Saturday, March 21, 2009

How Do You Remember Someone When They Have Been Erased?

I went to the weblog to do* a little clean up and organization, particularly of the blogroll.

There are a few I’ve decided to remove, and I want to add a few. While there I checked on the link to a close friend of mine who died exactly two years ago today. I wanted to read some of his words, and remember him a bit. When he died so young (49) it was a sad day for his family, and certainly it was worse for them than for me. But more sadly, it appears that the presence he had left behind on the Web has been completely erased. He had a weblog that he wrote to, including poetry, musings, observations and the glimmerings of beginnings of stories he wanted to write. Those are now all gone, and don’t even appear in the Wayback Machine. He’s also gone from LinkedIn. A google search of him turns up nothing. This is sad too. The man wanted to write and was good at it, but was always so busy with life and taking care of his family that he never really got the time to write much more than what he left behind on the web, but now that too is gone.

*(No posts lately, though many items have built up to post about. More pleasant posts to come later.)


chuck Goolsbee said...

In the past several years I've had two people that I've known, and primarily used technology to interact with, pass away. One after a long illness, the other suddenly due to an accident. In the case of the former he knew he was going to die, and made an effort to see me on a few occasions, essentially to say "goodbye"... though even after that we emailed and chatted online. As his illness progressed even that stopped. I was in a grocery store one day a few months after we had last contacted each other when my cell rang and CID said it was him. My elation plummeted when I heard his wife's voice instead of his... I knew why she was calling. I officiated his memorial service, and miss him dearly. In the case of the latter, he died very suddenly while on an overseas trip, and the spookiest thing was that his laptop was still on and he appeared in my iChat buddy list for a good 30-some hours after his death.

Speaking of which, in both cases it took me up to a year to remove their entries from my address books/buddy lists. Mourning period's technological equivalent I guess.

Dan O'Donnell said...

I had called him a month earlier when my father unexpectedly died. That weekend he found out he also had terminal cancer but didn't tell me. I didn't find out he was ill until his wife called people in his computer address book to tell them that he had died. It was very saddening that he didn't give us a chance to say goodbye, but she said he was in great pain, and not thinking clearly because of the pain and the painkiller.

So I lost two people close to me in a month. It was a difficult time. I still keep his info in my address book. But I sent his personal letters back to his son, because I felt his family would have wanted to see what he wrote and thought.