I just read another installment on my friend’s Caring Bridge site. If you don’t know anything about Caring Bridge, it is a site that allows seriously ill, mostly cancer, patients a way to blog to family and friends about their condition. My cousin’s wife used it when my cousin was in a coma and it really helped keep everyone informed as to what their family was going through and about his progress. In his case the site was not up long as he died about 2 weeks after falling into the coma. But they have family from all over so it was a blessing that everyone was able to check in and see how things are going, as well as knowing all the details for the funeral when that time came.
I believe there are several sites like this but this is one of the largest. They boast half-a-million people connect daily with more than 1 billion visits. They cover all 50 states and are in more than 225 countries/territories world-wide. Sites like this offer the ability for the ill person to share their experiences with their family and friends and let them know how they are feeling, their thoughts, and needs. In my friend’s case, when she is too sick to write, her daughter posts entries. Her daughter is a pre-teen and I am sure this is hard on her, so having the ability to express her feelings in a safe environment (the site is password protected) I imagine gives her some relief from the emotional pain that I can only imagine she is going through.
Back in the days before the Internet, people would keep in touch through letters and phone calls. Some say the art of letter writing has somewhat died, however, I think it is been replaced by blog writing. The medium has just changed. Instead of writing a letter to just one person, you are writing to many. In that respect you speed up the process and more people are kept informed. But more importantly your circle of friends becomes wider. In the case of someone who is seriously ill and dying, maybe they feel they can leave a little of themselves behind in a way that is more widespread than letters.