I am unspeakably sad about the passing of a 4.5 month old girl I've never met. Emma was the daughter of two people I know through work, Matt and Ellen Kowalczyk. They're really acquaintances, but I feel incredibly close to them now. As Emma fought for her life, Matt blogged and Twittered about what was going on. After a mutual friend told me what was going on, I started following the story and got to know them through this very personal struggle, until it ended today with this Twitter
and this post. Ellen's Facebook status was another peek into what was going on.
At first, I admit I was a bit taken aback by how public they were being, but as with Chris' kidney thing earlier this year, I think the openness helped bring more of their extended network of friends in to support them. I'm guessing the writing was a helpful outlet as well.
I'm not sure if we'll ever be as open; we tend to be pretty private (even the kid stories I write about are highly selective and edited). That said, I feel privileged that the Kowalczyks shared their lives with me for a little while and let me know their daughter and her strength.
It's easy to think of the Internet as dehumanizing relationships, replacing personal contact with email, Twitters, and IM. In some cases it is, but with Emma and Chris, I was able to share a much deeper relationship and get much more insight into their lives than I probably ever would have in the pre-net world, and I'm grateful.