Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Life Certificate


"Hey, my name is Rianna,
I am a Junior at Tesoro High School and I am on the varsity song team." This is what her MySpace blog says. According to the LA Times, "Rianna Woolsey, a 16-year-old cheerleader, last logged onto on Dec. 6, 2005. She died the next day when her car smashed into a tree near her home in southern Orange County." Her page that has not changed since her death. The page is a time capsule of a life cut short. The only part that is different is the section where readers post comments. Since her death over a year ago, friends have written nearly 700 messages there.

When I look back over my life I think often of the last words spoken by friends and relatives before they died. My first wife crashed into a telephone pole on April 21, 1991. She was 33 when she died. This blog post is about more than the fact that we must be aware that every day may be our last, that we are not immortal, that we must live life in the present because we never know what the future holds. All of this is true. The extension of it is also true about our blogs and our other Internet presence.

Every blog post we make builds our legacy and tells the story of our lives. This is so important, this is what folks will look back on when we are gone. This is our lives with permalinks and cached in Google. Her words, my first wife Candy's words, or my sister's words, or my father's words, all these words and stories I have and the stories you have we hold in our memories can now be written and shared in a world by us and those living with us and preserved for a world without us. Rianna's continuing story is in the comments of Rianna's MySpace page. Her memory is shared for those who never knew her there. It is a story started by her before her death certificate and still being written by those who remember her.

Gone the Sun
In the book Gone the Sun, Winston Groom writes, "Sometimes I think we should be issued another paper, a Life Certificate if you will – which could contain some brief statement for historical purposes that could explain how a person lived and what they accomplished and where they failed and why."

This is your last blog post
Rianna's MySpace page has become like Groom's Life Certificate. Even more poignant than the last words spoken, those last words blogged. What will they be? As you blog always keep in your mind, this may be the last blog post. Someday it will be, likely when you don't expect it to be, someday it will be. We are writing our own autobiographies. These words will shape our memories. They will be our life story.

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