Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Power of a Blog

Daniel loved a slice of pumpkin pie with cool whip this time of year. ( Photo: ) 

     I am not a super-blogger. You know the type, the type of blogger quoted in the news, and the type who is interviewed for political programming.  I know some super-bloggers, and I am not one of those.  This blog began almost four years ago when our youngest son died suddenly of uncertain cause.  As we were learning that well children can literally drop dead from a heart rhythm disturbance no one ever detected, and still have a normal autopsy, I began. Blogging became a way of dealing with grief, setting it out, and of tethering myself to a world that at that moment, was so terrible that I was not completely sure I wanted to remain here.   By setting out what had happened, and by literally counting my blessings, sometimes daily, I found reasons not only to remain here on Earth, but meaningful work to do as well.   The blog began just a couple of weeks after Daniel's "Celebration of Life".   It became partly a journal in which I counted time and distance in bereavement. It also became a place where I believed that both my father and Daniel could read and see how I and the family were doing.  It also helped me examine and sort many of the complex feelings and responses I had which follow such a devastating and unexpected loss.  It helped me connect the very ordinary and lack lustre world we have today, to Daniel, who was full of life. laughter and creativity when he was here.   It wasn't long before this blog brought me to be acquainted by many other people.  Some of them are people who have lost children suddenly. Some of them passed in almost an identical manner as Daniel. Some did not.  These people comforted me, and I comforted them, and I thought this was the maximum mileage of a blog such as this. Then, I occasionally heard from famous people, some whom I had mentioned in the blog, or some whose music was profiled here.  These people send condolences for Daniel, and I think he would have been very amused at this. We really do occupy the same world as some of the people Daniel used to hear about.

            Despite the fact that Daniel never really was a boyscout, and we have no troop in our rural community, he believed in being prepared.  He used to help me check the car emergency kits, and the first aid kits, and from time to time, I wanted to blog about this, but a blog which was principally designed for support and bereavement was not the correct venue.  So, in September, 2011, I began a short lived radio program which was podcast all over the world on the subject of preparedness.  I called that program "Rational Preparedness".  Because I often mentioned products or ideas on the air, listeners suggested that I create a website or a blog, and so the second blog "Rational Preparedness.......The Blog" began in September, of 2011.  Daniel would not only have been proud of the work we do on "What I Learned from Daniel.....The Blog" but he would also have been very proud of the work we do on our sister blog, "Rational Preparedness: The Blog" .  Neither blog has ever had a huge number of formal followers, but many people worldwide come to both blogs to read entries which they find through a search engine somewhere.  I was simply proud of that, and thought that's where it would end.
          However, through one or both of these blogs, we have made the acquaintance of so many incredible people.  There have been people who who learned something pivotally important to them on one of our blogs and who took the time to write and let us know. There have been people who have connected with us because they identified with something said here. There have been people who wanted us to take a look at their own blogs because it related in some way to something we were saying.
           This year, through these blogs, I was provided the chance to write a book on each topic.  First written was "What I Learned from Daniel", a book about the experience of Daniel's life, our loss of him, and our survival afterward, in perspective. This is different from the blog in that it is written with a different focus and with some different experiences that I did not always share in the blog.  The second book was "Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness" which is a concise guide to prepping for those with limited time. This is also quite different from the blog which bears it's name.   Interestingly, the "What I Learned from Daniel"  manuscript was delivered to publishers in advance of the "Rational Preparedness" book, but "Rational Preparedness" was released in late October, and Daniel's book won't be until the end of November.  Publishing it seems, is a very complex and sometimes confusing process depending upon your goals and your experience. Writing both of these books has provided me with broad and interesting experiences I would not have enjoyed, had it not been for these blogs.  Many lives have been impacted by these blog posts in the last few years.
            My point is, that writing a blog can be a private and very solitary undertaking. You may think that no one reads it, or that it might as well be a private journal of your own.  Don't worry about the advertising. Don't worry about your numbers. Don't worry about the number of your followers.   Instead, think of your blog as a way of sharing your thoughts, ideas, amusements and encouragements with others. No one knows what the intangible or even tangible rewards of doing that will be.
          This week, an author reading our blog directed us to a study of cardiac conduction disorders which in ongoing. This particular study is not taking place anywhere but in this particular location, and I did not know about it prior.  Daniel's family will be studied, and perhaps we can better identify the conduction disorder which took his life, and perhaps we can save present and future members of Daniel's family.   Make no mistake, blogs are powerful, and they can lead to doing many, many positive things.

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