Can one love someone he has never met? Can one mourn someone he has never met? The answers to both questions are yes. Some years ago my twin brother and I were making some tapes of our singing and decided to play the results for our friend Ronnie. One of our songs was a version of Wagon Wheels, based on the Ravens version. When we played our lame tape we found out the base singer of the Ravens, Jimmy Ricks, had just died. I don’t know what my brother felt, but I was saddened. Perhaps not as deeply as if a relative died, but I was still saddened.
In the past few days I have learned that a woman, Carol Fleming, who I only know from her website and from the Internet has had her health take a turn for the worse. I have followed her blog since I was stuck by myself in Tennessee. She is a retired foreign intelligence officer who worked for the CIA for 20 years. She was married to a Saudi Arabian man for a relatively short time (time shortened by his death). Despite what one might think from her employment background, she has always seemed to have a positive outlook, especially about the Muslim world. I have been following her on facebook. One gets an impression of people from their writings and my impression of her was very positive.
At age 61, I am starting to see more and more of my older contemporaries die. Just a few months ago one of my first cousins died at age 66. I didn’t feel much more than a bit of numbness. I had not seen her that much in the last 30 years. I was shocked at her death but not moved much. This news about a younger contemporary is sad and a bit scary. We know what the end is here, still I am sad and I will be sadder when it happens.