Derek Miller, a writer and technology thinker, passed away a couple days ago. He wrote a touching final post that was scheduled to publish upon his death:
Airdrie, you were my best friend and my closest connection. I don't know what we'd have been like without each other, but I think the world would be a poorer place. I loved you deeply, I loved you, I loved you, I loved you.
If you scroll through the most recent few entries (of his 10 year old blog), he writes about his decline with great eloquence, honesty, and clearheadedness.
It's a privilege (is that the word?) of the modern age to be able to read these types of blog posts — dying people documenting their decline in a public forum. There's something comforting in it, for me.
It's chilling when someone dies unexpectedly and their last blog post or tweet is especially banal or random.
Derek, long fighting cancer, prepared a thought-out goodbye post. Yet, a couple weeks ago he was tweeting about the the future of the iTunes store. He knew he was days or weeks away from dying…but in the meantime, why not link to a good commentary on whether iTunes will move to the cloud?
Perhaps it's not so chilling, after all, these sorts of seemingly trivial postings. Live each day of your life doing the things you like to do, tweeting about the things you always tweet about. Until there are no more days left to live.
6 comments on “I Loved You, I Loved You, I Loved You”
Powerful stuff Ben, thanks for sharing!
Not to speak ill of the dead because I read that post too and thought it was very good, but I think you might be reaching here. I think it’s much more likely that even in the face of death, it’s difficult to resist the urge to spend your precious and fleeting time on things you have no control over, affect you in no way and will never even see the results of.
It is like an addiction in that way. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, we’re still there hurting ourselves, wasting the little bit of time we’ve been given.
Derek Miller didn’t seem to be thinking clearly when he wrote that farewell post.
Such hubris for him to declare, “I haven’t gone to a better place, or a worse one. I haven’t gone anyplace, because Derek doesn’t exist anymore.”
How the hell would he know what happens after we die?
Miller doesn’t have a leg to stand on there, philosophically or logically.
This is the arrogance of the atheist– not so different to Harold Camping’s assertion that Judgment Day begins with a worldwide earthquake on May 21, 2011.
I imagine if such an event actually were to occur, it would really set Miller twirling like a gyroscope in his coffin.
No sting in death, no victory in the grave.
Vince and Ryan, the man is dead. He has two young daughters who will never have their dad walk them down the aisle. It is a peculiar form of argumentativeness I find, compelling one to argue and pick apart the final utterances of a dead man.
If there is anything we can take away from his final blog post, it is not what happens categorically in the afterlife or how one should spend one’s days to ensure minimal wastage but that in the end, our final thoughts are with those we love who love us. What I take from his post is the bigger picture of what is really important not the minor details to pick apart and critique like pigeons fighting over pieces of stale bread beneath the statue of Michelangelo.
Sorry, Susan, I don’t subscribe to the superstitious taboo on critical commentary of a dead man’s words, especially when he writes his own funeral speech.
I don’t appreciate being compared to an unruly pigeon, either. You can save it next time.
I agree that the bigger picture of what Miller wrote is the important thing, and maybe I should have acknowledged that, but I’m not carving the Pietà here.
It’s more peculiar than anything we might say that Derek tells his young daughters, only 11 and 13, that he doesn’t exist any more.
I’ve met few kids that age who are atheists, or who don’t believe in an afterlife.
It would have been better for him to put the dogmatic materialism aside in his farewell post, for God’s sake, and let them grieve with the belief, most likely, that their Dad in one form or another still exists, somewhere.
He should have saved the postmodern skepticism for something else.
The girls had months to contemplate his impending death, and were surely grieving while he was yet alive.
“So I was unafraid of death– of the moment itself– and of what came afterwards, which was (and is) nothing” are words unlikely to comfort or offer philosophical reassurance, no matter how many times he says “I loved you.”
Should life be seen as a postcard, focusing on only the meaningful highlights; or rather a collection of minutiae, not excluding his personal indulgence?
I am humbled by your remark about human tendency to waste time, but I am not sure I agree with its application in this context.