nothing is by chance: postscript to Penang blog entry

Chicago Travel Blog

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The power of the Internet is obvious, but what has occurred through this blog is simply mind-blowing.  One of my last blog entries from my Asian backpacking trip was about a man named Tim who I met in Penang, Malaysia several weeks ago.  we found him dead in the restaurant of my guesthouse the night after I met him.  (For further details, please see April 12 blog entry).

I ended that blog with concerns and questions about how this all plays out.  How his family is contacted.  How his Thai wife is located and told.  So many questions.  The episode was by far the most traumatizing moment in my four months of travel.

I returned to the States this past Friday, April 25.  Upon checking my emails and the Internet the following day, I received a message from a fellow travbuddy member asking for more information on my blog.  Through various emails, it came to be discovered that the man who was writing me with more questions was in fact the deceased's brother!  He scoured the Internet high and low for any details regarding his brother's death.  The only information that came up was my blog.

We finally spoke on the phone last night.  We were both amazed.  I mean, think of it.  This guy was alone.  He hadn't talked to his family in awhile.  He was en-route home.  The one main conversation that we had was really a complete disclosure of the life and time's of a heroin addict that he went into without my prompting.  The conversation lasted for hours with some really specific details, reflections, and bits of honesty along the way (although I did find out from the brother last night that some of the details he told me about his gateway into heroin were false as were some of the details on his family).

The brother seemed contented by my words and that he had found me.  He even printed off my blog (with some slight alterations) to give to their mother so that she could see that in the last days of his life, he was not totally deranged or in pain.  The brother, a Catholic, said that Tim had always kept his faith as well, and believes that in some way, his conversation with me served as his last confessional.  Some of the things that he told me were things that he had never shared with his family.  Things that were sad and repentant and from the heart. 

Despite the horror and sorrow of this episode, I find it all truly amazing and somewhat beautiful that I got to be a part of this family's grieving and Tim's time on earth.  The brother does not believe in coincidences.  Perhaps this was all meant to be.  That Tim would confide in a person who blogs, who lives in the States and was returning home soon after, and who  has compassion enough to imagine the pain and suffering the family is feeling and want to reach out and help, even though we have never met and most likely never will. Talking to him was tragic and peculiar and one of those times in life that words cannot really describe. 

Our conversation lasted for about 30 minutes.  Without giving too many details, I did learn that Tim's ashes will soon be brought back to the States to be placed in a cemetary with other family members' remains.  I learned more than I ever could have thought I would.  I was able in some tiny way to help a family grieve, and for that, I really feel sort of at peace and amazed and lightened through this tragedy, if that makes sense. 

simsing says:
Wow, what an incredible journey!
Posted on: Oct 27, 2012
David says:
Wow truly amazing.
Posted on: Apr 30, 2008
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