The nephew of a blogger I’ve never met, Ellie, died of an overdose several days ago. What I know of the blogger’s family I know only because she wrote about them extensively and shared copious pictures of them. Her exuberance for her family and friends burst from the screen every time I opened one of her posts. By reading her posts and viewing the photos she shared, I came to appreciate her and each member of her family in a way that’s hard to express. Though we rarely communicated directly with one another or commented on one another’s blogs in recent years. I felt like I knew her and her family rather well. It was an odd feeling, the sense that there was this entire close-knit family, who lived on opposite coasts, that were almost like my family; though we might not know each other if we came across one another on the street.
The death of this nineteen year old boy had an extraordinary impact on me today. I felt like the earth had developed a crack and was in danger of imploding on itself. I knew very little of the kid. But simply knowing that he was part of this close family, this “tribe” of people who were madly in love with one another, was sufficient to create an emotional earthquake. I’ll get over it. Quickly, I suspect. That’s not the case with the people who are really members of the tribe. I’ll watch them from afar and know that they suffer. I wish they didn’t have to go through it.