Sunday, July 07, 2013

My friend Bas

Lots of people I’ve met through blogging made an impression on my life.  I think Bas made the biggest.  The second email I received from him affected me more deeply than anything email I’ve ever received.  It made me realize that what we do here can be so much bigger than we ever dreamed.

This is how I remember that time. Like Bas said, it was last summer when I put up a post accidently revealing something that made it possible for people to learn who I really was.  While that doesn’t scare me like it used to, I still want to remain anonymous for the most part. When I woke up the morning after posting it, I had the following email:

I sure hope you will not be angry with me for finding you.
I am a many-years lurker on your website New Beginnings.
Since I am from Holland I never really felt that I could comment on your writings. But Elisnewbeginnings has been sort of my home page since for years.
I write you, to strongly advise you to delete your last post about …

You did actually give yourself away.

Please remove this post before America wakes up!


I did as he suggested and wrote him back the following:

Angry?  Not at all!  Thank you so much for caring enough to warn me.  I have removed the post.  To be honest I woke several times in the night wondering if it had been a good idea.

I have several online friends from Holland.  I'd love to hear from you anytime you like.  And thank you for reading me for so long.


I then got the second email that completely blew me away.

Dear PK,

Please don’t thank me. It’s really me that has to thank you. More than I can possibly tell you. I was actually being very selfish in sending you my email this morning.

I was like: “Oh no, if even I can find her then anybody can. She’s a teacher, cannot afford to be outed. She will close down her blog! I was terrified by the idea, your blog is literally a lifesaver for me”.

Please don’t worry about being outed to me. I am one of your most faithful (and quiet) fans. A little background to clarify, in 2008 I was diagnosed with cancer. This keeps coming back after each treatment and many times I have heard the prediction that I have only a few months to live. In 2008 my marriage resembled your pre-ttwd marriage. No communication whatsoever.

I would not let my last month’s/years slip away like that. Your blog encouraged me to bring ttwd to my wife (of 34 years) and although I still do not believe it, she accepted it and is happy with it. I am convinced that the happiness my wife and I experience right now, keeps me alive and kicking (well ok, spanking), I have not yet explained to the doctors why their predictions are wrong.

So there you have your responsibility. I would be devastated if you ever stopped blogging.


I was stunned. I’ve loved blogging since I wrote my first post.  But I always assumed it was just a little passing fun. I’m sure many, including me, sometimes view blogging as little more than an entertaining waste of time.  But look at the results. Bas said the ideas he got from all of us helped him.  I know for a fact that once he made himself known to us, once he began commenting and then once he began blogging and receiving comments, emails, love and friendship he was so very, very happy.  We all helped make both Bas and Lisa happy, can anyone call that a waste of time?

This is why I feel so strongly about blogs being opened to the public whenever possible (and I know that it isn’t always possible), but we don’t know who we may be reaching. Bas stayed silent for over four years. I think he would have remained silent and unknown to us forever, until he thought I was in trouble. He knew I needed his help, and that made him speak up.

I’ll never forget Bas. I think he would encourage us (as he did in his last post) to keep blogging – keep sending our thoughts, dreams, rants, jokes, troubles, joys, and stories out into the world.  We don’t know who is reading or if something we might say is exactly what they need to hear.

I know many of us feel sad now and that is understandable, but remember who Bas really was. He once told me that if Lisa didn’t follow his instructions about his funeral he get up, take his coffin and walk out. He did not want gloom and sadness and he certainly would not want it here. It made me think of part of an old poem that sounds like something Bas would say -

Remember me with laughter and smiles

as I will remember you all.

If you can only remember me with tears

then don’t remember me at all.

Written by PK at 8:00 PM



At 12:29 AM, Blogger sunnygirl said...

He will be missed but more important, he will be remembered.

At 12:30 AM, Blogger Rogue said...

Perfectly said, PK!! I've smiled today and I'm working on a happy post for him, along with an email I, too, received for giving away too much info. :)
He was one of a kind and we are all blessed for having met him. Once again, thank you for introducing him.

At 12:39 AM, Blogger Cat said...

What an awesome way to meet. Right now I am smiling through the tears as I've reread some of Bas' comments and posts. But as with others I have lost, the tears will disappear, for the most part, and the sweet memories will be at the forefront.

Thank you PK for sharing such a lovely memory with us! Sending prayers, healing energy and comforting thoughts to Lisa, their family and you.

At 1:03 AM, Blogger Belle L said...

Thank you for posting this. It made me smile in the midst of sadness. I don't know that I would have ever "came out" to my husband, had it not been these ttwd blogs. I join everyone in praying for Bas's family and friends, and for the other's in blogland who so desperately need prayer. God bless you and yours, Belle L.

At 1:07 AM, Blogger maryanne said...

pk. i loved this. thank you for sharing your friendship with us. he will be deeply missed.

hugs and much love,

At 2:31 AM, Anonymous Anastasia Vitsky said...

You are right, PK. He would threaten us with spankings if he saw how we are crying. Still, because he had so much love in his heart, I think he would understand. When we were sad or hurt or crying about something else, he would soothe our heart and give us advice about what to do. He made things better.

I think he loved to tell the story of you and how you two met. It's nice to hear it from your side. I just finished putting up a post for Monday remembering my favorite memory of Bas. Though there really are too many to pick from, really.

And of course bossy Bas would insist that we do as he wished!

Much love to you, PK.

At 3:20 AM, Blogger Irishey said...

Thank you for sharing this story, PK. Bas was a wonderful, caring man, and such a good friend. I enjoyed watching him tease and banter in the midst of sharing his insights.

We're really lucky you messed up and prompted Bas to swoop in from the shadows to save you. Bless you for that, sweet lady.



At 3:26 AM, Blogger Daisy Christian said...

That poem is so true..I am know stranger to grieving and I know if you don't quickly work on moving on and remembering the good times and know they are feeling so much better you will never move on..ik blogs aren't a waist I learn stuff a lot...sometimes what's rambling to us is something to cherish for others..

hugs to all that lost a great friend chin up and I'm here if anyone needs to talk.

At 3:31 AM, Blogger Viola Di Marzo said...

Pk, thank you for sharing this story!
Knowing that he wants for us to be happy, remembering good times, is what makes this moment bearable.
I have him to thank for introducing me to you.

At 5:36 AM, Blogger Paul said...

a necessary lesson.
During a longish life many friends have passed.
I mourn them briefly, I remember them all my life.
Love and warm hugs,

At 6:24 AM, Blogger Roz said...

PK, thank you so much for sharing this. This is just amazing. We have much to be thankful to Bas for ... he showed us the true power of this community and that we don't know who we may be reaching, people that may never make themselves know to us.

I am so grateful to you for it was through you that we got to know him.

Your last paragraph and the poem made me smile. That is so Bas!


At 8:24 AM, Blogger Wilma Rubble said...

Thank you for sharing just a little bit more. Thank you too, I suppose for 'messing up' and sharing your biggest fan with us, so we could all be fans of him.

At 9:10 AM, Blogger chickadee said...

Thanks for letting us see this. Who knows, had you not nearly outed yourself, he may have stayed hidden. You're a great friend to many. And like Bas pointed out, the reach of many bloggers goes so far beyond what is immediately obvious. Many others too. Its hard to see that impact and reach until somebody shows you. And hard for us mostly-lurkers to know when or if theres a right time to reach out. I wrote about this the other day, as my heart was aching for the loss of a blogger i hadnt ever reached out to. And the poem is so very true!

At 9:52 AM, Blogger Florida Dom said...

I can relate to what Bas wrote because you also changed my life. You are a treasure to this community.


At 10:21 AM, Blogger ronnie said...

To think we would never have met Bas had you not put up that post.

He was a lovely person and will be missed but Bas wouldn't want us to be sad and definitely to keep blogging.

Thanks PK.


At 11:14 AM, Blogger Meg said...

PK, thank you for sharing this story.

At 11:16 AM, Blogger Minelle Labraun said...

I am glad Bas and I have something in common. I would have never met Bas if you had not written that post. I chuckle thinking how we both lurked for as many years before sending you messages. Life is strange and wonderful.
Oh he was a character! I sure hope we continue to share these happy loving memories with each other!

At 11:23 AM, Blogger brooklyn said...

Please pass my condolences to his wife. From my reading over the last year or so, Bas seemed to be a remarkable gentlemen.

At 12:01 PM, Blogger abby said...

A wonderful tribute to a wonderful friend.
hugs abby

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Ami Starsong said...

"Good friends are hard to find - a true friend is worth keeping." What a remarkable story PK and I am so glad you shared it with us. Bas was a true gem. Fancy lurking for such a long time! It makes you realise that for some people, it is quite difficult to "de-lurk". Thank goodness you made that mistake and he emailed you! I just loved his quirky, dry sense of humour. It's good, and very important, to be able to share all these lovely memories.



At 3:48 PM, Blogger Es May said...

That does sound like Bas. :) I've cried many tears, but have had just as memory fond memories. The tears are more for Lisa's hurt, but they are still there. But we will keep those wonderful memories of Bas with us. We will remember his humour, frankness, and encouragement. I always thought of him as a father here in blogland, but heard it put perfectly that he is our papa bear. :) He will never be forgotten by those of us he took the time to touch. We will ever be blessed and thankful. :) Thank you for all that you were to him. :) We owe you for his coming out to meet us. :)

At 5:23 PM, Blogger kiwigirliegirl said...

thank you for posting this PK. He was a lovely generous kind hearted man full of wisdom and empathy. He will be missed. He will be remembered. And even now he is gone, he is inspiring.

At 6:02 PM, Blogger Patty said...

Bas pulled no punches, he was a thoughtful, honest man..sometimes spanking us softly. RIP friend .

At 8:10 PM, Blogger Lucy Lou said...

That one mistake changed blogland forever....thank you :) Bas was such a sweet and gentle soul...we are all so much better for having known him.

At 9:30 PM, Blogger PK said...


At 9:32 PM, Blogger PK said...

Best accident I've ever had. He really did watch over us.

At 9:34 PM, Blogger PK said...

His comments were always priceless. I worry about Lisa too. I hope she will keep in touch with us.

At 9:36 PM, Blogger PK said...

At Sunday school his morning someone said we can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. I like the company in blogland. We're there for each other.

At 9:40 PM, Blogger PK said...

He will be missed all right. I'm just really happy he wrote me.

At 9:45 PM, Blogger PK said...

I believe if he read all this he would blush, roll his eyes and grin. He did love his friend here.

At 9:46 PM, Blogger PK said...

I has always amazed me that he stayed quiet for so long, yet rushed in the minute he thought I needed help.

At 9:54 PM, Blogger PK said...

I like smiles through tears, I only wish we were physically able to sit around together and tell stories.

At 9:59 PM, Blogger PK said...

He pulled in so many people and having us happy was very important to him.

At 10:01 PM, Blogger PK said...

Remembering is so much more important that mourning.

At 10:06 PM, Blogger PK said...

That was the most important things Bas taught me. That we don't know how important that we may be to someone we've never met. I did laugh when he wrote about walking out on his own funeral.

At 10:08 PM, Blogger PK said...

I'm just so glad Bas didn't go back into hiding after he helped me.

At 10:11 PM, Blogger PK said...

That's why it really is important for lurkers to let us know that they are reading. Other wise if something happens and the blog much go private, how will we know who to invite?

At 10:11 PM, Blogger PK said...

Thanks friend, I may have given you a little shove, but you did the changing. I'm so glad you're happy.

At 10:13 PM, Blogger PK said...

Encouraging us to blog was so important to Bas. Its one of the best way to honor him.

At 10:14 PM, Blogger PK said...

thanks for coming by to read.

At 10:17 PM, Blogger PK said...

I know we will. I hope lurkers are really taking notice here, we're a friendly bunch always looking for new friends.

At 10:18 PM, Blogger PK said...

He truly was. I'll make sure Lisa know everyone is thinking of her.

At 10:19 PM, Blogger PK said...

He was great.

At 10:25 PM, Blogger PK said...

When I make a mistake, I make a good one! I guess it really is hard for some to de-lurk. I hope more will now. When I found blogs I couldn't help myself, I jumped in with both feet.

At 10:28 PM, Blogger PK said...

Es May,
Papa Bear is a good description for Bas. We got to know him because of his compassion and caring. We're really lucky.

At 10:29 PM, Blogger PK said...

You describe him perfectly.

At 10:30 PM, Blogger PK said...

That's the truth. When you ask his opinion, stand back, because he was going to give it and he was almost always right.

At 10:31 PM, Blogger PK said...

Thank heavens for some mistakes. That one did bring a great change here.

At 11:48 PM, Blogger houston_switch said...

Tears are prayers...
Condolences to all who were touched by Bas and Lisa.

At 8:03 AM, Blogger Terpsichore said...

He was a light and a gift and he will be remembered...

At 8:27 AM, Blogger PK said...

Thanks for coming by. I hope to hear from you more.

At 8:28 AM, Blogger PK said...

That's true. He left a mark on us all.

At 11:21 AM, Blogger Jacquie said...

Thank you PK, for being an example and inspiring others who in turn pass it on and also inspire. Thank you for posting this story of how it started and also his final post on his blog. This is a rich and special community, for having bloggers who share so much of themselves. Bas will be remembered well, and his words will continue to inspire. Thank you.

At 6:06 PM, Blogger Tara said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, I didn't ever have the pleasure of knowing him. I only just found his blog and read every single post. (((Hugs)))) Tara

At 9:57 PM, Blogger Katie said...

Thanks so much for sharing more of your interactions with Bas, PK. :) I wrote a post the other day about why I write, and talked about Bas. It is for the very reason that you talk about here- that maybe some day, some little thing that I say will mean something to someone.

One day last year, an interaction around a post that Bas was involved in, and commenting on spoke to me, and made me think, change my behavior a tad, and ultimately changed my life- and my marriage to Rob. And I was only a lurker. I will never forget those people for that. I will always be grateful. I SO get this! It is more than evident that he inspired so many. We will miss him greatly! Big hugs to you, PK. You take care. And thank you,

<3 Katie

At 10:45 PM, Blogger SirQsmlb said...

Thank you for sharing PK. It was a beautifully written post and a wonderful reminder.


At 12:00 AM, Blogger PK said...

I appreciate you coming by. This community is so very special to me.

At 12:00 AM, Blogger PK said...

He was very special. Some of the comment he left around were really great, funny, but very wise.

At 12:02 AM, Blogger PK said...

I hope the story of Bas and how he came to blogland will encourage others to comment on the sites they really like or says something that speaks to them.

At 12:02 AM, Blogger PK said...

Thanks. I think it kinda wrote itself.


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