The problem with meeting people online is that I have a hard time calling them friends. How can you be friends with people who don't tell you their real names, or who pretend to be someone they aren't? I do count those whose names I know as friends, but due to the distance between us, they have a lower priority than those I know offline.
I can't just hop in the car and run over when something bad happens in their lives. I can't hug them when they need it, nor can I stand beside them when trouble comes. It doesn't mean they have no value, it's just difficult to find the time for online friends when life is so consuming. Sometimes these people you meet online go on to bigger and better things and simply stop associating with you. They forget about you on many levels and you return the favor until something happens and they again occupy a place in the forward part of the mind.
For me the something that happened is the very devastating Colorado flood. Some of you former Blogstreamers will remember Prank from "The Paradox of the Prankster". He lives in Colorado. At least he did the last time I heard anything from him. He was someone who, for reasons known only to him, moved on long before Blogstream shut down.
He, whoever he is, has been on my mind these past couple of weeks since the pictures of the devastation in Colorado were made public. I'd like to know that he is safe, and I can't because I never knew who he was.
I enjoyed his poetry, his tales from the Mile High Palace and the always unique perspective of Woogie the Cat. It seems to me that I read somewhere that he was sick, but never heard that he recovered. He and Woogie may have passed into the great beyond long before the flood of 2013. I probably will never know. On some level that grieves me and on another level it feels right to be capable of retaining fond memories without the knowledge of permanent loss.
Online, as in life, people come and go. The best we can hope for is that those who went did so with sails full of wind to carry them onward and that they found a soft place to land.