Since around 2002 I’ve been emailing an older man in California named Milt. We started out mostly talking about classical music. He saw on my AOL profile (this was ’02 remember) that I was a fan of the rather obscure, 20th century Swedish composer Allan Pettersson. We had similar tastes in music, and as time went on we found we agreed on a lot of other things too. We discussed politics during the dark Bush years, we were both disillusioned with Obama before he was even elected. He and I were both “staunch atheists.” He was quite knowledgeable on historical events, kings and queens, radical politics and literature.
Since late-2012 he had been in and out of the hospital and had recently been moved into an assisted living situation, for someone without a lot of means. Then about two months ago the emails just…stopped. I searched obituaries in depth but found nothing. I have no way of contacting his friends since I didn’t know any of them. It’s strange to lose someone like that, especially when you’re not even sure if they’re dead. There’s really little you can do.
There were times when we wouldn’t write to each other for 6 months or more, so this isn’t too unusual, but I just have a feeling that this time it’s a permanent hiatus. Well Milt, I know neither of us believe in an afterlife, so I won’t muse on you “being up there” — I’ll just say, I miss ya.