"When Online Friends Pass"
Many of us have worked online for years. And, over those years,
we have managed to develop many lasting friendships with other
online business people and our readers. Often, we even talk on
the phone or using Skype.
Over time, because we all get older and/or stuff happens, people
pass out of this life into the next. I've lost several friends
over the 15 years I've been online.
My most recent loss was Ron Rink. He was highly intelligent, had
led a fascinating life and was great fun. Ron could always make
We had been good friends for years – and he leaves a great hole
in my online life. I knew he was terminally ill for about a
year, but that doesn't make things any easier.
He told me a few weeks ago that it looked like he was coming
into the home stretch. Then … nothing. I had no way of knowing
if he was too ill to write or if he had passed. I finally
checked Google for an obituary – and found it.
Which brings me to the point ...
As mentioned before, I've lost many good friends online. If you
work online, you most likely have the same situation of making
close online friends. These friends are just as real as our
off-line friends. And, I'm NOT talking about Facebook friends,
The problem is, I wonder if our families are aware that we care
about people we work with online just as if we were in office
building. Or, do they think our online friends aren't “real”
In only a couple of instances have I been notified by a good
friend's family that they have left our world. I'm usually left
knowing only that they have disappeared until I track it down,
or “hear” about it, later.
Of course, I have no way of knowing how many people keep
passwords on their computers. Maybe more than I think since I
don't bother. But, barring a computer being “locked,” it would
be easy enough to access a person's email list – or, even
address book – and notify friends and business associates of a
family member's passing. In fact, even looking through the email
would turn up those who are closest to the deceased.
When we go, our family provides an obituary and lets off-line
friends know about services for us. Why is it different with
I suggest that online business people simply don't always think
to leave instructions with our families.
We should rectify that.