I’ve been wondering why it is that I write, and specifically, why it is that I write this blog?
It’s not just that I write to organize the sheer volume and variety of thoughts that are constantly flying through my brain. It’s not just that I hunger for the feedback that tells me I’ve been seen, heard, understood and appreciated (although all of that is great). It’s for the feeling of being connected to other people. It’s for knowing that the things I think about and feel are shared by others, and that we are somehow part of something larger for sharing these things. It’s also the reason I love my work and anything that has to do with connecting people to one another in ways that bring joy or new possibilities.
I spend a fair amount of time on twitter. For business and pleasure. I find it a great communication and community building tool. Sometimes surfing the twitter stream brings me to unexpected places.
A few minutes ago, I happened upon the news that a well-known, respected and liked person in the marketing and social media world, Trey Pennington, took his life earlier this morning. As of this moment, his website is still up, as is his twitter stream. Hauntingly, his last tweet reads: Sure am thankful for online friends who are real friends offline, too. Love you. Trey Pennington. It was posted earlier this morning.
I did not know Trey personally, but we trafficked in similar online circles. As the news is spreading and the number of tweets by shocked and saddened friends & colleagues rapidly grows, I am expecting to see messages from individuals with whom I am directly connected. It is inevitable. This world is too small.
I suppose I am now a part of this wave of communication that is spreading like wildfire through cyberspace. I am sure many blogs will be written about him, and his life, and how someone who was perceived as so on top of things was actually suffering in silence. As for me, I am feeling oddly compelled to write this as a way to reinvigorate my online connection to my loved ones. Consider this a protest in response to the unfair demise of one whom many will mourn – like wearing bright pink at a funeral, or expressing grief by dancing and singing…
I do not generally suffer in silence. If I’m feeling sad, or overwhelmed, my friends and family will hear about it. I’m grateful that I’ve learned and been encouraged to reach out when I have the need to connect. And as I continue to express my thoughts and feelings via this blog, I’m reminded by this tragic incident that not only is it OK for me to explore matters of grief and sadness through these posts, it’s probably a good thing.
I KNOW I’m not the only one that experiences these things. Perhaps I’ve seen more than the average person’s share of illness and death in my family and close circle, but isn’t that what qualifies me to speak on them? It’s also what qualifies me to sometimes treat them with less than full reverence. It’s my humor and sarcasm that keeps me from becoming overly maudlin.
But right now, I don’t feel quite ready to muster up the humor. I am truly sad about this man I never met. I’m sad that despite the fact that he maintained an upbeat and positive online persona, he was miserable enough to take his own life. That totally sucks. And no amount of sarcasm can make that part go away.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Trey Pennington. May you all find solace and comfort in one another as you try to make sense of his untimely passing…