Exactly one year ago, with considerable technical assistance from my daughter, I began the adventure of blogging. I thought it might be a good way to organize my thoughts and keep a circle of family and friends enlightened as my children and I tried to navigate the first year after my husband Jim’s death.
I thought it might also enable me to share Jim’s story, and help keep him with all of us. His unerring grace could be an example–perhaps, most of all, to me.
Along the way, I have been surprised and moved by responses from people we know and people we likely will never meet. More than 900 readers have taken the time to leave comments on the first year’s posts. Two of my five most frequent commenters are women I have never met, but I can say with certainty that I adore them and their writing and know we would be “real-life” friends.
I have been inspired by other bloggers’ stories and photographs and artwork, and enlightened by their perspectives.
Blogging has brought me fun facts: in the past twelve months, people have dropped in from 95 different countries, including the Isle of Man, Panama, Finland, Luxembourg, Gabon, Djibouti and Morocco. Today people have visited from four continents, and 14 countries are represented among this week’s readers. In the last seven days, the second leading source of visitors was Trinidad and Tobago. I have seen my posts translated into Arabic and Russian and Spanish and Japanese.
I have learned that people who type in the search term “live shagging” are likely looking for something very different than they get here: an account of Jim shagging flies on the Green Monster at Fenway Park.
Evidently Pablo Neruda’s poetry is very popular among my readers, as is the late and lonesome Solitario Jorge.
My name is the most common search term. At first I was a bit unnerved at the frequency of searches which couple my given first and last name with “murder” and “murdered.” I soon discovered that a notorious murderer shares my name.
The search terms “Freddy Krueger tombstone” and “biker gangs in Scotland” also somehow will get you to my posts–as will “weary of chickens,” “bad beagle blog,” “indigo autistic idiot savant syndrome,” and, “did albert einstein know what a quark was?”
My favorite search engine phrase is the amazingly elaborate one that included this snippet: “during consultation, the patient said that he is married to a fairy that he loves so much and that he can hear voices from space telling him that his daughter. . .” (My search engine page leaves me hanging at that; I wonder what this reader may have been looking for?).
The saddest search engine term inquired “how bad” was a cancer marker of a given number? I imagine some patient whose doctor simply had not explained what such bad news meant, or a family member trying desperately to find out more about a loved one’s numbing numbers –which may mean nothing to non-medical people until they encounter a monstrous diagnosis like Jim’s. When the search term showed up on my blog dashboard I realized once again both how isolating and incomprehensible a cancer diagnosis can be, and how common such hardships truly are.
My central epiphany from writing has been this, and it is difficult for me to say: I have become a better person because of what Jim taught me through his illness and death. He not only left the world a better place, but he has continued profoundly to change me.
Hand-in-hand with this realization is my biggest regret: that I could not have changed this way while he was still with us, and been this person for him.