Ageotypes – The Key to Personalized Medicine?
INTERESTING STUFF – 25 January 2020

When Online Friends Disappear

“Ghosting” is a slang term among young people (they come and go so fast, this one may already be out of fashion) for having been dropped by someone you thought was a friend or, at least, a good acquaintance.

When someone ghosts you, he or she abruptly stops telephoning or responding to text messages or posting on your social media pages. When I was in high school, we referred to such behavior as cutting someone dead.

Recently, I was perusing some posts from the early years of this blog (TGB has been here since 2004). Reading along day-by-day, I was amazed to see a lot of familiar names, commenters who are still around, who have been contributing to these conversations for a decade and more.

Some of those people are “blog friends”, people with whom I exchange email now and then (or, sometimes, more frequently). Mostly we haven't met face-to-face, but we know one another quite well after all this time. I think of them as friends.

Or, perhaps they are more like neighbors – people we “see” regularly, stop to pass the time of day and continue on our way until next time.

As I continued reading those ancient posts, other names stood out too. Not close internet friends, but people I had come to know through their comments and occasional emails. Why their names leapt out now, however, is that they have not shown up in the comments for a long time, years.

What happened to them?

Certainly, some of them stopped reading Time Goes By and unsubscribed. That happens all the time. People leave, others join and so it goes. Nothing out of the ordinary but still, one wonders.

So I checked some of those names against the subscriber list. Several were no longer subscribed but a larger number are still there and the emails have not bounced which would indicate a closed email account. So they are either still reading TGB or – what?

Are they dead? That is not an unreasonable question for a blog about what it's like to grow old. And it is also not unreasonable to believe that no one unsubscribed them – that's hardly on the to-do list when a loved one dies.

One thing I've learned from producing this blog for so many years is how much of ourselves and our personalities we reveal over time in words, phrases and ideas we choose. Years of reading the thoughts of people on a variety of topics cannot help but lead us to care about them, to feel a connection.

That makes it more than disconcerting when they disappear. Sometimes it happens as I have described above – that I didn't notice for a good while after a reader stopped commenting. Other times, I notice after a couple of weeks: Geez, what happened to Mary, or John, etc.

I'm willing to go out on a limb and say that I doubt any TGB readers are “ghosting” me. Some, undoubtedly, decide they have gleaned all they want from Time Goes By and move on.

But some, too, have died and there is no way for me – or for readers who enjoyed a person's comments – to know.

I suppose it makes sense. Who in a family knows much of anything about what other family members do online. Or further, knows that mom or dad or anyone else in the family has been enjoying conversations, maybe for many years, at a certain website and feels a kinship with those people.

I've written about these cyber-friends in the past and how important they can become.

”I believe that the internet arrived just in time for our generation(s) to develop a new kind of friendship that opens – quite literally – a world of possibilities for human connections that can prevent loneliness, expand our horizons and help us form bonds that can be as nurturing as some in-person relationships.”

About two months ago, a woman who had infrequently but regularly posted comments here over many years emailed to tell me she had entered hospice. She was grateful in her last days, she said, that someone else was doing the small chores that had become difficult for her, and she could die in peace.

We exchanged several emails talking about all kinds of things and then several days went by without a response from her. I knew she had died.

Then I did what I always do when someone I know has died. I lit a candle. I sat quietly for a good while and thought about her. I went went back over some old blog posts and read her comments. What a remarkable memory jog it is to have that – perhaps a little like saved, hand-written, snail-mail letters in days before the internet.

A whole life of many decades gone, to be grieved and honored. Undoubtedly, some of the names that have gone missing from TGB comments have died. I'm so sorry to not know.

Comments

Happy to say I'm still here. I'm the same age you are, Ronni, so I'm experiencing all the various declines that go with age. I'm still blogging but recently developed macular degeneration, so it's a question whether I can keep it up.

I'm following your journey and battle with interest, always. I wish you the best even if I'm not about commenting much.

And there are the bloggers we have followed for years and come to "know" and care about, some of whom we know have been ill or had other problems, whose blogs suddenly stop appearing. We miss them and are concerned for them, and wish we knew why.

I enjoy reading your blog and can identify with so many of the posts. I just don’t feel like I have your gift for putting my words in writing . I hope to continue reading your blog for a long time. Thank you

I still read your posts but stopped commenting when you took part of my words out of a post due to your blog rules. It is your blog and I understood why you did it, but I didn't like having my words edited. I'd have preferred just deleted. I didn't feel annoyed at all but just a preference. I read though and wish you well :)

In terms of those online, I also have lost those who have died and it's painful even when I only met them through their words. My in-laws said it was one of the hardest part of getting old.

I am still reading, though I don't comment as often as I used to. We are the same age too.

I have lost (I think) a long, long time blog friend from California. I knew she was in poor health for a good while, due to respiratory issues, but she has not blogged in over 2 years. I tried writing to two of her good friends (both celebrities) who did not answer my requests, and I even wrote to a florist she mentioned using for her parties. He declined to answer whether or not she was still alive, citing client privilege. I suppose he is right, but it bothered me, nonetheless. There ought to be a way to let blog friends know when one dies. I have asked my daughter to do it - but who knows if she will? I think people should have a way to let that be known!!

I read your posts regularly but rarely write a comment; I guess others say what I am thinking so much more eloquently.

I agree that there should be some way to let a blogger know that a reader has died, or a way to let readers know why a blogger is no one is posting.

Even though I reference you constantly in conversations with friends and family, I doubt if any of them would think to go on each of the blogs I read to unsubscribe me or let the blogger know I had died. They just wouldn't think of it.

The same thing happens with Christmas cards. I have kept in touch with many old friends and relatives over the years via Christmas cards...often with enclosures with personal and family updates. I noted this year that I received notably fewer Christmas cards, many from old friends. Sometimes I have heard they have died, but often not, and I really have no way of finding out, as their families do not follow up. Many people, of any age, do not send Christmas cards now; it's just not something people do any more. I enjoy sending and receiving Christmas cards, but probably if I don't receive a return card from someone next year, I will assume the worst, and not send one to that person again. Too bad...

This disappearing without a word puts a spotlight on the value of sharing words with each other. Thank you for your thoughtful conversations, your posting readers stories and finding such interesting stuff to educate and stimulate awareness. That you can revisit past comments, like a pile of letters bound with a ribbon, is wonderful. The internet has become one of my only social connections as I enter mid 70's. I find I stay home much ore than I go to town. These on line friendships mean more than I expected they would. My old friends really are dying off and I too have lit many candles lately. But I usually know when a friend is nearing death. The not knowing is a hard thing, I agree.

My dear friend of 50+ years was dying of cancer and asked her friends if they'd like some of her ashes. Of those of us who said "yes" she addressed envelopes to us in her own handwriting, put postage on, and instructed her husband to enclose some ashes in a zip lock bag. When I received this precious letter in the mail, several weeks after she died, it was a spiritual moment for me. Her last correspondence. It was a closure that I needed and embraced. Tears in the post office was our final good bye. This was so much better than the silence, the not knowing you speak of in your ghost blog.

Thank you for your writings. Writers and books and poetry will live on, even now.

I read, don't often comment. I'm not great with words, probably the reason my blog has few readers. Then again a lot of them went to FB. At my age it is time consuming to try to even read some of the blogs I've bookmarked. Yours comes in email, others don't.

No way I can even compose a subscription list. :-)

I've asked my niece to leave a final post on my blog if something happens to me if I die or can't for some medical reason do it anymore. I know what it's like to see a long-time blogger friend disappear.

Guess in times gone by, without internet, we couldn't Google the name and obit, and see if we could find someone, who had passed, just this month, after a very good friend went to visit his daughter, and I'd emailed and messaged him in FB, with no response, I got a request for my telephone number, from his daughter, and we have been mourning together, he passed away in his sleep, Michael Dennis Anthony Howe... we had just spoken face to face on our computer a week before, and now this, thanks for the column today, and have a good weekend Ronni,

A few of my blogging buddies have died and it has been reported on their blog site by friends and/or family. One such friend right now is in very serious decline due to surgery and treatment. Her posts have stopped. Her husband is not posting on FB either so I have no idea what is happening. I can only assume it is not good and it makes me sad. You are so right, Ronni, these online friends become special to us.

I have left directions for my friends and family to post my demise on my social media so people will know I'm gone, but to leave the various sites in place. It's like my historical footprint.

I have followed you from Maine where you did live. I post infrequently, but enjoy reading others comments and your info on aging. Wishing you well from not quite a ghost 😊

Hello Ronni, I am not a regular commenter, but I have commented occasionally, and I've even emailed you directly a couple of times. Most often I read your entire post in my email, without ever clicking the headline to arrive at your site, so I'm not even showing up in your analytics though I am benefitting from your content.

All that to say, I am out here, though it may appear that I'm ghosting you. Your site is perhaps less directly relevant to me at this current phase of my life and work, but I am grateful for the content you provide and the personality behind it.

Thanks for the work you do and the community you have created. Those of us on the periphery of it appreciate it too. :)

I'm one of those who doesn't comment very often, however, thankfully still alive and kickin'. Not quite as old as you or a lot of your readers. On the other hand, close enough in age proximity to really appreciate what you write, as well as the wisdom and thoughtful sharing that occurs here.

"The rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated."
-- Mark Twain

Many of us are not dead. We are lurkers. We read often, comment rarely.

I confess to two things, that hopefully won't be too outspoken. First, I have thought, though rarely, about losing the insight, wisdom, humor, and just good writing of Ronni's blog, and that makes me sad. I feel I know and like her, and also like most of her points of view.

Though I gobble up the readers' responses, usually I don't notice names, so there's not the connection there. But the ideas and thoughts stay on.

Yes, Ronni - -I agree totally. It's worry. It's concern. It's that sense of incompleteness. If someone has died, I would hope for a chance to mourn them. Leaving a friend, a group or neighbor to wonder 'where you went' isn't something you'd prefer to do. So, here's a possibility:
Make an informal "Class B" Will. On a pad or a notebook, or on one of our computer's 'folders'. The important thing is to tell all of our younger/surviving family that this Class B Will exists. Maybe even leave notes around, reminding our family.
Then go to work to enter names and 'how to contact' each of the people/groups/blogs that we care about. We can even include short comments of love and regard to be included in the notification. Enter a name every time we come across a 'new' name we'd want to be notified. We might also remember to thank the person who will be notifying all these friends. Perhaps I might call mine my "Consideration List".

I couldn’t help but giggle about the florist who cited client privilege (above, in Judy’s post) but I synced up immediately with the thought that our Internet friends are indeed real friends. I think I’ll leave instructions with to “memorialize” my Facebook persona and post my final thoughts on Facebook and Twitter. What to say, though?
“Your FB friend xxxx xxxxxxx wants to thank for the 👍🏻 and the ❤️, even for the 😡 angry reactions, whether I agreed with you or not. It’s been my pleasure being in touch with you through the ether. I wish those darling grandchildren who are always in your photos a happy life. Keep them fit and pleasant for as long as you can. If you actually KNOW me, would you please make sure someone is caring for my elderly dog and my obnoxious cat? Best regards, Mary.

I’m still reading your very informative blog. Once in a while I post but mostly I follow along.

Lovely...

I followed you for a while when you were living in Portland, ME and then my interests were focused on other topics, but now that I have retired and have a bit more time, I am back to following along again. I am enjoying your posts and it feels like getting back to where I belong. :-)

I find solace in knowing my Facebook page will live on even when I am no longer here. It's the closest thing we have to an "eternal life." Of course its longevity will depend on my friends posting a comment now and then so that's why I'm not ghosting anybody. My "afterlife' needs them.

Still here
Still reading
Always grateful
Thanks Ronni

I'm also grateful for your facebook page. Three weeks ago I turned 80 and must finally get my affairs in order. The wisdom we've all gleaned relating to you and others in the same time of life has been beneficial and good. I so appreciate your and other's writing and comments.
Your journey has touched me deeply . Wishing you love and compassion. God Bless.

Ronni,
This is an interesting post. It is appreciated.

I'm going to ask my son to post something on my blog when I die, so that readers will know what happened (assuming I haven't already "retired" from blogging). I may even write the entry myself so he can just click "post."

Ronni, I sometimes don't comment because I have to fill in all my information every time. As I recall, it didn't used to be that way.

My husband and I have a completely opposite occurrence. In the past 6 months 3 long-lost friends, gone for years, have suddenly reconnected with long Emails. There must be something in the air! All three were work colleagues and we were very close. Now we have written back, sent photographs and one of them will be visiting in March--from California to us here in Delaware.
We are excited about this but hope it does not signify serious ill health and a need to end many open stories.

I m always sorry when bloggers disappear also and do wish for continuations or a closing from a friend or family member. I was particularly sad when a long-time blogger disappeared for 2 years and then reappeared sans her two small children and her beautiful home. She is now living in a small cottage with no comment about the changes. I see a divorce and feel so bad for her.

I comment here occasionally but read you always and savor your wisdom and courage always.

It is good to know that somebody notices a passing, the one thing that is important to
every person. We may all become "ghosts" eventually, but at least somebody saw us as real.

I’ve been following you for years and do occasionally post.
I follow lots of blogs and love them and yours is one of my very favorites.
To me, it’s like far away friends, especially when you are on the same "page" in your views and likes.
I have saved many a post from you on a Time Goes By folder on my iPad.
Wishing you well....

Most of the readers' comments are as important and meaningful to me as Ronni's writings are. And, I truly miss Darlene Costner!

I've been gone and returned... I don't remember the reason I left, though I went through a few years when I was more 'outdoorsy' and on a computer less. And then my wife's health began to fail. After her death...well, things change, as they do. She's been gone over 4 years now, and my interest in all things Aging & Death & Dying has increased tremendously. I've been resubscribed a year or two and wondered how to reintegrate. How nice that your post talks about these very disappearances!
I host a women's salon now on these subjects and have shared your blog and many of your opinions with them. Today, I added to my "When I'm Dead" folder the reminder about your blog and mine; will be adding instructions.
Thanks. For that tip, and for who you are and how you walk around on the planet. You're as impressive as hell; you write exquisitely; and the last picture in your title bar is the most beautiful.

Thank you for all your posts, and here's letting you know I particularly enjoyed today's.

For some time I have been concerned when an old friend seems to have "dropped off the face of the earth" and I no longer hear from them. Of course I wonder if they have died...

It is my hope that my kids will send some sort of notice to those 'special' friends who are in my address book. I have asked them to do so, but... who knows?

Your posts are meaningful to me, Ronni, and I always follow them. Thank you!

I am still here also. I was at your place once when you invited Oregonians to get together, I forget what year. I live in New Mexico now and always share your posts on FACEBOOK and others have shared that they like your posts.

Hi Ronni,

I'm the still here! Having following your blog since the 1990's I feel like you and the other readers are family. Sorry I don't post more, but I think of you guys a lot and wish you well.

Agree with Susan R that it was easier to post in the past because my information was saved. What happened? Is there someway not to have to enter the info every single time?

Still read you daily and often include something you've said in conversations with friends, and your thoughts and opinions give me something to savor throughout the day in those quiet moments when my mind is not preoccupied with daily concerns, care giving, chores, etc.

Right now, I'm consumed watching the impeachment trial, even knowing Trump will not be removed. The evidence is compelling and the presentation by the Democrats is brilliant. Too bad not enough citizens care. Why haven't we taken to the streets to demand justice?

I'm still here! Still working 50 hour week, commuting 2 hours a day RT. Trying to pay off debt and cars, etc...at some point I'll get enough. Fighting a new diagnosis of wet macular degeneration in one eye and intermediate dry MD in the other. Getting injections in the left eye every 7-8 weeks. What fun! I LOVE a good sadomasochistic opportunity! And I am researching options doing Virtual Office Assisting, but must create a new website to promote myself. Hey, I might know something about self-promotion, LOL.

You and I go back many years, and the disconnect has purely been my cross to bear.

However, I am promising myself to re-ignite my CP blog. ( I lost my Texas Trifles domain name a while back due to stupidity and bad housekeeping but now have Cowtown Pattie domain. )

When long-time bloggy friend, Steve Krodman (Elisson) (Lost in the Cheese Aisle) died from a very rapid progression of ALS Lou Gehrig's disease, I was reminded of how much blog friends enrich my life on a real basis. I am still mourning the loss of such a brilliant soul.

Love you, Ronni.

I remember so well when my first mentor in blogging, Steve Gilliard, died in 2007. He was my model -- opinionated, fierce, but insightful too. Just thought I'd mention him, wondering if anyone else goes back in this medium that long.

It is an interesting phenomenon, Ronni. For example, there’s this person who blogs, we’ve exchanged emails for years and years, show up on each other’s blogs. I feel as if we’re close friends – although we’ve never met. When one of us ends up dying, I’ll either be dead or very, very upset.

Still here, Ronni. Learn lots from your posts. Thanks for your life and the connection.
Ellen

Ronni,
Still here and read you first when get up at the crack of dawn.
I gave my daughters little notebook with listed names and numbers of my friends and acquaintances for when the time comes... ..

Am here!

Your Montreal Fan.

Interesting topic since I had just told my children, if I’m still writing my blog, should I become incapacitated or kick the bucket, I may have a short farewell blurb draft for them to post, or if not, they should just write a short statement of my status or demise, since they have access to my blog publishing particulars.

I found TGB when you were still in NYC. I became quite involved with simultaneously discovering the Internet, using a computer and informing others of blogging’s benefits you’ve promoted here. Your inviting me to provide a guest post on TGB I initially thought was crazy, but I did, though a far cry from the quality of your offerings. I was also adjusting to my husband’s sudden unexpected death, then resumed working part time. After being active in this blogging world for several years I ultimately concluded I needed to eliminate some of my activities and needed to curtail blogging time. Since I chose to keep my blog, which I had accidentally launched earlier, (thanks to Cowtown Pattie helping me survive that); I concluded to post less frequently, plus I decided also to cease following TGB which I perceived had become somewhat of an excessively addictive habit for me. In the past year or so I returned to offer support upon learning of your PC. I continue to value what you write here plus others comments and your blogger friendship.
I don’t know what I missed during my several years absence, but I was aware the blog appearance had changed. The “Elderblogger” icon was gone which reminded me Blogger “Kay” who lived in Ohio had created it, I think. I am left to wonder what has happened to her since her original, then new blog, ceased to have new posts? I’ve been appreciative of those bloggers whose children have been able to update their parents status since I have care and concern for my blogger buddy friends.

Incidentally, I agree with Susan R, commenting can be discouraging since I keep having to fill in my name, etc. each time which I didn’t used to have to do. Not sure if reason is I don’t subscribe to this (or any other blog for that matter) but didn’t before when my info would automatically appear.


I had been reminded of this recently when I received an email response from a blogger saying she was on hospice and no longer could readily use her computer. I don’t expect to hear more but will wonder about her if someone does not advise, maybe TGB, for posting since she long ago ended her blog. In my professional life I provided various speech, language, swallowing, cognitive services several times to one particular patient I recall who experienced over two years at least 3 occasions of outlasting each of the hospice periods of service. Yes, her physical condition gradually decreased each time, but she remained mentally alert almost to the end so the most I could do was help her increase the quality of the life she had.

Oops...should have previewed my comment as my paragraphs, or lack of, seem to be mixed up as my concentration alternates between writing this and viewing impeachment testimony.

I love the idea put out there by Tim Hay, to keep a current list of people we connect with by other means than personally. I will add that to my “Upon my Death” list.
I haven’t been following you for anywhere near as long as some of your fans. I happened on your blog maybe three years ago when I googled age related farting (excuse me ;). Yours was the first site to come up. From you I learned we just have to let it happen, and I’ve been enjoying your take on things ever since. I joined not long before your PC diagnosis, so I rode along with you for that. What an experience! PC entered my life around the same time with the beloved sister of my best friend succumbing, followed by my late husband’s ex wife. We were friendly at a distance.
Keep up the good work Ronni at whatever pace suits you.
By the way, the auto fill still works on my iPad.

How lovely - that you light a candle. A friend, not of my religion, didn't know of the custom in Judaism of lighting a yahrzeit candle on the anniversary of a loved-one's death. She is adapting it to her practices. It somehow seems so important. It's why I love the Mourner's Kaddish because it can be said by anyone in the congregation or at home for someone who mattered.

What I find disconcerting and helpful is that so many facebook friends who have died still have accounts because no one knew their passwords and facebook didn't have the feature (what is it called?) that designates someone to handle your account if you die. Their birthdays pop up. And for those who are in my industry, I try to remind people of their lives. It seems sad to die and have no one to remember you .. by name .. by deed .. by character.

Thank you for being so kind, Ronni, and checking on so many over so many years.

Hello Ronni,
Not sure that you would remember my name or posts. I read your blog every day and most of the comments. I comment rarely because my opinions and thoughts on the matters you bring up are usually covered by at least two or three commenters (or is that commentators) so it would be somewhat repetitive.

So thank you thank you and thank you again for posting this blog. It is the best.
o/

Checking in. Still here, Ronni. I've been sulking for the last three years. Guess why...

Nice to see some familiar names.

Wow Ronni. You hit a gold mine with this post and the comments.
I have followed you and time goes by for at least a decade. NYC to Portland Maine then you and Ollie made the big move to Oregon. I commented as Chancy( real name Janet)
I recently had my big 90 birthday so have slowed down to a slow crawl.
Still enjoy Time Goes By..
Ronni you are amazing!

Your post touched a lot of people who blog. I know I wonder sometime when I don’t see a familiar name what has happened: stopped blogging, died? Or if they don’t have a blog, did they stop reading mine because I said something they did not like? It is true these virtual friendships are dear to us.

I read Judy Carrino’s comment above. I have a long time friend who used to blog and stopped on Dec. 31, 2015, because of her sight. She lives in the Hollywood Hills and was a celebrity in her days. She would show special flower arrangements that her Hollywood florist created for her. Her name is Naomi. If this is the blogger Judy is talking about, please ask Ronni my email address as I can tell you that Naomi is 88 years old and I talked to her on the phone a couple weeks ago. I just don’t know how to contact her followers.

As for me, I had not been feeling well since New Year and was just diagnosed with AFIB and heart failure this week. I am not sure what it means but will see a special cardiologist next week. I had not planned to write a post about this on my blog and thought I would wait until I felt better but after reading all this I’ll try to write a post presently.

Blogging has helped me so much. I started reading your blog in 2008 and that is what made me start my own blog – mostly to reminisce about my childhood and youth in Paris, France. But then when my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s my blog morphed into keeping him aware by having him read and correct my grammar and pick the best photos, but it also helped me not going crazy as his illness was very isolating and my blogging friends where the only ones I could talk to. My daughter helped me start my blog and knows my password, so I’ll tell her to come on my blog if anything happens to me and tell my blogging friends. I don’t comment very often but read most of your posts, the guests’ stories and also I really like the Sunday music feature.

I feel the need to comment here just to join the others who don't say much. I read you every time you post and have been with you for many years, I don't know how many. And although I am not a very religious person, I still am a believer and send you a prayer along with others who are going through hard times. Your blog (and you) are very precious to me. :-)

It is disconcerting to see that comment about missing Darlene Costner. Did she die during some time recently? I have been distracted and am behind with my Inbox. I always read her comments as she had a way of being both wise and real. I, too, will miss her even though not a personal acquaintance. She was a link to a like-minded more eloquent presence I admired.

Today I was reminded in Facebook that it is the birthday of an acquaintance and casual friend. He died this past year. It was painful to go to his page to "unfriend" him. I wished for another way to do that. Guess that's one of the downsides, but certainly not enough to stop using social media and reading blogs. They provide connection, and we all need connections.

Thanks, Ronni, for the reminder to leave some notes for loose ends.

Thank you for your blog.

I agree 100% that each blog writer, and commenter has an individual "voice" that is as distinct as their speaking voice.

I just read that Darlene Costner might be sick? She had posted a political entry on January 9th, just a few days ago, I hope she is fine.

Ronni,

Your post certainly touched a nerve with your tribe. I am happy to count myself a member of "the tribe." I did not discover the blog when it first started, but I am happy that I found it a few years ago. It is the first thing I read and, I , too, recognize many of the commentators.
I don't always feel the need to add my voice to the list.....but I am grateful for a safe place to meet . So appreciate you, Ronni. You are amazing.

Still here but have decided to pull back on commenting. I miss being able to share, but some of my views about getting old may be somewhat outside acceptable boundaries. I get that and will work to moderate any future comments. BTW, like a couple of others above, I'm now required to enter my name and email address for each comment. This is relatively new--and a bit of a nuisance.

I have left a message for vagabonde, and I am so pleased to know of her and to know we share a friendship with Naomi. Thanks, Ronni, for being the catalyst for this communication, by writing a post to which we can all relate!

John is still here and should be, with any luck at all, for the duration.
People do come and go in this digital age, or just go due to age, either dead or too old to participate.
I think Facebook, this blog, or any group forum is what I call a sort social life support for seniors, keeping us engaged where in the old days, we'd have just faded away and only a few would look us up or call us up and that would be that. Now we always have interaction at our fingertips and it's nice to have it if we want it. Once in a while, however, I wax Greta Garbo and lapse into a social media "I want to be alone" kind of mood, but so far short lived and I can't seem to put it or this blog down.

Like others here, my commenting has been hit and miss recently, but I still read every post and all the comments. I often wonder about those who are absent for however long. In fact, I noticed that Elizabeth Rogers wasn’t commenting, so I’m glad to know she’s still with us. Like Elizabeth, I think that I am not always in synch with everyone else, but I don’t care. We are all here to express whatever feelings we have about growing old. That’s what this blog is for—at least that’s what it is for me.

There is so much to manage in my life and I don’t know whether everything increased in some major way or whether it just felt that way because age slowed me down in responding to things. But since I am also trying to write some episodic stories about my life as well as comments for the NY Times, there just isn’t enough time to do the things I want to do.

And of course, there are all the age-related illnesses, CAD as well as macular degeneration injections—I can relate to Cowtown Pattie’s lament—plus numerous other conditions that came with passage into the 80s for me. But my mind still seems to be intact, and that is more important to me than anything else.

Oh, yes, one more thing: I, too, have noticed that the information block is no longer auto-filled. What’s up with that?

I have followed your blog since NYC, to Portland, Maine, to near Portland, Oregon. I comment infrequently but read you every day. I too wonder what happened to many of the people who used to comment on your blog. I appreciate the commenters here also I usually read them daily. This is one of the most civilized places on the internet.

I haven't read the comments to this post yet, will do so tomorrow. But this post made me feel a bit lonely. I just got back home after nearly a week visiting a friend in a faraway state. She is an old friend from grad school, someone who knew me from when I was 23. While there I saw another old classmate. The last time we saw one another, we were in our 20s. Now we are in our 60s. How does that happen? Time goes by, I guess.

I couldn't help reflecting that sooner or later my peers are going to be departing this world. And that my world will, by definition, shrink. As a shy introvert, I have never had a lot of close friends and don't have the gift of making friends easily. You have taken steps not to ghost us, your readers, Ronni, by letting us know that someone will update blog will keep us informed about your exit (many, many moons from now, I hope). Thank you for that. At this age/stage of life, it's hard to lose even one friend, virtual or otherwise.

Still here. Still reading and learning (from you and the comments!) and enjoying.

Elizabeth - get back here!! In addition to your comments, I miss the chill-out phrase, "It is what it is...." Vagabonde, hoping all goes okay. Emma Jay - your star is rising - any hints on how to find your articles?

Thank you for this terrific site, Ronni. Also to Peter and Norma.


I'm so sorry for your loss.

I don't remember how I came to your blog? You were recommended by a retiree blog that I no longer remember. I know I've seen your blog mentioned at more than 1 site.

I enjoy reading your blog. I mention it to others and sometimes send links to a particular post. There is really not much in-depth discussion about aging. I talk about it with friends and family but they tend to be in-the-moment conversations about the changes we are going thru.

An exercise classmate passed away last year. She was very kind to me when I started class. I sent her a letter thanking her and expressing my gratitude for her kindness. Unfortunately, she passed away before she received the letter but her family would've read it. She was on my cell phone for a long time before I deleted her.

I sent a letter of gratitude to an exercise instructor who retired in her 80s. I took an aquaintance, also in her 80s, out to lunch to repay her for her hospitality. I am waiting for warmer weather to take another aquaintance in her 80s out to lunch. These individuals were not close to me but I was touched by them. I don't want to wait until they pass away to mourn their kindness.

Still here, still reading you and all your comments almost daily. You were the first among a handful that I now follow regularly. I had turned 60 and wanted to read of the experiences of people in the same position, about to retire. Twelve years on, you and a handful of others have provided so much guidance, information and companionship. Very many thanks Ronni.

Thanks to the "It is what it is" fans out there. Good to know I'm not completely out in left field by myself!

I had a friend who was a foreign exchange student from Brazil. After she went home, I lost track of her. In 2007 I looked her up on classmates.com and she was there! I wrote her she happened to go back to that email and we reconnected. That lasted until 2010 or so when she just didn't answer my emails anymore. I had two emails for her and I got no response. I worry that she did die but it could be that she lost the passwords to her accounts. I've done that several emails. Sigh I miss her still.

Thank you for this post, Ronni. You’ve touched on a topic that gets very little attention— the loss of internet friends. I’ve experienced two unexpected deaths of people I met through this amazing technology, who I’d come to count on as a presence in my life, in one way I’d another. I like your “neighbors” metaphor. But these were neighbors I could literally stop in on and there they were, home and happy to see me. I grieved when they died, of course, but it was a private grief. That’d different somehow.

I have been loving this blog and the human who runs it since 2004! Ronni, your creation is witty, wise, worrying, wondrous! A virtual cafe with mostly serious conversation among longterm and newer denizens of a worldwide community of bright, honest, courageous members. Countless posts I have shared with friends when relevant, and many have joined this e-village whether to quietly follow or to comment, as well.

Full disclosure: In recent years, I have ghosted folks I "carried" longer than I wanted. We often outgrow our toys, styles, tastes, and yes, friends, too. Ghosting might be a coward's way to release and be released from what has become dull, a time suck, or unpleasant. I know others have ghosted me, and this is human, sometimes efficient, and often (usually?) mutually OK.

Good morning, Ronni!
I don't usually comment unless I feel that I have anything to contribute besides my "me, too," but you've been a friend and mentor for years now.
I have always taken for granted that most browsers autofill personal information. All I need to do is click in the space and accept the autofill. Can't imagine how we'd know who's posting without at least a name.

I always read and rarely comment. I've learned from your experiences. Thank you.
Now I'll trot off to find the perfect person to leave a final message on my blog when I depart.

I like to read other people's comments, and often find some that match my thoughts. And, since English is not my maternal language, I just enjoy the reading and very seldom comment. But I'm here, I'm reading and I'm grateful to you Roni!

I have been following you since the 1st BlogHer. I grew up in L.O and live in midtown NYC. Love you. And i also miss Naomi Old ladyIn the Hills. Thanks for update on her.

My name is Kate. I am reading this blog for the first time as I saw that it was bookmarked on my mother's computer. I now have her computer because she recently died...so this has been an interesting and timely blog for me to read.

I have no idea if she (Pat Trimbell) was an active voice here or not. But I know that the content and people of this blog were a blessing in her life, so I thank you all for that.

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