Sometimes, the things we love get tarnished because of our carelessness, because of our anger, or our powerlessness.
I used to LOVE blogging.
Don’t get me wrong. I still enjoy it, but it used to be something I looked forward to with great zeal and anticipation. It is a hobby that has provided some great friendships and provided me with reassurance that I’m not the only one looking around at the world today and wondering “What the Hell? When did the inmates start running the damn asylum?” But as with anything that has an emotional investment and that is worthwhile, it has had its share of disappointments, and friends who have either grown cold, or are friends no more.
I was lucky enough to be accepted into a few online communities that have a family feel for those who find a place there. But like all such places, they can be brutal to those who are not, or those who find that they have been cast out.
A few months back, I found two friends who were part of my family at odds with each other. Things escalated, words were exchanged, and actions were taken. To say that it shocked some people would be an understatement. As a result, I started a new blog. Which is to say that I turned on the lights, and put a name on it.
I didn’t enter into this decision lightly. Before taking this step, I talked to someone who took this conflict even more to heart than I did. And she loved the idea. Others were given invites and it took off. Sharing a penchant for low-brow conservative leaning humor, we always knew it would be a whorehouse, but we wanted it to be our whorehouse. The members of out happy little band, led by my friend, made it so..quite literally, and a new clubhouse was born. Unfortunately, there were still hard feelings, and possessing some myself, I let my anger and my fingers get the better of me. This was soon discovered, and the result was more confrontation, public and private. My friend “quit” the family, and while the rest of us weren’t disinherited, some of us weren’t exactly welcome anymore.
Then my friend, who had a complicated and complex surgery months ago had very suddenly taken a turn for the worse. The news was a shock to all, both the family she retained, and the family she had quit. Her health became the center of everyone’s attention, and concern transcended the recent hurts and unpleasantness.
After a brave battle, and several traumatic surgeries, my friend died, leaving a husband, two children, grandchildren, and more internet friends than her family ever knew she had.
Being close to the two in the family who lived nearby and who visited her during her hospital stay, I knew the prognosis wasn’t good. The news that she left us wasn’t a surprise, but it didn’t make it any easier to take. Grief is a funny thing. Some people turn inward, some retreat, and others wear it on their sleeves. I’m not sure that I have fully reconciled with it.
Some people have a presence, even when they say very little at all. My friend was like that, and I find on many days, that I sorely miss that presence. I think that she was the emotional touchstone for our little fold in moronspace on the internet. I do know that while the conflict with the family took away my joy in blogging for a while, my friend’s death sucked all the air of the room for me.
It would be difficult to explain why I’ve let any of this affect me the way that it has. I know that some people would tell me that it is silly, but I’ve met some of the members of the family, and had private conversations with others. They aren’t “fake internet friends” anymore when you’ve dined and had drinks with some of them, or can at least put a real name and a voice with them. And when you have witnessed or participated in the genuine decency that they show toward their own, detachment doesn’t really seem to be an option anymore.
Sometimes, not all your friends will get along. Sometimes, they will carry grudges. And sometimes, one or both will go to the grave unreconciled.
I’d like to say that fatigue from being busy at work and a constant parade of mendacity, contempt, and lawlessness from this administration have been the reason why I just haven’t been posting much. (And that would certainly be part of it.) But, really, its been thinking about family, and those who can’t reconcile any longer, for whatever reason. I can’t speak for everyone, and I don’t expect everyone else to see it my way. But I have learned that life is too damn short to let things said in anger keep you divided from friends and family. Those divides and the words that fill them have a way of growing, and becoming more jagged over time. And in the end, no words haunt more than the ones left unsaid.