I’ve been writing this blog for about twelve years, and over that time many people have written things in response to my ramblings, and some of those who commented have become almost like friends. Sometimes we have what amounts to a conversation which is really lovely. I have never met any of these ‘friends’, and sometimes like in real time friends they drop away and I no longer hear from them.
There was one person, who I shall call James Smith, who commented very frequently on what I wrote. He would tell little stories of his own, ask about some of the things I mentioned, make jokes, pull my leg, and often say he wished he could come over to England and visit our pub the Dolphin and have a couple of beers. He’d had many life experiences and was very wise and very interesting.
I’m not quite sure when I realised I’d not heard from him for a while, but we live in strange times, and also people’s lives change and they have different interests. For some reason, recently James has popped into my head more frequently, and I began to think that maybe there was another reason why he was no longer in touch. I went onto Google and you may have guessed what I thought I had found. However, I could not be sure, his name is not uncommon. I came across the name of someone who it seems may be related to him. Should I try and get in touch? If so what should I say? I’m still thinking about it, but here is a draft of a letter I may write – I have used the name Sarah, but that isn’t their name:
Hi Sarah, I am writing to you because I believe you may be connected to the late James Smith who died at the end of last year. I think he may be the same person who used to comment regularly on my blog posts over many years. I live in the UK and I write about all sorts of things and many people post comments on my stories. I lived in Manchester for many years and the James Smith who commented on what I wrote was born there and lived there when he was young – which was many, many years before I moved to the city.
For some time I’d realised that I hadn’t heard from him for a while, and then it began to occur to me that it was a very long while in fact. I tried to check back to see when he’d last added something – but I write so much, and I couldn’t find when it was. Of course people lose interest in things, and I thought probably James had just stopped reading the blog.
I knew a little about him from his comments – he would often tell funny little stories, and make interesting and astute observations, and joke about things. I knew where he lived, but no personal or private details. I really enjoyed what he wrote, he was so knowledgeable about so many things.
Then I began to wonder if maybe he was ill, or maybe he had been affected by the pandemic. To be honest, I was a little worried – I began to think I would like to know if he was alright. I’m not offended or upset by people not reading what I write, and there have been many people who have connected frequently, then dropped away. But I guess because James had been a contact for so long – we sometimes had what amounted to little conversations, that as I said, I just wanted to know how he was.
I googled his name and the city where he lived, and came across an obituary. Of course, it may have been another person – there was a small photo, but I have no idea at all what James looked like, I knew nothing about him. However, I thought it may well have been him as the person mentioned in the obituary was the same age.
I am getting in touch with you because if James mentioned in the obituary is the same person who wrote on my blog, then I would like to extend my deepest sympathy and heart-felt condolences to his family.