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Another Attempt to Reconnect Leads to an Obituary

May 23, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Today is the second time in several months that I tried to look up an old friend only to find an obituary where an exciting, ongoing life should be.

This time my friend was younger than me, and passed away two years ago this summer.


I'm saddened and shocked.  So young.  I don't know what happened, or how, but I can't imagine any scenario that isn't horribly tragic.

Of course, I say "friend" but the truth is that I absolutely suck at keeping in touch with people.  It's not much of a friendship if I'm not even aware of somebody's passing until a few years later.  We hadn't been in touch for years.  And now, I guess, it suddenly feels disrespectful, or disingenuous, to say "friend". 

But what do you call somebody who used to give you a ride home in the rain?   Somebody who was among the first to welcome you back to town after you moved away and came back a few years later?  I guess I don't know.

Life is short.  I'm starting to appreciate that.  And it's so important to keep abreast of the lives that mean something to us, and to let the people we care about know how we feel.

And maybe be a little better about staying in touch with my farflung group of friends.

But at the same time I think I'm also going to stop Googling old friends and acquaintances.  I hate what I find.



Melinda May 24, 2011 at 8:50 am
I'm so sorry to read this, Ian. That's always a shock, and it is very hard to keep in touch with people. Distance and life intrude. As Carroll said in Through The Looking Glass -- "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place." There's work and just the physical act of keeping body and soul together. Maybe a little time for fun with near-by friends, and the days just tick by and soon months have passed and then years. I don't know the solution. I wish I did. I'm terrible at keeping in touch too.
Ian May 24, 2011 at 10:32 am
I feel sorry for the family left behind, and for not being there to add my voice to the chorus of condolences. For being so far removed and oblivious from the tragedy, whatever its nature. Makes me feel like a terrible human being.
Steve Halter May 24, 2011 at 10:40 am
I'm not real good at keeping track of people either. I've managed to touch bases with a couple of old friends through the internet. I haven't yet had the unfortunate experiences you've just had although the constant wearing of the years makes that more rather than less likely. Feeling terrible is a natural reaction, but, really you made the attempt to reconnect, so it was a positive action with an unfortunate negative result.
John Murphy May 25, 2011 at 3:04 pm
I'm sorry to hear it. I've lost track of a number of friends, and I'm all of a sudden dreading looking them up. We're a pretty far-flung people these days, and the illusion of constant connectivity can set us up for a nasty fall of this sort. Losing touch, even for good, doesn't make you a terrible human being, it makes you a normal one. But if you would like to do something for your friend's family, you could always write them a letter to let them know you learned of your friend's passing, and maybe share a few stories from happier times.
Ian May 25, 2011 at 3:12 pm
Steve-- thanks. I guess I can't stop feeling that it was "too little too late". John-- You know, I've been considering doing exactly that. I don't want to intrude on a private anguish.
Dagny Haug May 25, 2011 at 10:56 pm
But I'll be damned if you're going to randomly rediscover *me* through an online obituary. =)
Ian May 26, 2011 at 10:44 am
(...I'm just drawn that way.) Well, holy cow! Just last night I was drawing up a list of all the folks with whom I'd fallen out of touch (it's a long damn list) and in included one D. Haug. So now you've saved me some detective work! Hot damn.
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