Part of my new job at Tiny Prints involves Internet research. I spend a lot of my time blog hopping, discovering new blogs, visiting old favorites, checking out friends of those favorites, and then moving on to the next.
Today I discovered a blog I’d never seen before. It was funny, well written, and had compelling posts. It was a family blog, like many of the ones I see daily. I logged all the details in the spreadsheet I’m compiling and moved on to the next one.
I had no clue that the blogger was well known and loved by many of my own blogging and social media friends.
I had no idea that less than an hour later I’d not only know more about her than I ever expected to know, but that I would have created a special Tweetdeck* search window dedicated to her.
While I was reading her blog for the first time, getting to know her family and their scary story, Anissa Mayhew was having a stroke and being rushed to the hospital.
Watching Twitter rally around one of their own is both an inspiring and devastating thing to see. Inspiring because it’s breathtaking to see so many people rush to help someone they only know virtually, devastating because it’s usually for a horrific reason. The death of a child, the illness of a parent, a tragic accident.
There was no reason Anissa and I hadn’t crossed paths before. She’s active on Twitter in my circles. According to Facebook we have almost 100 friends in common. She’s a blogger, like me. But there are hundreds of thousands of us. I can’t know them all, they can’t all know me.
Tomorrow I would have emailed her for professional reasons and most likely we would have become friends or at the very least Twitter buddies.
Instead, tonight I’m going to bed with a heavy heart, thinking of this mother lying in her hospital bed, her fate hanging in the balance. I’m thinking of her children, the youngest of whom only just won her battle against cancer. I’m thinking of her husband, for whom it must be so painful to be in a hospital, who must be going through hell tonight.
The five of them should be together.Tomorrow she should be laughing with a friend or playing with her kids when my email arrives unnoticed in her inbox. She should reply, follow me on Twitter, strike up a conversation here or there. That’s how it was supposed to be.
Really, I just wish that’s how I’d gotten to know her.
She fought so hard to keep cancer from taking her daughter. She deserved a bit of peace and quiet and normal. I hope against hope that she can still get it. And that I can get to know her all over again the regular way.
*Tweetdeck is a service that allows me to keep up with my Twitter friends without having to use the Twitter web interface. I can create search windows that track just one keyword if I want to be able to pick out those specific tweets from the regular timeline.