Thursday, October 07, 2004

Blogs, life and death

A few days ago, I had a conversation with a friend, whom I shall refer to as 'YB.'

YB had wondered if anybody really read blogs and if so, did I think they were effective.

Well, that conversation and discussion has been had many a time by many bloggers.

The reason I'm touching on this subject is because of another conversation I had with Bob, a very good friend and someone I admire and respect enormously.

Bob has a long time friend with cancer. He has been through chemo-therapy a number of times and it has resuted in various remissions of the cancer.

In reality, he's playing for time. The cancer is too widespread to be cured and there is no question as to the final outcome. Bob's friend will die. His family will be heartbroken and his children will not share their weddings and families with him.

Chemo-treatment is very debilitating. Besides the external symptoms of hair loss nausea, constant pain and exhaustion, there is also the psychological impact-- a feeling of doom, helplessness and bitterness. Some overcome those feelings, some don't.

Bob's friend wants to die.

He wants it over and done with. He does not want to have to endure the chemo-therapy treatments that in the end, will prove futile.

Bob came to me a few days ago and asked me how to reply to his friend. How do you tell a man in pain and suffering-- on death's doorstep, in reality, that life is worth living to the very end?

Well, I thought about a bit.

I thought back on my own life and realized there were things said to me in the most offhand and innocous ways that have had a profound impact on me. There were things told to me, as a child that I remember to this day, with great clarity. There were off the cuff mutterings my dad made that provided me with some great insights and lessons in life.

The truth is, we have all been influenced by people who were unaware they were doing just that and we have learned from and retained memories we can't even imagine being without.

Bob's friend has children, in their teens. What little time he has left needs to be spent with them, imparting ideas, thoughts and recounting memories. As I said to Bob, tell him you never, ever know what will stick in a meaningful way.

To my blogger friend YB, I say, you never ever know what sticks. It may be the influence of a daily read, or it may be the few words of a single post, ages ago.

Whichever it is, the result is the same. It justifies the effort, if the impact is positive.

I know firsthand this is true.

Wandering Mind

may not be suitable for political vegans