Today I learned that one of my faithful readers, Randy, has died.
He had been disabled for a long time, and mostly confined to his home. But he used social media to connect with people around the world. He knew he was not long for this world, so he had arranged for his family to post a Facebook message to all his online friends. It was one of the most moving things I’d ever read.
I’m not a hugely popular author, but I do have a number of people I’d call “fans”, and I feel extraordinarily lucky to have them as supporters. I always say that writing a story is only half the work; the other half is finding people who care about it. Whenever I find someone who genuinely cares about what I do, I cherish them and I do my best to care about what goes on in their lives too.
Randy and I were friends on Facebook, and although I’d never met him in person, his posts were a constant source of entertainment in my feed. He read voraciously, and often supported indie authors (I found more than a few interesting reads because of him). He was an unapologetic and fierce Democrat, and although he was even further to the left than I am, his passion was genuine and informed and I never felt like I needed to disagree with him.
It is often said that the online era has made human relationships distant, cold, and devalued. Sometimes, that is true. But it is also true that technology has enabled ways for us to connect with people across vast distances, and through difficult circumstances. I never met Randy in person, but I knew him in a small way for many years, and I know that the people he met online helped ease the pain.
Rest in eternal peace, my friend.