When we first received Moe's diagnosis, I started reading everything I could on the Internet about autism. In addition to news articles and autism organizations, I found many, many blogs. Because most people include a blog-roll (list of blogs they read), one blog leads to the next. I devoured every free moment with reading people's personal stories, some about autism, some not.
That level of commitment is unsustainable, and though I still check in with many blogs, over time I've become a loyal reader to a relatively small number of blogs. Some are silly, others happy and beautiful, but many contain sad stories of coping and grief. It feels oddly voyeuristic to peek into other people's lives on a daily basis (though clearly something we as a culture love to do), and I wonder if feeling sad about things that happen to other people who I've never met is a healthy pastime. But I also know that this connection to people across the blogosphere is one of the reasons I started blogging. I want not only to share information, but also to share experiences and connect with others who are in the same boat. I've received comments and emails from readers I've never met with encouraging words that I return to over and over.
There have been countless cases where the blogging community has crossed over to the real world to provide help to people in big and small ways. I just read a touching story about a young boy, Jacob Taylor, who recently lost his battle with a brain tumor. There are no miracles in this story, just one blogger and a baker, helping out in their own ways. The story is on one of my favorite blogs, Cake Wrecks, written by people I don't know but wish I did. (The story is about half way down the post, but if you are a fan of amazing cakes or Food Network Challenge, you should read the whole thing.)
If you want to read Jacob's story, you can do so on the family's CaringBridge page.