ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST

Another one of the bloggers with whom I have been in close communication for more than a year just shut down. I suppose I knew something was happening because he wasn’t posting as often. Nor was he displaying the cleverness and enthusiasm characteristic of his past work.

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Why? He didn’t explain.Ā I could take an educated guess. Several educated guesses and probably be right at least once. This is why I am afraid to invest heavily in virtual relationships. It’s not lack of caring. It’s my fear of losing those to whom I’ve become attached. All of a sudden, with no word of warning. Without knowing what happened to them, why they abandoned me. Wondering if I ever existed in their world. Or mattered at all.

This isn’t the first such loss. Or the tenth. There is constant attrition. People vanish. Poof. One day, you stop hearing from them. Sometimes they post something to let us know that they are going silent, but rarely why. More often, they disappear without a word of farewell or hint of an explanation.

I have thought about quitting. Each time WordPress makes another pointless change in the Interface, I think about throwing in the proverbial towel. Every time someone with whom I’ve become friends goes missing. To date, over the course of my three years of blogging, I take the hit, absorb it. I mourn and move on.

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It’s getting harder. Personal and virtual losses pile up. I can’t help but wonder who will be next? Will anyone I know now be around in a few months? Are we allowed to grieve for those we have come to care about, but never met? After all, it’s just the Internet, isn’t it? I mean, we aren’t real to one another, are we?

You are real to me. I share your lives. I know your husbands and wives, fears and hopes, triumphs and defeats.

I am afraid. Because slowly, it’s going away. I can’t help but feel a deep sense of sadness and foreboding.



Categories: Blogging, Personal

Tags: , , ,

68 replies

  1. This has happened to me, too. And, I worry about my friends who have disappeared without a word. Thoughts and prayers for those who are missing and those of us who are missing them. ā¤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OH MY MY. I have felt the same way. I finally open up to a friend on line….I mean really opened up . We became really close. I call her sis. She feels the same way.
    Lately though, she has been distant. Things are bad at home….Yet, I feel lost with out the daily posts and occasional phone calls. (I am not a phone person. ).
    It’s hard.
    There have been a few others who actually vanished. Gone.
    I cry each and every time.
    Gentle hugs, Marilyn.
    I am a “Newbie” here. I intend to stay here.
    I have serious health issues…Lupus for one. I have days and weeks sometimes when I am not here. I can always be found through FB. Emails. Sarah Kasch Main account.
    Sarah Sue is the one I use for Sarah’s Attic of Treasures and Our Neck Of The Woods. Sarah

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    • I have a lot of health issues. Too many to name. I think this is pretty common among bloggers. Blogging — and being online in general — is one of the things you can do even when you have lost mobility, have heart problems, arthritis, are bi-polar, whatever. The Internet is a great leveler and for those of us who don’t get around well, freedom of a sort. I think it’s wrong to be a friend and then just disconnect without a word. Whatever your issues, physical, mental, financial — we are all human beings. We’ve got feelings. No one wants to be made to feel disposable. Welcome. I think I’ve been following “Our Neck Of The Woods” off and on for a while.

      Liked by 1 person

      • “Disposable” is exactly how I have been feeling in Our Neck Of The Woods. Left out from everyday life yet, caught up in it more than almost anyone else. It would take too long to explain right now.
        It is a terrible feeling.

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        • No one can argue with how you feel. Sometimes, talking to the people in your world helps. Sometimes not, but often I discover I have added 1 + 1 and came up with 11. On the Internet, though, it is so hard to know what’s going on. You never see the person behind the posts. It IS a terrible feeling.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Good evening, Marilyn, Danny and I are just finishing up being off for a couple of days. Although , Danny spent time (as he always seems to ) on his computer talking to contractors about projects and such.
            As to my dilemma, I am a volunteer. Danny is a park ranger at the state park where we live and work….
            So I really have to watch what I say and do more than the rest of the volunteers who come and go.
            Long story short…I spoke to them then went on strike so to speak, I didn’t help at the park except for emergencies and with other volunteers. I missed out on the Easter Egg Hunt because of it.
            It was something in the long run I had to do, yet, it hurt me to have to take such drastic measures.
            I won the battle although it left scars for me……
            Inside where no ones else can see them.
            I just got tired of being used.
            Your are right though. It is different on the internet. We don’t see any one in person. We just have to take them as we “See ‘them here…..
            I hope I am making sense.
            My mind is in a blur so much of the time any more. Have a good nights rest. Hugs.

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            • My husband was an alcoholic. It took a very long time to get him into rehab. He has been sober a long time now, more than a decade. But the battle left scars on both of us. Sometimes, there’s no other way to deal with something than to confront it and it isn’t pretty. We all have scars.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Danny has had an ongoing problem with alcohol as well. An alcoholic….if not, then very close….I came very close to leaving him last year after years of his drinking “too much.. to often. ”
                Now he drinks more than I feel he should at times but he is down to around 6 a day… Sometimes less. Sometimes none at all.
                It has made a huge difference in our lives…..

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                • There’s nothing much I can add. AA is a great organization and has saved a lot of lives and relationships. Alcoholics rarely stay sober without help, at least in the beginning. Some are okay after a while, even if they stop going to meetings. But most alcoholics need support to stay on the wagon. This isn’t my personal opinion. It is what it is. It’s like trying to smoke “just a few” cigarettes. Until one day you smoke a whole pack in a couple of hours. Been there, done that. Addiction is a hard master.

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                  • It is a hard master.
                    Danny isn’t one to go and get counseling. I wish he was. We could both use a bit of marriage counseling.
                    Menopause has done a number on me. I was once a very calm person. I seldom got angry or upset….
                    My son’s death did the same. It changed me and I had to find a way to get “Me” back. I am still working on that. LOL.
                    I know we could use the help. He doesn’t thing we do.

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                    • AA is not counseling. It’s a 12-step program. Most addicts need to hit bottom before they are willing to get clean. There’s nothing unique about your situation, more’s the pity. Addicts always say they don’t need help, can quit if they want, etc. etc. Until something happens to break through the wall of denial they have built. There are no simple answers.

                      Liked by 1 person

  3. I always say that people come into your life for a reason, then they go for another reason. But that doesn’t ease the pain when they do go. (I say that about my failed marriages at least to help me get over them).

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    • I don’t know. I am not convinced anything, much less everything, happens for a reason. I think a lot of stuff just happens. There may be reasons, but they aren’t OUR reasons. Regardless, we are left picking up the pieces and moving on. So, that’s what I do. It’s not as if there’s an alternative.

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  4. I have been following MD’s posts for only a short while and had started to look forward to them, like I do yours, so I was disappointed with his last post. I do not think he had to tell us why he was leaving, but the tone of his post, in my humble opinion, was almost blaming us for intruding on his life. I wish he had been able to be more gracious to his followers. Take Care.

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  5. Good topic Marilyn. After reading the responses to your topic, you have obviously touched a nerve. I haven’t been blogging very long and some of the people I have followed have disappeared already. I too, wondered if it was something I had said and wasn’t taken in the right way.
    Your site was the one where I first made contact (wrote a comment). You were in the hospital at the time and Garry was carrying on for you. He was having a difficult time, I could tell.
    I too have wondered if the people we make contact with are real, and by and large, I think they are. The herd is thinning and it seems to be part of the bitter sweetness of life.
    You would think that WP would have a convention where bloggers could meet. Physical interactions could take place. Our friendships could be allowed a new dimension. You could put a body to the voice and mind behind the comments. But then again not everyone can afford to take part in that either.
    The one great benefit of this process is that we are able to make contact with people from all over the world. In my brief time I have reached over 56 different countries and have interacted with many of these people. It has confirmed my belief that we have more shared concerns, interests, hopes and desires than we do differences. This process is indeed worth while and the problem of the disappearing blogger is one its unfortunate pitfalls.
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are MANY benefits, especially for people like me who don’t get around well. I also think those of us who have developed friendships need to remember the person on the other end of the line is a person, flesh and blood and feelings. If you have to leave, have to move on, you don’t need to just disappear. You can have at least the grace to realize that you’ve become part of other lives. You should feel at least a minimal obligation to honor that. Call me old fashioned, but I think — even on line — we owe each other the courtesy of a few words before vanishing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes we do owe that to our fellow bloggers. It may not always happen and sometimes it isn’t possible, however, some effort should be made to say our farewells.
        Leslie

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        • Unless you suffered sudden death, how hard is it to write a goodbye note that provides a hint of explanation — even if it isn’t true? It reminds me of people who never apologize. What, the roof of your mouth will fall off if you say “I’m sorry,” or “I was wrong”? Civility, kindness, manners — they don’t cost anything. You can’t put a price tag on people’s feelings or assume because you’ve never seen them in person, that they are disposable. It’s unkind and rude at the least. Now that I’m getting past the hurt, I’m beginning to get mad.

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  6. I know all too well how this goes having been a mainstay in a message board community for 15 years. People you’d think would never leave just suddenly do, and it’s hard to understand but that’s the way it goes. I’ve been around WP long enough to have my own attrition list here as well. Every once in a while, I look at one of my old posts and an old face in the comments and I wonder why they stopped blogging…. or sometimes even, OK, they’re still blogging so why did they stop following me?

    If it means anything, I have no plans of going anywhere anytime soon. Unless I run into Mr. Death….

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would have liked a goodbye, a word of farewell. It’s the dismissal that’s the hardest part. And it comes at a difficult time. I’ll get over it. I pop back up. If I’ve learned nothing else, it’s that you can’t dwell in the darkness. You have to smack yourself, shake it off, and go on living. The alternative is unacceptable. But sometimes, I need a time out to let myself feel the pain.

      I get involved with people. When they vanish, it hurts. I can’t talk myself out of it. I can’t bury it. It’s there, a rock in the middle of my chest. Until I work my way through it, stop feeling sorry for myself, decide what I’ve got is pretty good. It takes a little while. A few days, especially when a bunch of stuff happens at the same time.

      Why is it that stuff happens in bunches anyway? Quiet, quiet, okay; things plug along; then a house falls on you. Gee WHIZ.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I think it’s a mistake to take these disappearances personally. People stop writing because they stop seeing a point in it, or something more interesting comes along, or other pressures intensify. I have some friends I met online that I may never meet in real life, but I’ve “known” them for nearly a decade now. If the friendship is real, it finds a way to survive these disappearances. I regard these contacts like any other in life — some friends remain friends for a long time. Some for a whole life. Others don’t, for whatever reason. If I let that hurt me I’d be in real trouble. To me, relationships are one area of life in which I embrace the Buddhist philosophy of “no attachments” in that I allow them to be what they are and occasionally, they end. No door is always open. Grieve (what does “allowing” have to do with that?) but embrace what you have.

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    • I think the “allowing” is me to me. It isn’t one thing. It’s a number of things at the same time. I need to process. I DO get attached. Buddhist, shmudist. I’ve given up trying to argue myself out of my feelings. It has a very low success rate.

      If I genuinely like someone, they matter to me. I get past losses. As I get older, there are fewer people in my world. It’s more difficult. Not impossible, but harder. And it takes longer.

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  8. That’s a great post and one that makes us all consider the reality that virtual is far from reality really , I think it is important to keep things simple especially with virtual friendships ; I have met so many wonderful people on wordpress and when they let me know they are ill or something I do feel sad for them but a lovely blogger I met advised sending good wishes is all we really can do in these situations and often these well wishes will reach out to those in pain and help in a little way. Sometimes I get feelings of guilt when I don’t check out the posts of my blogging friends and perhaps a message would be the way to go; to let them know I am taking a break or whatever. If as you say someone we chat to regularly just disappears without warning we really do not have the power to find out the whys , so what do we do , I suppose we must be gentle and send out our good wishes to them, letting them go gently and not having any expectations really. I really think not having expectations is the key to survival with virtual relationships. There is a problem though if there is a genuine worry about someone’s safety and no means of getting in touch with someone who is a real friend not a virtual friend of the person we are worried about so facebook really does have it’s charms at times.

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    • BUT. AND. Not all of us are good at avoiding emotional involvement. There. I’ve said it. We may think we are holding ourselves at arm’s length, only to discover we were fooling ourselves. And — often, when someone disconnects, they completely pull the plug. No more email, no comments, nothing. Just a hole in space.

      Why? Illness? Bad marriage? Job loss or the threat thereof? Was it something I said, you said, or everyone said? A plunge in readership that pushed him over the edge? Computer problems? Or just tired, had enough. Time to move on. At which point other bloggers — we who thought we were friends — are discarded like yesterday’s news. We were never real. Now we are nonexistent. And that is what hurts the worst.

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  9. The disappearance of bloggers has me baffled. there have been a couple of bloggers that I followed who pointed out that they were going on hiatus, or cutting back. Perfectly normal. But there have also been a few who have, from one day to the next, slipped off the face of the Internet earth. There should be a virtual 911 that you could call in these cases. Have someone check-up and see that everything is okay. Guess I’m a worrier.

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    • I’d like to say it’s because I’m worried, but it’s more feeling hurt and discarded, that a friendship that felt real, felt human was of so little importance that it doesn’t even deserve a word of explanation and a goodbye. It is a statement that all this means, in the end, nothing. These friendships? Nothing. It was never real. So be careful. Don’t care. Don’t invest. Don’t think you really have something because you don’t. It’s nothing at all. It’s all an illusion, smoke, mirrors, and some kind of strange electronic signals bouncing around the atmosphere.

      Most of us do not need to be reminded how fragile life is or how ultimately unimportant we are. I could have done without this.

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  10. I had been thinking along these lines today, not because of personal loss or disappearance of blogging friends but because of recent deaths of well known people, a former Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, actor Leonard Nimoy and yesterday Ritchie Benaud an Australian cricket captain and commentator. They had all lived to a good old age but it started me thinking about how few of our parents generation were left and that as we get older we seem to hear about death so much more often. It feels like the landscape of our lives is being painted over and I don’t like it but all you can do is carry on because what else is there?

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    • There is nothing to do but cope, so that’s what we do. Which doesn’t make it less painful. I remember my mother saying “You know you’re getting old when your friends start to die.” I was young, maybe in my thirties, and I thought it was the saddest thing I’d ever heard. Then, the years passed. My mother died. One at a time, her sisters and brothers died too. My brother died. My first husband and a couple of friends. All gone. Life is attrition. “I didn’t know he/she was sick,” you say, in stunned surprise. Years roll on. The actors and actresses you liked are gone. You don’t know the new faces. You don’t know the new musicians. No one you know has living parents and it’s not noteworthy. A lot of people go much sooner than you expect and some — depending on luck and circumstance — are people in your circle. One day, you look around, and no one is there.

      Internet to the rescue. Except periodically, without warning, they drop off the edge of the world. Hey, they don’t owe me anything. We never had a contract. No real commitment. The world shrinks. No one wants to talk about it. It doesn’t help anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Some of my closest friendships have begun online…people I have eventually been able to meet and hug in person and whose place in my life will remain…and some I have yet to meet but who are true friends after so many years. Perhaps a similar friendship to proper, old fashioned penpals. The whole thing about the internet allowing folk to just fall offf the radar without notice though is a real problem. Our ‘address books’ are all locked away behind passwords, our families may only know a first name from snippets we let fall. I have to wonder what we are doing to human relationships … both opening then wide to the world yet somehow cutting them short and losing access to the network of support, perhaps, in times of grief and trouble. A double edged sword.

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  12. I do understand you and it does always help to get an explanation. Friends come and go both here and irl. Have you ever had any contact with these people out of WP? Some of the souls in here as I care much about, I do have their private email, and will contact them through this, if they just disappear. I have maybe been emailing with them because of a guest post, or something more private. Not all my life is public.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve had a couple of people suddenly disappear. It can be quite strange, they’ll be posting ten to the dozen one week, then they’re suddenly gone. I worry a little that something has happened.

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  14. I’ve had real life people drop out of my life without a word, but it’s par for the course for a nomad like me. Yes, you’re allowed to grieve for the people who move on — both IRL and online — it’s quite normal. We’re all real people and you are as important to us as we are to you. Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I certainly consider you a friend.

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  15. “Are we allowed to grieve for those we have come to care about, but never met?”

    Yes.

    And whether we’re “allowed to” or not, I have, and will.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It makes me very shy about investing in online relationships. They disappear like smoke. In a flesh-and-blood relationship, at least whoever is leaving says goodbye and offers a reason for going away. On the great web, people have no obligation to each other. You are chums today, gone tomorrow. You never even knew his or her name.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Would you have rather not known them at all? You share, and learn, as they I am sure did with you. You must have enjoyed the relationships or you would not miss them. Missing someone is about caring and love. Not missing someone is from a bad experience. Relish the time you had and carry on.

    Liked by 1 person

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