Passing Away

The death of a long time member of my online community this week has, naturally enough, sparked some thoughts about the nature of intimacy on the internet. Over the ten plus (and that’s a big plus, I just find it difficult to remember that far back) years I have been involved with community writing sites like the one I developed and those that preceded it there have been a few people that have passed away. In the case of some of our most stalwart friends we have been fortunate if the family remembers us, or if one of their online friends has bridged the gap between virtual and actual friendship. Other times people just disappear. With no word from the ether that is the great unknown of ceased communication there is no way to ever find out what happened to that person. They just vanish.

Of course people come and go all the time – that is the nature of what is essentially a hobby to most. For those of us that really love our communities and do not move away to a new neighborhood it would be more comforting to really understand and know where people go. I think many people, even people who frequent social media, forget the strange nature of the internet. Whether I know you as Wyatt at Pan Historia or by my Twitter moniker Panhistoria often all you have to go by is a screen name, a bit of personal history shared, and then poof one day I could be gone. All I have to do is not login again, wander off, embrace some other interest, and it’s like I never existed.

It’s a weird feeling because very often it means that online relationships do not have closure or even memorials, despite the copious feathery trails of chatter and correspondence, posts and images. Many people solve the issue by getting real and swapping names and phone numbers and taking the play off the stage and into the audience so to speak. But even for those of us that are very selective about making that transition, or who value the wonderful transformation from everyday to magical, we still value our online friendships just as strongly. It’s important to know what happened to our friends, why they vanished from our circle, from our daily routine.

With that thought in mind I thank the family of Meritites/Mirjam Nebet for remembering her online family and letting us know so that we, like any community, can mourn her passing.

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About panhistoria

writer, online community creator, and artist View all posts by panhistoria

3 responses to “Passing Away

  • kathryn

    Really sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. Really glad you the family made the community aware. I understand loss. I’m glad you wrote about it.

  • Hatshepsut

    I must say it touches me what you’ve written on the subject of loss of longdistant internet friends, and particularly about Meritites in your Pan Historia Blog.

    Long ago in my own Pan blog (was it PH or PE, can’t remember now) I had recounted a friend I had known which also bears some resemblance to your feelings regarding Meritites and having lost her before and I must say you seem far more touched by the actual event of death then I did. Mine was no offense or a souring or friendship beyond him making very poor choices and a shift into a dangerous lifestyle which led to his actual passing. Ironic that his death to me and death to everyone else ended up as one in the same. I miss his life, I can still hear him exclaim in euphoric excited enthusiasm “KELLY SILVER, I LUV you Kelly Silver!” It was always easy to hear him everywhere, how when he said the name of one of his favorite persons the annunciation would roll like a coaster up and down and around just like him on those ridiculous yet fun roller shoes he so adored.

    Ahem… I meant to go into another thought with my comment. *Chuckle* To be continued at a later date perhaps.

    I’m glad you still have valued memories of darling Mer/Mir. Maybe I’ll see her one day and let her know how missed she is.

  • The Waking: Out of Character (Gabe Oak) « Wyatt’s Writing

    […] The Waking: Out of Character (Gabe Oak) This post in the series introduces a new character who has yet to appear in the Dreaming section, but will soon. Unfortunately the writer for this character has disappeared off the internet radar – for my feelings on that matter you can read my post from my other blog “Passing Away“. […]

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