When I was about fifteen years old, a kid I went to school with committed suicide. I didn’t know that kid terribly well – we weren’t in the same year, so we didn’t share the same friends. But besides the dreadful thoughts and feelings that hang in the air around suicide, there’s a sadness that lingers. You’ve lost one of your own. Though I didn’t really know this kid, we were of the same world which just felt so sad. And disheartening. And confusing to feel so, when I didn’t even have much of connection to this person in the first place.
In many ways, I liken my connections through social media and the internet to something similar to high school. Not the drama parts (though angsty feelings can be similar too) but it is a wide web of interconnections inside a big bubble. You’re bound to be closer to some people than others, because of your age and your common interests, or because of your stage of life. And some connections are just stronger than others.
But we all want each other to be well.
Susan Neibur wrote a blog about her struggles with cancer – a battle she lost yesterday – leaving behind her husband and two young boys. I didn’t know Susan – and like many of my
imaginary internet friends, we’d never had the pleasure of meeting. But, by all accounts, she was one wonderful woman – terribly smart (a scientist, even!) and kind, and loving, and funny! And wonderful! And you really get a sense of her state of grace though her words, as she described life with this terrible, fatal disease.
I didn’t read her blog regularly – I would catch up a little now and again, but I didn’t know her. It was sad information to take in, which is never comfortable. Someone close in age to me, with a loving husband, and children close in age to my own… it all feels too much, sometimes. Too sad. I seldom made comments on her posts, especially after reading what some of my other Internets would have to offer – the ones that were close to her – which sometimes made me feel like I was crashing a private party. But that’s okay – such is the way of the Internet sometimes.
What buoys the sadness a little, is seeing my Internets’ outpouring of all their love, no matter how well they knew Susan or didn’t. Because we’re all connected some how. The love and support is completely real.
Cancer is everywhere. There are other Internets fighting battles in their corners of the universe right now… some I’m familiar with… others, I am not. Recently, this wonderful video was made by some excellent, loving Internets (I “know” a few of these singers) for another Internet (one I do not know well) who is fighting cancer right now. It came to me through a few different sources… I encourage you to have a look at this uplifting bit of love, which is always good for the soul. Really. Go on and look.
There isn’t time enough to read every single blog every day. You can’t know everyone in the world in an intimate way. But, it never feels good to feel like you’ve lost someone in your sphere – especially the good, positive souls, like Susan. She was a bright, lovely woman, and she’s gone too soon. I weep for her family… may she rest, at last.
Cancer, I kick you in the nads really hard today.