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Monday, May 7, 2007

Cautionary Tale

I hate to start the week on a depressing note, but I was moved by a blog I read recently. A couple of weeks ago, there was a multi car pile up on the interstate when a tractor-trailer jackknifed killing several people. I remember seeing it on the news. It was very sad. An elderly husband and wife were at the front of the accident, their jeep crush beyond recognition. They were on their way to see their children and their new grandbaby. I remember thinking how sad that was. So many people dead in one horrific accident.

Then over the weekend, I fell upon a writer's blog retelling the same story. Only it was personal for him. Those elderly people were his parents. They were coming up to see him and his wife and that brand new baby. My heart sank for him.

You see news stories like this all the time, but when you meet those affected it becomes very personal and the world becomes very small. I don't know this blogger. He writes for a magazine and he was one of many that another blogger I followed had listed.

When I read his story, it became personal. I knew him. I knew his story. And I grieved for him. I've lost family too. Even when you expect it, it hits you hard. Suddenly, we were no longer strangers, but kindred spirits who understood tragedy firsthand.

While the internet brings many people together, it also separates us in unique ways. When I switched over to a new server and had to send a change of address to a long list of friends, it occurred to me how delicate a thread we're linked by. Most of those people on my email list follow this blog or know me through our writing connections, but nearly all of my connections are entirely internet based.

Save for a few, I've never met any of these people. Yet, some I consider very close friends. How odd is that? How can you be close friends with someone you've never physically met? And yet I can list a whole handful of exactly those kinds of friends.

If we disappear, for whatever the reason, you leave behind people that care for you and worry about you. I've sent more than a couple of people into a panic when they couldn't reach me through email for over a week. Turns out my provider was blocking their emails. But they didn't know that. Neither did I.

They thought I was drunk or dead in a torpid back alley. --Note: I never have cool stuff like that happen to me. Usually, I just fall down the stairs then my dogs lick me back to consciousness.

For what it's worth, remember to stay in touch through your blog or even a quick email.

People worry about you. More than you know.