A thing happened today on Twitter.
I found out that a lady who I have been reading for the last year or so, has had a tragic suicide in her family. I don’t know this woman, not really, not IRL. But I have been following her life for over a year, both on her blog and in her tweets, and so I feel like I know her. I’ve watched her travel, seen her grieve, been sad happy glad scared relieved, as her life has been laid out before me. I have laughed and cheered and cried right along with her for quite a while now. In fact, I suppose I feel like I’ve shared more of her life than some of my IRL friends. I even know things about her past. Her wedding day. Her childhood.
We have corresponded a few times in the comments section of her blog, and then via email. Not much, really, but I feel like I get her. And so when my friend Hayley died, I made sure I told her. Because I feel like she gets me. And she did. She said exactly the right things (typed exactly the right things). Just like I knew she would. She cared about the right bits.
Today I’m so sad for this person I’ve never even met in the skin. I want to make it better for her, disappear some of her pain, just like I would for a flesh-friend.
I suppose she’s like a pen-pal in days gone by, but accelerated due to the immediacy of our post. We can get to know one another so quickly, in 140 characters, click, send.
Today has reminded me of the power of the written word, in the ways that it can touch our hearts and make us feel. Transform us even. Make us laugh. Or cry. Wring us out.
Letters, books, emails, posts, tweets and texts. Somehow we can get a sense of knowing someone that we’ve never met, not in real life.
It’s a strange thing, this brave new world we’re in now. Strange days indeed. Most peculiar. (John Lennon: prescience?)
Vale Eden’s Brother.