Pulling a Published Post Is Like Unringing A Bell

SUBSCRIBERS TO THIS BLOG RECENTLY FOUND THEMSELVES on the Avenue of the Busted Link, a dead-end cul de sac, and for that I apologize. Let me tell you what happened.

Last Wednesday at twilight, I had been working at my desk and was just about to head to the kitchen to start supper preparations when my fingers went all Ouija Board on me and typed a name in Google that I hadn’t thought about in a long time. The name was that of my first husband. What happened next stunned me. I went to the bedroom, where Buck was doing free-weight bicep curls. I tried to speak, but nothing would come out. He looked at me first with curiosity, then concern. I held up my right hand, palm out, my “give me a minute” signal.

I realized I was about to cry, but managed to blurt out, “It’s Ralph. He died last Sunday. Pancreatic cancer.”

Buck put down the weights, reached me in one step, and wrapped me up in his arms. “Oh, babe, I’m so sorry.”

On Friday, I posted a blog post about it. Here is an excerpt:

We met when I was a freshman at the University of Florida; he was a graduate assistant teaching a course. We married in 1971; divorced in 1983. We broke each other on the rocks of delayed adolescence.

I found the blessing of lasting love. Now I know he did, too.

A good man. Rest in peace, and comfort to your loving wife and treasured life companion.

Without thinking, I included a link to Ralph’s obituary. Sometime later, maybe on Saturday morning, I Googled his name again, perhaps hoping to find a new, happier set of facts. What I found was not only the obit notice and newspaper articles praising his work over the years, but a link to this blog. For some dumb reason known only to my subconscious, I had included a YouTube video of Simon and Garfunkel’s “I Am A Rock” in the post. Its themes of isolation and emotional detachment may have resonated with the young people we were as we tried to figure out how to grow up, but not with our fully evolved selves. Seeing it, I realized instantly that it could cause confusion or pain to others who know and care for Ralph, especially his loving wife. It was massively inappropriate for me, a former spouse from more than thirty years ago, to pop up with a link to my blog, of all things.

So I removed the post. Unfortunately, on Google the link still exists, even though it is a link to nowhere. I have filled out a request with Google’s web link removal tool to have it removed ASAP. I sincerely apologize to one and all.

Swamp Jessamine spotted on overcast day on February 24, 2013 at Longleaf Preserve in Escambia County, Florida. Buck and I walked the woods between rain showers. We almost missed this bright flower. It was twined on an iron-like vine more than 25 feet up a pine tree.
Swamp Jessamine spotted on overcast day on February 24, 2013 at Longleaf Preserve in Escambia County, Florida. Buck and I walked the woods between rain showers. We almost missed this bright flower. It burst forth from an iron-like vine twined more than 25 feet up a pine tree.

Buck and I took a long walk in the pine woods yesterday. We noticed growth tips on all the Longleafs, young and old. It is no longer possible to distinguish pines planted a decade ago from the continually regenerating volunteer trees. We celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary last Sunday, February 17, the same day my first husband ended his time on this earth. Buck’s first wife passed away in August of 2005. It’s not the same as being orphaned as an adult. We have both experienced that, and it is, of course, a completely different sort of connection. But it is impossible to read about Ralph and not reflect upon our lives together with equal measures of sadness, regret, and the relief of knowing we parted friends and both found the loves of our lives.

6 thoughts on “Pulling a Published Post Is Like Unringing A Bell

  1. Wow. O.K., yeah, I wondered at the dead link on Twitter, too.

    Usually if you edit or replace the content in a blog post, Google will index the new content within a day at the most and overwrite the old in its cache. But in this case, I can understand why you wouldn’t have wanted to wait that long.


  2. This is such a sensitive post, Beth. What you did was not hurtful but heartfelt, and yet upon reflection you looked at it through others’ eyes, eyes you imagined. I doubt they would have been hurt or misunderstood, but you can’t know, and so you have done the right thing.


  3. What a poignant mixture this post is. I was offline a few days so didn’t follow the events, but what you decided makes sense. I appreciate how love is woven throughout your reflections; how amazingly elastic love is.


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