This post originally appeared on my reading blog, Just A (Reading) Fool, on December 16, 2008, and I only thought it appropriate to repeat here for today’s opening assignment for Book Blogger Appreciation Week, which is either to share about a new book blog discovered since last year’s BBAW or share the very first book blog discovered. While I’m not sure Dewey’s was the first, it was, among a handful of others, one of the most influential book blogs I encountered: that challenged me to reach out beyond myself, to others, something that I will be attempting to continue this week through Book Blogger Appreciation Week.
“Birth, life, and death — each took place on the hidden side of a leaf.”
— Toni Morrison
I began this blog on April 25, 2008. One day later, on April 26, the blogger known only as Dewey began Weekly Geeks with its first entry, with 150 bloggers signing up. I don’t know if I believe in fate or the stars aligning, but I do know as a Christian, I do believe that God works in mysterious ways. I truly believe this was one of those mysterious ways.
On her site, Dewey (I never knew her real name) had 26 Weekly Geek posts, of which I participated in at most 10. However, it wasn’t so much about “participating,” as it was connecting with other book lovers across the blogosphere. I dare say if it weren’t for Dewey and also Debra Hamel, who runs The Sunday Salon, I never would have met half of the book lovers here that I have. Many of you I have met in both places.
Aside: I’m writing this and playing Scramble on Facebook: I have a hard time focusing anymore. But what was bizarre, and no, I didn’t make a screenshot of it, so you’ll just have to believe me, one of the words that I saw was “Dewey,” I kid you not.
In May, in one of those rare moments, Dewey actually talked about her “illness” in Weekly Geeks #4, a post about the U.S. health care system. Before that, I had no idea and after that, I didn’t think of it, except perhaps in the back of my mind. So when I read of her passing away, first I believe on Twitter, and then as announced by her husband on her site in this post, I, like those of the rest of you in the “book blogging” world, at least this corner of it, wasn’t completely surprised, on one hand. However, on the other hand, like the death of any person with whom you have had a good connection, it still was devastating.
Then on Tuesday, Dec. 2, the 83-year-old man, whom I and other hospice workers had been assisting for over a month, passed away. This was less surprising than Dewey’s death, but nonetheless, still devastating to his wife, his and her children, and to those of who had volunteered at the hospice house where he had lived out his final days– l ike I am sure it was, and still is, devastating to Dewey’s husband, their children and those who knew her, both online and in real life. Even though we knew it was coming and soon didn’t make the man’s death 0any less devastating or sad. However, many of us who were there during his final days had this great feeling of having the opportunity to meet the man.
At his memorial service last week, in his eulogy, the pastor of his church left us with this quote from Dr. Seuss:
Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.
I think this for me applies not only to the man for whom I was one of many caregivers, but also to Dewey.
So when you think of Dewey, just smile.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT8GGSOy_lM (for those of you in readers)