Death and the Internet

Cathy Seipp has died. I don’t know how many of my readers followed Cathy’s battle with lung cancer on her blog Cathy’s World. I didn’t have her linked on the blogroll because I only read her on occasion, usually when Instapundit linked to her, but I enjoyed her writing and I took vicarious pleasure when she wrote about an arbitration board overruling her insurance company’s decision to not pay for an experimental drug that appeared to be helping her.

I remember reading about her daugher Maia’s (then pseudonymously “Cecile”) conflict with the teaching staff at her high school, and writing a piece on it. I wrote a later piece linking to one of Cathy’s NRO columns. That’s been the the total linkage on this blog, but I’ve read a lot of Cathy’s stuff.

I am affected by her passing.

This is odd. I’ve lost a few relatives in the past few years; a grandmother, an uncle and an aunt, a great-uncle. I wasn’t particularly close to any of these people. Their deaths did not particularly affect me. But I’ve also lost other people I’ve known only (or primarily) through the ‘net. Airboss, the wry and intelligent commenter at many blogs whom I met at Kim du Toit’s house. Eric the (profuse) Hun, the irrepressible Texas lawyer and hugely prolific poster at Rob “Acidman” Smith, the outspoken self-described Georgia cracker who never held anything back.

I’ve read these people’s words. In some small way I have gotten to know them before their passing and that knowledge has affected me, more than the deaths of blood relatives that I never really knew.

Rest in peace, Cathy. My condolences, Maia. Know that your mother had a life well-lived, and left many people behind who thought well of her.

UPDATE: And I’d like to take this opportunty to apologize to Susan Estrich. I took a cheap shot at Ms. Estrich a while back, but she has written a truly excellent eulogy for her friend, Cathy. As she put it:

Lung cancer was one of the few subjects we agreed on; I lost my best friend seven years ago, and watched in horror as the money from the tobacco settlements got spent building highways. We also agreed about things like mothering, kids and friendship. As for the rest, we had to agree to disagree. But I was always interested in how Cathy put it, where she came down and how she got there, because I knew she’d be as tough on herself as any critic would be. So I checked in every day to see what she was thinking, until the end. Ours was an old-fashioned relationship, the kind people used to have with people they disagree with, the kind that is too often under attack these days.

Thank you, Susan, for being the kind of person it is an honor to disagree with.

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