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Donnie B.
2005-Jan-09, 02:01 PM
This is a tough one to write.

I've just learned that an on-line friend, whom I've known for six years but never met face-to-face, has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and will soon be dead.

No, it's not someone from BABB, so no wild speculation please.

This man's story is already tragic, as he was a very active person until about ten years ago when a white-water rafting accident left him a paraplegic. He has barely enough motion in one shoulder to guide his finger around the keyboard. How he's managed to stay sane this long I don't know -- I don't think I could handle it.

He has chosen to refuse treatment for his illness, which in his case would have little hope of success and would cause great pain.

Right now I think I'm more upset than he is. He describes his diagnosis as "my ticket", meaning the way out of his predicament. He's been through a long battle with various physical problems and has been confined to a bed for over a year. Perhaps it goes without saying that depression has been an ongoing problem as well. So in a sense, death will be a release for him.

But man, I'm gonna miss him.

What's really eating me up is that I've never made the trip across country to meet him in person, and now (because of a busy work schedule) I have no chance to get away in the next few months. I can't set aside my work responsibilites for a non-relative.

I'm not usually the most emotional guy, I guess, but right now I'm listening to the song "Into the West", the closing theme from the Lord of the Rings movies, and I'm getting all choked up.

I know there's nothing my fellow BABBlers can do about this, but I needed to open up about it. Thanks for listening.

ToSeek
2005-Jan-09, 03:27 PM
Sorry to hear that - our thoughts are with you.

Swift
2005-Jan-09, 04:53 PM
This is a tough one to write.

I've just learned that an on-line friend, whom I've known for six years but never met face-to-face, has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and will soon be dead.

No, it's not someone from BABB, so no wild speculation please.

This man's story is already tragic, as he was a very active person until about ten years ago when a white-water rafting accident left him a paraplegic. He has barely enough motion in one shoulder to guide his finger around the keyboard. How he's managed to stay sane this long I don't know -- I don't think I could handle it.

He has chosen to refuse treatment for his illness, which in his case would have little hope of success and would cause great pain.

Right now I think I'm more upset than he is. He describes his diagnosis as "my ticket", meaning the way out of his predicament. He's been through a long battle with various physical problems and has been confined to a bed for over a year. Perhaps it goes without saying that depression has been an ongoing problem as well. So in a sense, death will be a release for him.

But man, I'm gonna miss him.

What's really eating me up is that I've never made the trip across country to meet him in person, and now (because of a busy work schedule) I have no chance to get away in the next few months. I can't set aside my work responsibilites for a non-relative.

I'm not usually the most emotional guy, I guess, but right now I'm listening to the song "Into the West", the closing theme from the Lord of the Rings movies, and I'm getting all choked up.

I know there's nothing my fellow BABBlers can do about this, but I needed to open up about it. Thanks for listening.
Donnie,
I'm very sorry for you pain. This is going to sound weird, but maybe its ok that you won't meet him face-to-face. Your relationship has been through words, you've gotten to know the real preson inside, not the physical body. I'm one of those people who don't like open caskets, I don't want that to be the last way I remember the person. Maybe this way you'll remember what you shared and he'll live on through what he left you and others.

Candy
2005-Jan-09, 04:56 PM
This makes me sad. I'm sorry. :(

poorleno
2005-Jan-09, 05:00 PM
Well, I'm really sorry for you, and your poor friend. I'd think he'd really appreaciate if you could make it though, maybe you still could try? Wouldn't you?

I've had a friend with cancer before, but he survived with kemo. As for internet friends, I do have a few, whom i've known for at least 5 years. These few, I'd certainly visit, were they in the same position, no matter what. Of course, I'm only a collage student, so I'm not tied down...

Again, I'm really sorry.

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Jan-09, 06:14 PM
I don't really know what to say. I'm very sorry for both of you. Cherish what time you do have left.

mickal555
2005-Jan-09, 06:33 PM
I'm also very sorry I could imagine how hard it would be...

beskeptical
2005-Jan-09, 06:59 PM
It is so sad to lose people. I am sorry you will lose your friend. Sometimes people are just too tired to continue. But it is still a loss to those left behind.

Our relationships with our friends on the net may be different than those with our friends we see in person, but they can be just as close in different ways.

I don't want to give you advice that you probably already know anyway. But maybe just to reinforce what you're thinking, or to describe what others have said in similar situations, here are my thoughts. When people are gone, the things most folks say are that they wished they had said certain things to them before they died. You have that time.

He has told you about his most personal feelings, that he is ready to leave. If you haven't had discussions on this emotional level before, he has opened the door. Tell him you wished you could have met him. That's what really matters, not whether you made it there or not.

Writing how you feel is one way to pass through sad times. Open the door for him to also write how he feels if he wants to do so. When my brother tells me what's happening, (his wife just died), I just listen because I know that's really what he needs.

Anyway, I guess I'm doing that now as well. I'm really telling you how I feel and it helps to do so. My thoughts are with you.

ljbrs
2005-Jan-09, 08:01 PM
This is so very, very sad. Tragic. Death takes away so very, very much. I am sorry to hear of your loss.

ljbrs

Kesh
2005-Jan-09, 08:37 PM
I know how it feels. Last year, I lost an online friend to AIDS last year, and I had never been able to get out and meet him. :(

jt-3d
2005-Jan-09, 10:43 PM
Been there, done that - twice. It's not that bad. He sounds pretty cool. You shouldn't try to turn him into a mamby pamby whiny mama's boy by soliciting sympathy for him.

Donnie B.
2005-Jan-10, 01:25 AM
Been there, done that - twice. It's not that bad. He sounds pretty cool. You shouldn't try to turn him into a mamby pamby whiny mama's boy by soliciting sympathy for him.
Well, actually, you'd be closer to the mark if you accused me of soliciting sympathy for me.

Believe me, your description doesn't come anywhere near the mark, nor did I have any intention of making him seem like that.

To the others who've responded, thanks for your thoughts and good wishes. I may write more later, when I've had more time to come to terms with this.

gethen
2005-Jan-10, 03:10 AM
I don't think of it as soliciting sympathy for anyone, Donnie B. When my father died, after many years suffering through rheumatoid arthritis, multiple strokes, and a long list of other problems, I knew he was ready to go. He had just had all he could take. And I still cried my eyes out for days, simply because I knew I'd never see him again. Doesn't mean I wished him back. Just missed him. Still do, 17 years later.
I guess we just have to be glad to have had the joy of knowing the loved ones we lose. Hang on.

Gillianren
2005-Jan-10, 03:43 AM
when my godmother's sister died a few years ago (stomach cancer; she was in her 80s), my immediate response was, "thank god." better that the pain be gone.

I think, in a way, you are soliciting sympathy. and I think that's because it's kind of hard to take online friendships seriously. I've been posting to the MythBusters message boards pretty regularly lately, and I've made a few friends there. one, I might meet because we coincidentally share a common interest, and an event for our outside-the-web group that I might be attending is in his area. but you know what? friends made online aren't any less friends because you never meet them.

I suspect that you're posting here because your Real World friends don't quite get it. but since everyone here is obviously the sort of person to use a bulletin board, we do. a guy on the MythBusters board had a friend who was on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon, and when he posted it (to try rebutting stupid conspiracy theories), almost everyone leapt to express sympathy (except a stupid probably teenager who kept harping on the conspiracy).

so, formally--I don't know you, but you have my sympathy. both for the loss of your online friend and for the loss of a potential Real World friend. (I couldn't travel if anyone was dying, either. finances forbid.)

mike alexander
2005-Jan-10, 05:40 AM
Hey, Donnie, look at it this way. Your friend passed the Turing Test for you, becoming real.

Friendship is where you find it, and it has little to do with proximity. My best friend I see maybe every five years if I'm lucky. In the meantime we email and such.

Whatever you do is fine if you are comfortable with it. Your friend has made a decision and the best thing you can do is go along to help ease his ride. I did that with both my parents and have no regrets.

SKY
2005-Jan-10, 06:53 AM
I'm sorry to hear about that Donnie. I hope you can take solace in the fact that he seems to have accepted it. I know I never really did.

Maksutov
2005-Jan-10, 07:03 AM
My thoughts are with you and your friend, Donnie B.

Never mind the no "face-to-face" aspect. You've in fact met this person and become friends. That's a timeless treasure, and, I'm sure, a comfort for your friend during his difficult time.

Take care.

Candy
2005-Jan-10, 07:45 AM
To the others who've responded, thanks for your thoughts and good wishes. I may write more later, when I've had more time to come to terms with this.
Donnie B., when your friend becomes to ill to correspond, will his family let you know what happens? It'll be comforting for you to know. :(

Donnie B.
2005-Jan-10, 04:43 PM
To the others who've responded, thanks for your thoughts and good wishes. I may write more later, when I've had more time to come to terms with this.
Donnie B., when your friend becomes to ill to correspond, will his family let you know what happens? It'll be comforting for you to know. :(
I'm going to try to make some arrangements along those lines. He doesn't have much in the way of family, though. I'm sure we'll work out something.

Meteora
2005-Jan-10, 07:04 PM
Late to the responses again here... :oops:

I am, like everyone else here, very sorry to hear this. Personally, I don't know that I've ever had that happen. Several people I used to correspond with simply moved on, I guess, which also results in a feeling of loss, although probably not nearly as significant as what you're looking forward to.

Some time ago, I became friends with a couple from the office where I worked at the time. They retired and moved to Florida. He promptly died of a brain tumor, and she moved to Minnesota (her original home). We continued to communicate via e-mail for several years. My parents got to meet her for the first time just a couple of months before I quit hearing from her. After a while, I became curious and did an online search of Minnesota newspapers, only to discover that she had succombed to pneumonia (I think) just a couple of days after she had last written. Ow. I was glad we were able to visit that one last time, and that my parents got to meet her in person. I'm not necessarily suggesting that you should follow suit, but if you can somehow shoehorn a visit into your schedule, I don't think you would regret it.

Argos
2005-Jan-10, 07:17 PM
Itīs a sad story. I have nothing to say but to express my deepest solidarity.