Coda: The Story Always Ends, or Mourning Bloggers
Minutes after I published that last post, Josh called me over to Seablue’s container and pointed out that not only was the shell still open, but the shell was empty. Seablue was in several large oozy chunks over the sand. Which may or may not have been a bad thing. I mean, we were taking it to be a bad thing, but since we’re not bivalves and know very little about abra albas, we can’t be certain that this was the horror show we were imagining it to be. Still, we sat down with the twins and had a long talk with them about pet death and pet owner responsibility. There were many tears, but in the end, it was decided (with a strong influence from Finding Nemo) that Seablue and Milky White would return to their families in the ocean via the toilet.
The ChickieNob took the loss of her bivalve exceptionally hard. Some people may have asked her to put it in perspective, but I think she had put the loss into her own unique perspective. She really had fallen in love with Milky White in an extraordinarily short amount of time. I fully believe that. She really had thought that she’d have years with her bivalve. (Even though her brother consoled himself by saying, “Abra albas only live two years. We have no way of knowing Seablue’s age. I mean, his life didn’t start when he came into mine. Therefore, I’m choosing to believe that Seablue was two and ready to die.” Whatever helps you to sleep through the night.) It’s funny to us, but it isn’t funny to her.
I know some people are surprised by how deeply they’re mourning the passing of Nancy. I went through my drawers and set aside a pair of socks she sent me when I told her I wanted to be the sort who did roller derby but knew that my pacifist tendencies didn’t mesh well with the game. It’s hard to mourn someone you know through their blog because — like Milky White — it’s not always clear-cut for those around you. We know what mourning a family member looks like. We know what mourning a friend looks like. We even know what mourning someone estranged from you looks like, or the loss of a celebrity or public figure. Yet I still don’t think we know what mourning a blogger looks like.
There are some bloggers that I know in a different way than their family members or their face-to-face friends. They share intimate thoughts; perhaps because they know that they’ll never have to face their readers, own up to someone they only speak to via email. Our blogs can be like confessional booths, the readers the priests on the other side of the wall granting us the absolution we need in order to keep moving through our lives, in order to keep liking ourselves. We share such deep truths. It is impossible to read a person’s raw reality and not have their story affect you.
Books remain on our shelves forever, taking on a life separate from their creator. When I think about Hogwarts, I don’t think much about JK Rowling. I think about Harry Potter. The characters become the focus; the author secondary. I think we sometimes transfer that character ideology to blogs, forgetting that they’re personal stories written by real people. And real people die. I think this because I see the way we argue with a person in their comment section, believing that it’s our right to shape their story, shape their view point. That we’re just interacting with the character, as if we’re creating an interactive piece of fan fiction with the comment section. But bloggers are real people. And real people die. I think sometimes we believe that blogs will never end; that the story will keep going indefinitely and we can jump in and out of it on our own timetable. That’s the beauty of Google Reader — the blog waits for us; the story waits for us. But then a blogger dies and you realize that the story doesn’t wait for us. The story keeps going whether we’re ready for the next thoughts or not. Because bloggers are real people. And real people die.
Maybe I’m repeating that because I need the reminder as well.
It is strange to mourn a blogger. You can always convince yourself that the blogger just hasn’t had time to post. That the story will continue at a later date. There aren’t the daily reminders that you get with the loss of a family member or a face-to-face friend. Sometimes you need to repeat it over and over again to remember, so you don’t forget.
All I know is that words get under our skin, thoughts get under our skin. That we change each other with every single post.
The ChickieNob had trouble sleeping last night. She started crying again when I kissed her goodnight and she said that she knew she did the right thing by returning Milky White to the sea, but that the right thing was also the hard thing. (Please don’t disprove the plotline of Finding Nemo in this moment; not helpful.) And then she kept saying, “I just wasn’t ready for it. I knew it had to happen, but it makes me so sad because I just wasn’t ready for it. I didn’t know this was going to happen.”
And maybe that is why the loss is so unnerving; it’s the suddenly. We are mourning the suddenlies of life, that any one of our stories could grind to a halt when we least expect it. That sometimes we don’t know it is going to happen, but we need to process the news nonetheless. That life cannot pause for suddenlies just so you can find the time to take them in. It feels like a carousel ride abruptly stopping, and we are thrown forward without the ability to hold on.