Anyone heard from Jane lately?

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We’ve all got Internet friends, many of whom we will never physically meet. What would you do if they were no longer there? Would you care?

The thought occurred recently when a very dear friend of mine, who I worked with at the University of Waikato back in New Zealand, was absent without leave from the internet. A day or even two of his not being there is normal. But a week or more?

Fortunately I’m also in contact with one of his many daughters via ‘chat’ on Facebook, otherwise I wouldn’t have known that he had a heart attack last year. Since then he has had ongoing health problems. So when he went quiet once again a few weeks back, I immediately contacted her on FB. Bless her heart, she profusely apologised for not letting me know. She needn’t have. I completely understood. I was just glad that he’s still alive. It turned out that he had been admitted into hospital again, this time to have his stents cleaned out. Then in his fragile state he caught a nasty infection that laid him low. So, he’s still in hospital. I’m waiting for him to come out of there so that I can ‘chat’ to him again. I miss gasbagging with the big lug on FB.

With the change in the way many of us keep in touch with one another these days, mainly via email, and the many types of social media. God forbid that it should ever happen; but what if one of us died? How would anyone know, particularly if like myself, you live on your own and have no close relatives or even a friend who sees you every day? Then there’s the problem of how you inform his or her online friends of their demise, unless you either post something on their FB page, Twitter account, or if you know some of their online friends and send them a ‘chat’ message.

Face it folks, none of us are getting any younger. We can’t simply leave a message on Facebook, Twitter or any of the other social media sites saying “Hi folks. Guess what, I’ve just died!” now can we.

In my case, the only way anyone who knows me can tell I’m still alive is by my daily blog posts, or when I comment on something on Facebook each day. So if your friend doesn’t put in an appearance via the internet for a couple of days, contact them. If you know their phone number, ring them. If you know their email address send them an email. It may just be that their busy with something, or in bed with some ailment. Either that or they may have temporarily lost their internet connection as happens occasionally with a couple of my many lovely American lady friends, like Robynn in Wyoming. Whatever the case may be, let’s keep an eye on one another. If you live not too far away, go and see your friend, if only to give yourself peace of mind.

Imagine if you were totally unaware that your friend had died. How would you feel? I’d be heartbroken. No matter whether or not you have actually met one another, friends of all kinds, physical or internet, are friends for life.

Never forget that…

πŸ˜‰

62 thoughts on “Anyone heard from Jane lately?

  1. I remember a blogger friend that disappeared at the beginning of last year. She had a massive following and was a real sweetie, but she often posted about the abusive marriage she was in. I often wonder what happened to her.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know the feeling Jack. I still have a listing of a friend, who died more than two years ago. As you can imagine, his FB page lies dormant, and I only found out about his death after his funeral, not knowing he was even ill. If I had known, I would love to have visited him, if only to thank him for the support he gave me when I was having trouble. I agree Jack, keep an eye on your friends. It will usually be that they have not been on a computer for several days, but just keep an open mind and be vigilant.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog….. An Author Promotions Enterprise! and commented:
    Jack makes a great point in this article – I know, I’ve sent emails to online friends who have been missing for a few days and had at least one great online friend – Author Steve Smy – who died.
    I for one would miss many of YOU, so lets do what Jack advises and keep in regular touch with each other – even if we live half a world apart πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I wonder about this every now and then. I make my posts at least a week in advance. That makes me think people wouldn’t realize I’m gone until long after the fact. Social media really does seem to go beyond the user. A friend of mine who died years ago is still ‘active’ on AIM and Facebook. I think the latter is done by his loved ones keeping his account open and it pinging a phone location at times.

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  5. A touching and important post, Jack. I was very moved when a blogging friend, Jemima Pett, contacted me by email when I hadn’t shown up on her blog for a couple of weeks, to make sure I was okay (I had had a shoulder joint replacement). We do need to look out for each other, even if we’ve never met face to face.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I know the feeling, too, though I knew my old high school classmate was sick and in bad shape. She was fighting to have an experimental treatment, even appearing on TV, and was quite active on FB until just a couple weeks before her death. It wasn’t unexpected, but she was only in her mid-30s and had very young children. Her FB page is still open, being run by her husband.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I had a blogger friend go quiet lately. I really missed his blog posts. I tweeted him and he emailed me back. He had just been busy. But it did highlight this very issue to me. Our blogging friends are part of our daily life just as much as our ‘real’ friends are.

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  8. All good points, Jack! I think letting family members or good friends know what social media accounts (with username & passwords) a person has is key. In order to notify “blogger friends” if a person dies, or has stopped communicating because of a serious, debilitating illness. In my mind a person’s writing out there is another part of possessions, like a house, finances, clothes, etc. Christine

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  9. The same thought crossed my mind a time or two. When I went on a big vacation last year, I put my affair in order before I left. I also left instructions for my daughter how to get into my WP account to send an announcement if anything happened to me.
    A couple of ladies in my blogging family weren’t aware I was away on holidays and sent me e-mails inquiring if everything was alright. Bless their heart. I almost cried. Darn glad I h.a.d. left instructions.
    Bless your heart for this post.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. This is a great reminder to check in with all friends. I think it’s also a good idea to note on your blog or facebook page that you will not be posting for a few days if you are going away or in some other way occupied.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You know, Jack, I’ve lost track of my brother. The only contact I had was his sister-in-law. If he’s still alive he’d be 94. I lost contact several years ago when he sold his house. If he’s still alive, he’s probably in a nursing home. My son tried the internet, but no luck. He never used social media so no luck there. I’m living in India and he’s in the U.S. He’s 20 years older than me. It’s really sad, but nothing can be done. I know the feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m in this situation with a friend I’ve made over the blogging years, Sue Ann Bowling. Back in September she let us know she’d been given 6-12 months (I think). She kept us updated until November, when she was going into a hospice. The posts that needed intervention (the Alaska weather forecast) last went out the beginning of December and scheduled posts (book quotes) finished at the end of December. I tried emailing her contact on her website but it’s been ‘discontinued’.

    So, if you’re reading this, Sue. You are much loved. Whether you’re in the hospice or in heaven. And your books are still selling…

    And I’m so glad to meet you, Jack. Can I interest you in biplanes?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I had the same experience as Jo. I haven’t received a response to my several email messages, and I know of no other way to contact my friend. If I had the time, I would start a directory where all of us could list our names and a contact person’s link. It would be kept private among a few administrators and not be posted anywhere online.

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  14. Lovely post, Jack. I took a week off from my blog last week and even though I had a guest blog sitter there, I was amazed by the messages on twitter, Facebook and emails asking if everything was ok? It made me think that perhaps I should have warned people first that I was taking a break to do a short story challenge and just how caring some of my blogging community were, because I was absent from the blogging world They did this even though I had a blog sitter who, by the way, did a fanatic job.

    Fortunately, for me, the only bloggers I have lost contact with are those who have given up blogging altogether. I was lucky to have found this out from them before they disappeared altogether.

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  16. FB was nice enough to remind me that my friend, Jim, had a birthday. It was nice to know, but Jim died two years ago. His family put out a post on FB and left the account open. Jim was a writing friend and we talked often, but the FB reminder was a bit of a shock. I’ve informed my wife, at my demise, she is to send an email to everyone in my contacts list. I even showed her how to do it. She is also to put a post on my different ‘social’ accounts. AND, run a special program which will include my death notice on my web page to show from that date on. She wanted to just close down everything. I explained, you’ll lose my royalties by doing that. I mean, at the current time the royalties aren’t six-digit, but it will allow for a nice lunch or simple dinner at a good restaurant a couple of times. I remember the thrill of my first royalty – I took my wife out for coffee and a shared donut. Yup, blew in one sitting. LOL.

    BUT, how to know when another writer or ‘cyber’ friend has passed is definitely difficult. When I see one MIA, I attempt contact – email, phone, whatever – and if I don’t hear back, I then begin the gruesome search for an obit online. One friend went MIA for 2 weeks – she was on a retreat and disconnected from the world. She didn’t say anything prior because she lives alone and didn’t want to notify the cyber world that her house was empty. Her neighbor fed her cats, got the mail daily, and mowed her yard during her absence. Being a cyber friend, I understood where she was coming from since… well, she only knows me from the internet. Yes, we’re friends, but… we all appear wonderful in cyberspace. Right?

    Good article, Jack.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I’ve had an account out there for over 5 years and it is still active. I created it for my one book’s character. I attempted to create friends, etc and post. I think it has 3 friends and 2 posts. No activity since 30 days after creation. Yeah, you’d think FB would be checking out accounts with lack of activity… I mean, at least those with over 12 months of nothing. Check and see if the person responds, if so, leave it; if not, delete it. Two of my cousins have passed, their accounts are still ‘live’ – as well as several of others I know who are either incapacitated and/or living in a nursing home w/ no internet – not to mention those who has passed on. For FB to brag they have X million users… uh, how many of them are alive? It’s like the voters in the U.S. – a town with a 2,371 population had over 3,500 votes cast. Not sure how. LOL.

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  17. Even off line it can happen. My mother in Australia did not get a Xmas card from her oldest friend in Scotland. The friend did live with her sister but no word was heard from her so
    I was tasked to ring their home number – I had only met the sister once and was worried what to say. Mum’s friend had died , the sister left with no one and had not felt up to getting in contact with people.

    Liked by 2 people

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