Monday, 29 July 2013

Just Somebody That I Used To Know?

Sad Dragon

Yesterday I read a very sad post by Mushan about an old guildie of his. It struck a deep chord with me as I too have lost touch with people from old guilds that I used to spend all day with & I have no idea what ever happened to them. I have no reason to believe anything terrible has happened but I'll never know & that's the crappy part of online friendships!

But even deeper than that, it took me back to one of my main worries last year when I had my cancer. I have some wonderful & very close friends online but none of my family have a clue who they are. What if something bad happened during my operation? How would my friends find out where I had disappeared too? It was a big worry at the time but of course, with hindsight, it was just a worry. I did actually leave a name & phone number with the nurse but I don't think she really understood how important it was to me. I know she was being reassuring by telling me she wouldn't need it but that didn't help! lol

Around the same time, something happened on one of my stock photography sites - a contributor (photographer) died, leaving a large portfolio of work on the site which was still earning money. His family also had no idea of his online activities and it was only chance & a good management team at the stock site that worked out the legalities for them.

Mushan's post got me thinking again - I have multiple online personalities, split between my gaming, my photography, my crafts, my writing & my general friends - am I being big-headed to think they would want to know what happened if I just disappeared? I don't think so. I know how I feel when someone I consider friend or even just a regular online acquaintance stops appearing on my twitter feed or drops me on Facebook. I wonder if they are ok, then I start to wonder if it was something I did or said to upset them. Yes, eventually I stop worrying so much but it still niggles sometimes!

I'm facing another operation in the next few months so it's probably a timely reminder for me to get my stuff in order, just in case. I'm pretty sure I'll be fine but there's always that tiny little bit of doubt & this time, I'm going to do something about it! I'm not sure quite what though! I'm definitely going to put my login & passwords for my social sites in a safe place and probably put a few special contact names in there too. That's just for my online stuff, obviously I have to sort the rest of my pile of crap out too - my desk looks like an explosion in a paper factory most of the time and I wouldn't want my Mum to have to sort through it.

I know this seems kind of maudlin, but actually I'm not. I feel this is a positive thing to do. It's one less worry & once it's done, I don't have to do it again any time soon! It's just getting my affairs in order but in a very modern sense. My parents have had an 'if something happens' folder since I was a child & I guess now I'm beginning to grasp why. They obviously had us kids to worry about but almost all their friends were in the same circle & would have heard any news very quickly. It's so different these days with friends all over the world, some very special to me indeed, but they may never hear any news of the worst was to happen.

I can't be the only one who's thought like this though!  Have you? What did you decide to do?


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  1. Thanks to our chat tonight, a lot of what you say here makes more sense than it would have than if I'd read it when I first opened the post in my reader. I know exactly what you mean. I've been using the internet and making close friends through it since the age of 11 and I always used to think, "What if something happened to one of them? I'd never know." I always wanted to write a book with this as the theme but I don't think I'm good enough to handle such a sad subject, I'm more of a fantasy writer.

    And then it actually happened. I was in a fun little guild in Wrath and I chatted to a guy in it quite a bit. He stopped coming online so much after a while and I lost touch with him. Then one day, his co-blogger informed us all that he had died of cancer but hadn't wanted to worry anybody by telling them he was ill. It was such a shock, and again I had wondered, "What if there hadn't been anybody to tell his internet friends? We'd have never known.." And somebody that lovely deserves to be remembered, not forgotten.

    I've also considered myself, and as I have all of my passwords stored in my laptop and phone, I know Dan would let people know on Facebook, Twitter, my blogs.. It's a sad subject, but it's something that we have to consider these days. It's entirely normal.

    Though you'll be fine! :)

  2. When I came to WoW just after its release, I came with a group of friends. We had played other online games together over the years and regularly met up in the summertime each year as one of the group had a very large garden that could accomodate 4-5 tents. We were all rather close given that we spent so much time together online.

    When Burning Crusade was released, one member of our group became ill and couldn't play as often. He didn't give us any details of what was wrong for several months but finally told us that he had been diagnosed with a rare form of Lymphoma and was undergoing very painful and tiring chemotherapy among other treatments. We were devastated, and as one or two of us had his home address and phone number, we contacted his parents to see if he would be well enough for us to make a short visit to see him.

    A few weeks later, several cars in convoy tracked halfway across the UK to spend an hour or two just talking to the friend we had known online for around ten years. The drive itself took longer than the time we spent visiting, but it didn't matter.

    Less than a month after this, our dear friend lost his battle with the Lymphoma and died. He had asked his brother (who also played WoW ocasionally) and his parents to make sure that someone would notify us after his death when he knew he was dying. I love him for that almost as much as for the many years of friendship and company. Once again the little convoy of cars trekked across the country, this time to say goodbye to the guildmate we had loved for so long. We spent time with his parents who had been eager to find out more about the online life of their son that they had known so little about. We shared stories and memories of things he had done in his little online community and heard some of the things he had achieved in his short (30 years) life in the real world. Knowing that his parents didn't really use the internet, we also put together a small pamphlet for them, containing photographs and messages from all the people in our online community that his life had touched.

    Its been many years now since my dear friend died, and I still think of him all the time whilst playing WoW. After his death, I made sure that several members of my family and close friends understood that if something terrible was to happen to me I would want them to also notify my online friends so that people would know and have closure. It meant so much to us and I think that it is something that anyone who spends a lot of time online should consider.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this - it's exactly the kind of thing I was trying to articulate in my post. I'm so sorry for your loss but it was lovely of all of you to do that for his parents.

      I had a look at your blog too - big {{{hugs}}} for you & I hope things continue to improve for you - I have a certain lethargy associated with my depression but nothing close to what you go thru. I do the curtains closed, no tv, no noise thing too. I call it my coccoon :)

  3. Awww bless you *hugs*
    I stumbled across your blogs fairly recently actually, but I'm already hooked. I made an effort to start listening to the occasional podcast whilst resting and as an occasional poster over at the Consortium I started looking at podcasts linked there first. As it happens, the very first podcast I ever listened to was episode 069 of Jim's Power Word: Gold podcast and by pure accident I seemed to stumble over a guest that seemed to be as addicted to making gold & playing with pets and alts as I was!