally, I would click that button at the top of a blog; you know, the one that says "Next Blog."
"Next Blog," one fateful day, turned out to be a moving account of a hospital experience written by a man undergoing treatment for a brain tumor. His was some of the best writing -- blog or elsewhere -- I'd ever seen. I left a comment.
Eleven years. I read everything he wrote. I learned of his unsavory past, his resurrection, his marriage, his job loss, his separation, his politics, his reconciliation. By the time his daughter was born, we'd been blog friends for so long that I knew I had to send her a quilt. His marriage came apart to stay and he remained a devoted, proud, and enthusiastic father. He found a new love; he became engaged. All the while, he wrote. He blogged. At some point a year or so ago, the blogging dribbled off; he'd become involved in podcasting and television production.
We never did meet, though we talked about it. He has family Not Far From Philadelphia and recently promised that the next time he went to visit them . . . .
I'm about the same age as his mom, and I've always had a motherly feeling towards him. He confided in me about things he couldn't share on his blog. I listened. I sent him things I'd written; he critiqued them.
And now he's gone. I don't know how, and I think it is actually better to leave it that way.
"How do you mourn for what never existed? How do you grieve not for the past but for the future, a future that will never be? I suppose that's what true grief is -- it's not the disappearance of what was there all along as much as it is the sudden absence of what you were so sure was to come." - Chez Pazienza