Existence. Something we take for granted, maybe. Certainly when we are younger. I remember I used to run a personal skills course for a company I did interpersonal skills training for. It’s a laugh, really; I used to be really good at interpersonal skills. Now I can’t be bothered. That’s a function of age, as well as what we’ve been through in our lives, I think. (Is that the same thing?)
This course had an exercise where you drew a line of any length you chose. Then I told them it represented their whole life, and to mark on it where they were now. I was around forty then, but always put my mark around one-third of the way along. I was very sad to see one person, not much older than me, put it nearly at the far end. “It’s not long till I retire,” he said.
A friend used to be convinced he’d die at 50, because all his male relatives had. Those were the days of heavy smoking, polluted cities, bad workplaces… I’m pleased to say he was still here at sixty, when I lost touch with him, but he’d retired to a boat, and is likely to have avoided the stresses that laid his family low.
I’ve met several people online who have inspired me to think about my existence, some because they work hard to spread some joy and mindfulness–the right sort, not the ‘it’s your fault because you’re not mindful’ type. Others because they have had to come to terms with the end of their existence, on this earth, anyway.
I’m always grateful I met Vidya Sury through the #atozchallenge; we were fellow minions for Damyanti Biswas one year. Vidya’s blog is full of thoughts about kindness and spreading it through our world. She has a lovely positive approach to all she does – and with her cooking tips for diabetics, you can read between the lines to find her motivation. She inspires me. Damyanti has her own personal take on kindness and caring for others. All her work seems to support one or more causes, and her amazing first published novel highlights terrible practices that are common in India.
Sue Ann Bowling
Sue was in the opposite end of the globe – Alaska. I followed her writing and gardening – complete with weather forecasts and sunrise/sunset times, through my early years of blogging. Then Sue’s world changed, and she wrote through her illness and subsequent death (in late 2014), letting us know of her trials and tribulations, but maintaining her positivity and entertaining us even so.
Her main frustration was that the third in her amazing world of the R’Ilnians would never be published. I think Sue’s death gave a lot of us pause for thought. What happens to your blog if you suddenly can no longer support it? Her personal blog no longer exists, but her free WordPress book one does… and that’s where I finally got confirmation she’d died. .
Existence through your social media accounts, and books
It was about 2014 that Facebook started to realise it needed some sort of procedure for relatives to handle the pages of people who had died. You can nominate someone to look after your pages…I think it’s called ‘legacy system’. Check it out, although I think several bloggers have posted about it. I bet Derek Haines has a post on the subject!
But do let your nearest and dearest know what you want done about your blog and your ebooks. It’s important.
And now after six months of hell, we have lost Sue Vincent, who died a week ago, after a struggle with late-diagnosed cancer. How many other people did not go to their doctors early enough for their cancer to be caught when it was still treatable–because they didn’t want to bother their GP at the start of the Covid pandemic?
Sue’s handling of her situation is probably a lesson to us all. She had a head start, because she was immersed in very spiritual things through the Silent Eye. But among her blog posts of the recent months there are plenty that show her coming to terms with her situation, and finding good out of bad. She came to accept her diagnosis, and welcome any extra days past the expected ‘days or weeks’. She shared with us several long posts on the nature of her beliefs, and her view on the nature of existence.
Maybe that baring of her innermost thoughts is what makes it so hard to believe she’s gone.
Planning for my existence
And as usual, I have to write about the person who has passed in order to start to come to terms with it myself. I bought a couple of Sue Vincent’s books when she was still alive, and there to receive the royalties (!). I hope to share my thoughts on them later in the year, as I did with Sue Bowling’s. But I suspect what I really bought them for was to help me reflect when I start to face up to the end of my existence here on earth.
But first, I need to put those plans for my great-niece to manage my book affairs when I’m gone. Not that she knows that plan yet. She did most of the covers for me, so I think she should benefit from any royalties. It’s just another thing on my list. But I don’t expect to pop off just yet.
Just planning for the end of my existence.
7 thoughts on “E for Existence – memory and tribute #AtoZChallenge2021”
My husband has his facebook set up so that I’ll get a reminder at some point after his death. I think it’s like a fail safe in case the survivors forget to close out accounts. My sister passed a year ago. We used to talk through WeChat – Chinese social media – while I lived in China. Her daughter couldn’t get into wechat, so the account is still active and I occasionally chat with her still. It’s one sided, but helpful to me!
Visiting from A to Z
Doesn’t Speak Klingon
The only Facebook friend I have who died (well, a real one), had her account still open after five years, and I still got birthday reminders for her, which was a bit painful. I don’t know whether her relatives even knew she was on Facebook. I ended up just unfriending her, so I didn’t get notices. But authors may want to have some sort of social media even when they’re gone 🙂
Lovely tribute to Sue.
I haven’t done anything yet about my Facebook or blog. Someone told me leaving a FB page open/active after death can be helpful to identity thieves.
I think it’s more about setting your social media straight so that whoever you designate can sort it out after, Mary. Rather like a Power of Attorney. So just tell your financial and/or personal buddy what you’d like done, or not done, and leave it to them, either with usernames and passwords, or in the legacy system if the media have one (Facebook has).
Thanks for your lovely tribute to Sue. She was one in a million.
I wish I’d got to the Bloggers Bash a year earlier – I’d have met you, too, then 🙂 Loved the picture of you all. <3
A very thougtful post. The line story is poignant. I know people like that whose jobs are their lives and who see retirement as the end of their meaningful existence. My father was one, unfortunately.
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