It’s an odd thing when a blogger we know dies. It’s a case of culture not yet caught up with technology. We don’t know how to react. What’s appropriate to say or feel? What’s inappropriate? And unless someone else has access to their passcodes, their blog will now remain there until Google or Wordpress disappears. A ghost of them will forever lurk in the blogosphere.
For 4 months I followed the blog of Sang Lee – Yellow Son. A Korean by birth who moved with his family to the US when he was only a few years old, but an American by language, culture and upbringing. The conflict between who he was, or wanted to be out in the world, who he was expected to be at home, and how the people he met treated him because of his physical heritage, shaped much of his outlook.
And he wrote about it wonderfully.
To me he was one of the great finds of 2009, and we clicked together on many levels. His was one of the very few blogs where I was compelled to go back and read every post he’d written. Each one was a treat; an indulgence.
I always got a little excited when I saw on the sidebar he’d got a new post up.
And now, via mutual blog associates and Facebook I discover he had a heart attack and was found dead in his apartment on January 5th.
I never met Sang in person. I never spoke to him on the phone. I only knew him via his writings – blog posts and comments. He might have been an entirely fictitious character created by a Romanian woman living in Botswana for all I know.
But it didn’t feel like he was. He felt like a full, deep and complex person who I was enjoying getting to know.
And now he’s gone.
And I feel a whole range of emotions.
I feel sorrow for his family and those who were close to him; I feel annoyed I won’t get to read any more of his wonderful writings; I feel the sense of mortality we get when someone the same age as us suddenly dies; I feel it’s a shame I will never get to meet him in person as I’m convinced we would have got on well together; I feel a strong sense of personal loss; I feel I want to honour his memory to show a sense of respect; I feel I want to make some stupid, humorous remark; I feel I don’t know the right protocols – I can’t put on a black tie and attend a funeral service; I feel as I never actually met him it shouldn’t really make a difference.
But it does.
Tonight the world feels a bit less colourful.
UPDATEA tribute page to Sang Lee has been set up on Facebook by his best friends, and can be found here: