The #hcsmca twitter chat which took place during the week concerned what happens to our social media presence when we die. What kind of digital footprint are we leaving behind? Well, we have witnessed that in action with the passing of Rachel and Susan, and also we have seen how much we who are left behind need a place to gather online to be together in our grief, , our tears and our remembering. The #bcsma chat this week provided just such a haven, and I have already written about how important it was for us to be able to come together online in this way. It has been wonderful to witness the outpouring of memories and expressions of what legacy has been left behind by Susan and Rachel on so many of your blogs this week – a real testament to how these women touched our hearts and our lives in different ways across the globe.
In Our Virtual Real Friend Rachel, Jody asks the question “how do we mourn this vital presence when we have nothing tangible to touch?” Well that question was answered for me in the #bcsm chat on Monday night. It may not be a perfect answer, but it was the next best thing.
I have written here before of how wonderful it has been when I have met my virtual friends in reality, and so I am excited to learn that Philippa and Terri will be meeting soon. Philippa writes:
In addition to sharing our own experiences, plans and ideas, we will be able to share the grief of losing Rachel and Susan. I am sure that we will talk about the subject of her blog posting about being united in grief and the strength of our online community.
This week Terri is forcing us to face up the reality of death. It may seem strange that in a community like ours, death is still something we may try to hide from – that became more difficult to do this week – so Terri’s post was very timely and thought-provoking.
As was Jan’s…
Our days on earth are short. The years of my pilgrimage on earth thus far are fifty-nine. My life has been difficult, full of potholes. I’ll likely not see the full age of my forefathers due to all the stress and chemicals thrown at me by fate and fools alike. But still I’ve outlived dear ones like Rachel, who didn’t even reach what we now consider middle age.
In Grieving Fallen Warriors, Debbie has been reflecting on the legacy left behind by Rachel and Susan and how it’s up to us to stand in the gap and continue their mission. This was a theme carried through on Julie Goodale’s A Few Sad Goodbyes post:
Their voices will be greatly missed. But, as another blogger said earlier today, there will be others to take their place. Yes, sadly, that’s true. There will be no shortage of new recruits to our ranks. I think maybe the best tribute to them would be to continue their work.
Renn pays tribute to all the fallen heroes of our blogging world
When I started blogging about breast cancer 10 months ago, the world wide web opened up and extended her loving arms around me. I came in contact with (and was embraced by) a great many people fighting this disease — all writing about it with humor, with bravado, with insight. I knew, statistically speaking, that some of these lovely bloggers that I “follow” would one day stop blogging….I wish my list didn’t exist. A virtual graveyard is not what I had in mind when I stepped into the design section of Blogger. But it is a brutal reality of breast cancer.
Anne Marie has written several posts on the passing of Susan and Rachel and she also written about the closeness of this breast cancer community which really came into its own as a support network this week.
“If my life is a quilt, our friendship did not live in the panels. It lived in the seams.” I just love this image from Chemobabe’s beautiful eulogy to Rachel.
On Rachel’s blog, Cancer Culture Chronicles, Gayle Sulik paid tribute to Rachel’s her fierce wit, eloquence and intelligence, and provided details of the memorial service which will take place in her honor. We may not all be able to attend in person, but I know we will be there in spirit with Rachel’s family and friends.
Nancy’s One Fateful Day in February did not start out as a memorial to Rachel, but turned out to be perfectly fitting.
In Memoriam is the title of a poem by Lord Alfred Tennyson, and Beth has chosen it to help her work through her sense of loss and grief.
Being Sarah’s partner, Ronnie, has written a beautiful post reflecting on the places where memories accumulate.
Here we all were at the conference last year. Nine months ago. This, my friends, is the sad reality of metastatic breast cancer.
The Pink Underbelly pays a beautiful tribute to Rachel and Susan’s legacies when she writes of how they ” blazed a trail and lit the way for newbies like me. They challenged and questioned and refused to wrap themselves in pink ribbons. They inspired me. By setting such a stalwart example, they encouraged me to do the same.”
Finally, Bringing Up Goliath’s words ” if I could dim the lights on my blog, I would” have been on my mind all week. I had a guest post lined up for Journeying Beyond this week but, like Stacey said, the lights were metaphorically dimmed for me too, and all I wanted was to write about, or read about Rachel this week. I imagine that you too agree with Stacey that the lights did go out, or at least dimmed, on all our blogs and in our hearts with the news of the passing of these two amazing women. We have to try now to help each other rekindle those lights again over the coming weeks and months – and I can’t think of a better community to do that.
Until next week, in the words of the song…
Let’s stick together.