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.
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.