Commemorating an English friend from Canada – Bill Howdle’s experience of online loss


Whilst catching up on blogs I follow recently, I was incredibly moved by Bill Howdle’s tale of how he and his wife Vi chose to commemorate the passing of an online friend of theirs who had first contacted Bill through his blog – Dying Man’s Daily Journal.

Bill’s friend Meg lived in England, and chose to share her story with Bill because she had no close family, and wanted to reach out to somebody in the time which remained to her on the planet. Through doing that, she gained the support not only of Bill and his wife, but also Bill’s many blog followers.

Two days ago, Bill posted the news that none of us wanted to hear, informing us that Meg had gone on her final journey. (He shares the way in which he learned of this in the post on his blog.)

Bill’s choice of words for what he and Vi did seems very appropriate for those of us dealing with online loss and grief. They participated in what he terms a virtual funeral. Meg’s solicitor had informed them of the time of the service, and so at the appropriate moment, Bill and Vi sat and listened to Meg’s favourite piece of music, which they had been provided with. Each said a short prayer and spoke a little about how Meg had affected their lives.

They drank a toast with coffee, and gave thanks for the life that Meg had led which had such an influence on theirs.

As people who have experienced the loss of online friends, we can learn some helpful lessons from Bill and Vi’s commemoration – an act which it is never too late to carry out. We may not have the luxury of being able to synchronise the moment of our commemoration with our friend’s service as Bill and Vi were lucky enough to do, but it does not matter. The important thing is that we remember them and they continue to hold that same special place in our hearts that they did when they were alive.

Wishing you all peace as we head into 2012,

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About Casey Bottono

I am in love with language. I write poetry and fiction in a wide variety of genres. Most recently, I have been shortlisted as a finalist in the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities' Pen2Paper contest.
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