Aren't We Too Old For This?
Old Stuff

The Need for a Final Blog Post

The disappearance, with no explanation, of Milt Rebmann’s blog last week (read more here) and a comment from Steve Sherlock of Steve’s 2 Cents reminded me of something I posted in May 2005:

“I have left with the other papers my friend will need, a final blog to be posted. Yes, it begins with, ‘If you’re reading this, I am dead…’”

Milt announced in his first blog post last year that he was battling terminal cancer so those of us who read Milt’s Muse and consider him a friend are concerned, with no way of finding out what has happened. With that in mind, this idea of a final blog post bears repeating.

Blogging is still a new phenomenon little understood by those who do not participate either as bloggers themselves or regular readers. Blogging is here to stay, but there is not yet a consensus - moreso outside the blogosphere than within - about where the online friendships we establish fit in with our other relationships.

It is generally accepted that our social lives and contacts are arranged in concentric circles which, working out from the middle, form a hierarchy similar to this:

  1. Immediate family
  2. Closest friends
  3. Extended family
  4. Other frequent social contacts
  5. Work colleagues
  6. Neighbors
  7. Acquaintances

Your list could differ in the middle, but we can probably agree that numbers 1 and 7 are properly placed.

So where in the list would blog friends reside?

For me, it varies. Certainly, one or two belong in category 2 and many others can be located in categories 4 and 7. And in the blogosphere, number 6 hardly matters; we are all neighbors in the ether of cyberspace.

So our blog friends, wherever they land in our personal social hierarchies, are people who would want to know when we die. Without that notice, they are left with a mystery, bereft of the opportunity – and human need - to mourn and to celebrate a life that was part of their own.

We leave last wills and testaments to dispose of our belongings. Some people leave instructions for their funerals and memorial services, choosing music to be played and food to be served. (Jill Fallon at Legacy Matters writes about the practices of death in all their ordinary, strange and even funny particulars.) And so, we should leave a final blog entry too – with clear instructions, needed passwords and other information on how to post it for those who may not be familiar with blogging software.

Readers who comment frequently but do not blog themselves might consider a final blog post with a list of URLs on where to post it as a comment.

I’ve rewritten my final blog post once and it’s about due for another update; things change over time. And I’ve also directed that enough money be used from my estate to pay my blog host and domain registrar for a year following my demise.

Life expectancy these days is somewhere in the late 70s which only means that a whole lot of people die younger than that as well as older. There are no guarantees. We can count only on today.

Although it is a peculiar thought to attach social obligations to one's own death, a final blog post is the polite thing to do. If nothing else, it’s a chance to have the last word, and I’m not letting an opportunity like that get past me.


A few years back when a Southern California firestorm burned through our property, we lost electricity and phone for two months. I had no convenient way of updating my few regular readers. None of my relatives had the technological experience to even post a short update.
Of course it’s unwise to post home addresses or phone numbers on the net though; an experienced surfer can usually dig up that information on almost anyone. Anyway, I haven’t really thought it through but I’m toying with the idea of providing some sort of “real time contact” information on my site. I’m just not sure how to do it without inviting all sorts of junk mail and telemarketing calls.

Ronni, the opportunity for one (or more) last word is indeed too good to pass up.

May there be mnay more before that time comes!

A friend who lived in Canada and with whom I exchanged decorated envelopes (and letters) died of AIDS. One of the things he did in planning for his death was to decorate a final envelope and his executor then sent them upon his death with a pre-dictated letter. The contents, in brief, were to thank us for all the good thoughts, the prayers, and the mail and to say that our friendship was dear to him. I was sad to know he had died, but felt joy at the years of his beautiful art work I'd been lucky enough to receive.

This is something I never thought of, but it is really a good idea. I think I'll have to prepare my last words!

You touch on something here that becomes more and more important as we get older and as our friends age. After my sister died in May, I went through a period of being afraid that other people I love would die, so when I didn't hear from a dear friend (in her 70s) for more than 2 months, I was just sure she was dead, but no--she and her husband were traveling and visiting family and simply doing their lives.

My sister died suddenly, and that reminded me that I need to prepare my daughters with a list of people who would want to know if I die suddenly. Now I will also write a final blog. What an interesting and thoughtful thing to do.

Thank you.

I laughed outloud when I read the last sentence of your August 29th post. Your statement captured the essence of person I've come to know. Thank you again for the joy your blog brings to me. At 52 I'm not planning to die soon, but I've been to too many funerals in the last few years to know that I need to embrace the day I am living and tell my family (husband, 3 sons - 29,21,13) just how much I love them ..... a bushel and a peck!

Good suggestion.

I'm still combing thru Idaho online papers every night trying to find out any info about Milt and there's nothing.

I experienced some of the anxious wondering about a blogger I read regularly, when the posting pattern changed unexpectedly for an unusual no new daily post for a time.

I think I was unduly sensitive to the possible implications of what that might mean, simply because it occurred shortly after the sudden loss of an immediate family member.

As for the blogger, there was no problem, but it did make me realize the emotional connections in the blogosphere cannot be taken lightly, that perhaps after loss we are more sensistive to the potential for loss of others.

So, yes, I strongly agree that making provision for the notification to others in the blogosphere that our days on this earth have come to an end is an action worthy of taking for all.

I certainly got a chuckle re getting in the last word, and I surely wouldn't want to miss an opportunity to do that, either!

Susan: re Milt -- seems to me I recall on one of his early posts a lament about having had to move to Idaho from somewhere in AZ. (Bullhead City?) If, in fact, he is no longer with us, possibly a notification might appear somewhere other than Idaho. Wherever that was, he also had written about a wife who had died an indeterminate number of years earlier, I believe, in that same AZ city where they lived.

This post got me thinking. I may have to write a post about it at some point. Yes indeed, I certainly like the idea of a last word! But it raises the question about blogger friendships in general - something I reflected about on my "Tamarika" blog some time ago. I mean, I wonder if anyone will notice my absence. Or how long would it take them to notice, and then it might be weeks since I died? And who would care? I mean, *really* care? And so on ...

Lots of wonderings here, which is why I love your blog, Ronni. You get my mind a-thinking and a-wondering!

Something like "Last Blog and Testament?"

I. Chancy, being of sound mind and body do bequeath the following:

To all my dear blog friends in cyberspace I leave all the good laughs and smiles and joy I have found within your portals each day.

To the pets, the doggies and kittens of said bloggers, I leave a friendly pat on the head and a rub behind the ears.

To the bloggers who informed and instructed me I leave my heartfelt thanks.

To all the Elderbloggers who helped me through each day as I grew older,
I leave my curiosity and quest for knowledge.

To all the bloggers who posted beautiful pictures of flowers, I leave the delicate scent of springtime after the rain.

I had bookmarked this page sometime ago. I really enjoy.I don't know much about blogging. I'm not even sure if you need to join this page to post. (We'll see.)
I am a 54 yr old female and would like to post with you all.
Anyway. I wanted to say; your trial "final post" has made me cry.
I think of the few folks I've met on- line, and have yet to meet in real life.
I would have an empty place in my heart if I were to loose one of these friends.
You know it is funny though. We can be close to floks on line we wouldn't give the time of day to in real life.
It is sad what prejudging cheats us out of.

"People come and go so quickly here..."

We all live such relatively brief lives in the grand scheme of things. It's great to leave people with closure, but... not always possible. But, living in denial is no good, either. My mom left me with a house full of stuff to go through, and in my grief I did not appreciate that. I'm always happy to hear from those who face reality and have their affairs in order.

We're on the same wave length here: I seem to be thinking more my "legacy" these days. I like your idea of preparing a posthumous blog post.

No one knows "When the bell tolls for thee" so I thought I had everything taken care of ( will, transfer of proprty, living will, Medical Power of Attorney, etc.). It never occurred to me to make a list of people who should be notified when the bell tolls for me. Thank you for bringing that important omission to my attention. My "today" list includes taking care of that oversight.

Lori Thanks for commenting on my post on the blog "TimeGoesBy." You were dear to make those remarks.

To answer your question, you do NOT need to join the page(blog) to post a comment. Ronni Bennett who started the blog "timegoesby" welcomes comments on her site as do I on my blog

Come and vist my site when you get a chance.


I have been communicating online since about 1988. In those many years I have made many friendships & have had the blessing of meeting many of them. I've already compiled a list of my email accts., user names & passwords in a small file box on my desk & a list of friends to be notified. I think a final blog would be apropos & it's being added to my ever-present "to-do" list. Hopefully, one of my children will take care of all of it for me. I would hate (& would consider it horribly rude) to leave this world without a good bye to the people who have enriched my life so greatly. And Chancy? I like your style!

My son posted on my blog in 2002 when I was in the hospital since the purpose of it at that time was to let people know about my condition during treatment for lymphoma. So we've already had practice for this. Even though I will prepare a last blog entry, I won't get the last word since he'll probably post something, and I have a collaborative blog with friends younger than I am who will write something. Of course, as some of you have said, we don't know when and how we'll die, but the chances are that at least one of them will still be around to blog for the rest of us.

Chancy, what you wrote makes me cry, too. I'm so glad we're talking about preparation for dying and death, a topic with which Milt is or was coping, one that is so important for everyone, any age, to become comfortable with in life.

This makes me glad I blog with my daughter. We are unlikely to be hit by the same truck.

I've had several blogging friends die and vanish. One was a close personal friend, and I was able to save all of her blog to disc. Images too. It's heart breaking still to see this special voice and know there will be no more.

One gentleman lived in England, and one day, after innumerable trips to the doctor, and many fights to get treatment for his cancer, just vanished. Still another, Blather or Chuck on OD, was optomistic and fighting to the end. Only none of us knew the end was so near.

Yes, in the blogging world there are relationships just as meaningful, just as close, and just as life affirming as in the f2f world. I miss those three still. I hasn't selfishly realized that my friends here online would miss me as much. Thanks for the reminder.

Ronni, One of our dear friends died recently and his obit appears on Many people were connected to his life and they wrote in and reflected the many nice thing Bobby Faust had done for them and with them. He was our daughter Sarah's godfather. Mary and I were en route to his home on Hilton Head Island for part of our 50th anniversary trip when I came down with Valley Fever. We never reunited there after. So these sites are valuable considering the demise of print media.---------Bill

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