I received the following e-mail this morning, and publish it with the author’s permission:
Hi, I used to comment on your beliefnet blog, mostly under the moniker of N.A.O. I’m not sure if you’ll remember, but I eventually had to stop commenting due to a difficult health situation at that time. I wanted to tell you how that turned out: eventually that difficult situation turned out to be Huntington’s Disease. I always liked your blog and still read it today (have even commented in the past few months, sometimes more coherently than others), and the memory that I was once capable of commenting there and conversing with you, even as the disease was starting to take its toll, suddenly means an awful lot to me. My symptoms were mostly physical then with some flashes of impaired cognition, but in the last week I am finding ordinary conversation, chit-chat, to be a great strain on me and something I can no longer quite get right. I feel an enveloping fog creep over me, and wanted to say this now, while I still can and while the memory of past days is still dear and available to me. I don’t know what the future holds, the progress might be arrested here for a good long time and I might adjust and do fairly well or I could slip under the waves and never be able to say this again, so now is the time. I always found you friendly and decent, and it helped that I mostly agreed with you!
Death, rather then swallow me whole, is going to take me in leisurely bites. I’m saddened by this but not angry, and I have the sudden urge to say goodbye to people- even distant internet acquaintances! I am afraid of my self disappearing and of losing the ability to think, and I will miss pondering God and wonder what kind of relationship I will have with Him before I see Him at last in brilliant, blessed, blissful clarity.
God bless him. I publish this not only because it’s beautiful and poignant, but to remind us all that behind these Internet monikers, whether anonymous or authentic, there are real persons, with true stories. That’s important to keep in mind.
If you pray, please pray for this anonymous brave reader as he drifts from shore and our company.