Milt's Weather Report
Saturday, 26 August 2006
Dense fog in Portland, Maine, this morning. Casco Bay islands are behind a veil of gray and even sailboats moored just offshore look like ghost ships. The fog is expected to burn off by noon, then sunshine and cool temperatures for the rest of the day.
That weather report is a small tribute to Milt Rebmann of Milt’s Muse. He began every post with his personal Idaho Falls weather report which became his signature style:
“It's a beautiful crisp, clear, sunny day in Idaho Falls, definitely one that should be enjoyed from the other side of the window....I intend to do just that.....”
I had no reason to care about the weather in Idaho Falls until Milt made me care, and I would have been hugely disappointed if he had ever stopped doing those reports.
Milt, who began his blog in July of 2005, and was always plain-spoken, wrote in his profile:
“I'm existing with cancer. It's a pain in the butt. I have it and am stuck with it. This is a blog of my thoughts about the cancer, the resulting depression, and my feeble attempts at self help.”
His attempts were far from “feeble” as he struggled with the ups and down of the disease, the depression it caused and medication that made his mind fuzzy. In the spring, he wrote more frequently of pain and on 30 May, having given up Oxycodone for over-the-counter painkillers, he said:
“That's my whinny rant for the day, I may feel more like my old self tomorrow....I don't have much confidence it that though......”
It was Milt’s last blog post. His granddaughter, Amber, posted a couple of short notes saying Milt was very sick but resting comfortably and now, with no explanation, his blog has been taken down and only a Google cache remains.
Susan at Saz Secrets and Claude of Blogging in Paris have tried to track down news of Milt without success. I too have checked his site regularly and searched Idaho Falls newspapers for an obituary, but none has appeared.
As so often happens in the blogosphere, Milt was not the sort of man I run across much in my life, not the sort I would usually seek out to know. But we became friends across the ether; my gain. I like too what he told a reporter about blogging when he was interviewed for a piece about elderbloggers in The New York Times in April:
"’It's a therapy for me,’ said Mr. Rebmann, who retired from the electronics business and lives in Idaho Falls, Idaho. ‘It's pretty much gotten me out of the depression. I'm not having so many dark thoughts about death as I used to. I can see improvement in my thinking.’
“Mr. Rebmann also gets something by visiting some of the other bloggers who visit his site. ’It's kind of like talking over the backyard fence,’ he said. ‘Like a neighborhood.’"
Yes. A great, big worldwide neighborhood with no more than an electronic back fence separating our yards. I hope we can find news of Milt and I’m betting that wherever he is, he’s starting every conversation with the local weather report.
Thank you for this, Ronni.
Posted by: tamarika | Saturday, 26 August 2006 at 08:19 AM
I do hope some news on Milt will surface soon.
And how true about the blog world being one, huge, neighborhood. Amazing how we become so attached to certain individuals, that in many ways become even closer than that physical neighbor right next door.
Posted by: Terri | Saturday, 26 August 2006 at 09:04 AM
Thanks Ronni - You expressed exactly the way the rest of us feel about Milt.
Posted by: SAZ aka Susan | Saturday, 26 August 2006 at 10:05 AM
As Milt's blog stated, he was using the blog to help him to face terminal cancer and his last blog entry was about fighting depression. The last time I looked and before Milt's Muse was removed there were dozens of comments on the last entry wishing Milt well and occasional notes from his granddaughter stating that she would send our messages on to him.
His last post was at the end of May and I fear the worst. He knows that this cancer is his final illness and he is facing that unflinchingly. I hope that as I write this and referring to Milt in the present tense that he knows or is aware that he's got well wishers here in blogland. If we are mistaken and Milt has already passed away I'll be sad that we didn't realize at the time but happy for him that he has been released. He will always have a corner of my heart. God Bless Milt Rebmann.
Posted by: Peggy | Saturday, 26 August 2006 at 10:10 AM
I never had a chance to read Milt's blogs, and reading what all of his cyberfriends have to say about him makes me sad that I didn't get to know him.
Posted by: Betty | Saturday, 26 August 2006 at 11:53 AM
Ronni, thank you for doing this. I followed by publishing a weather report in Nantes on my blog and so did Susan.
I am so sorry his blog has been deleted. Wherever he is, he'll know that his friends from the blogosphere are thinking of him. And anyway, it does me good to think so.
Posted by: Claude | Saturday, 26 August 2006 at 12:27 PM
Thanks Ronni for your comment on my Weather Report for Milt. I'm hoping Milt's fan club will post their local weather reports for Milt on their own blogs. If we can't leave comments on his blog we can use the weather report as a way of reaching out to him.
Posted by: SAZ aka Susan | Saturday, 26 August 2006 at 01:34 PM
Ronni, thanks for this posting. Maybe as the word spreads we will find out about Milt.
It also reminds me of a posting I did see some time ago. The blogger had written about preparing his last posting and putting it into an envelope to be open in case... It included instructions on how to access the blog, passwords, etc.
Not an easy thing to do, but practical. I heard from a fellow blogger today that she was at the school in VT that had the shooting this week. She is okay but some of her collegues are not.
The world these days are crazy. No telling what the next minute/hour/day will bring. I don't plan on living fearfully but I think I will write that letter. My community is relatively small but I would want them to know what happened whenever that time comes.
Enjoy the day! Smell the roses!
Posted by: Steve Sherlock | Saturday, 26 August 2006 at 01:53 PM
What a shame it would be if Milt is gone and we have not been informed.
He is part of our circle of blog friends and we care about him. We need to try and find out about Milt but I do not know how to go about it.
Posted by: Chancy | Saturday, 26 August 2006 at 03:46 PM
I never read Milt, Ronni. But it is sad to me when a blog goes by the wayside, with no explanation from any family member as to what is happening. I hope to set up something so that it will not happen when I become incapacitated.
P.S. You might like the post I have up today (you may have already seen it.)
Posted by: kenju | Saturday, 26 August 2006 at 03:52 PM
Thanks Ronni. SAZ and I were just commenting about Milt earlier this morning. I hope he knows we're all still thinking about him and sending him our support, even if we can't send him messages via his blog. This was a wonderful way to let him know how much we miss him Ronni. I hope he gets a chance to read it. -Joy
Posted by: Joy | Saturday, 26 August 2006 at 04:25 PM
Ronni, I just posted my Weather Report for Milt on my site. What a great idea. Thanks again.
Posted by: Joy | Saturday, 26 August 2006 at 05:54 PM
I, too, hope Milt continues to receive the message, that though his blog is offline, he is still in all our thoughts.
I have felt genuine, sincere, interest and concern for Milt's well being, though I've known him only through contact made soon after he started his blog.
I share with all of you the hope that we will learn how he is doing, or if in fact, the removal of his blog has some symbolic meaning.
Thank you, Ronni, for a well-written tribute, that I suspect Milt would not think was small at all.
Posted by: joared | Saturday, 26 August 2006 at 09:32 PM
It's been a beautiful, mostly clear and sunny day here in the Los Angeles area. The winds have been calm. It's been the kind of day you might want to seek some shade, after you've spent some time on the other side of the window.
Posted by: joared | Saturday, 26 August 2006 at 11:33 PM
Thank you Joared!
Posted by: SAZ aka Susan | Sunday, 27 August 2006 at 02:45 AM
Thanks for sharing this, Ronni. I never had a chance to visit Milt's blog but from the love I see that he inspired here, I am truly sorry I missed that pleasure. The thing I hate most about aging is that I keep losing people -- people who matter to me. My sincere condolences to all of you who had the privilege of knowing Milt. My prayers are with him & all of you as you grieve his loss. May a loving & gracious God be good to him -- and you, my friends.
Posted by: Kay Dennison | Sunday, 27 August 2006 at 03:25 PM
Finding this on the internet has mead me cry the tears I have been holding back. Let me start by saying that my Grandpa Milt is still alive. He is holding on and still has good days mixed with bad. I had stopped commenting on his blog because I was'nt sure if he really wanted me to keep it updated or not. I feel that if he allowed you all in his life at that moment in time then he would probably want you to know how he is. Sorry to keep everyone guessing on my Grandpa I'll try to get better at keeping in contact. I will tell him of your love and kind wishes.
Posted by: Amber | Friday, 06 October 2006 at 04:59 PM
Amber, thank you! Yes, by all means, tell your Grandpa we have not forgotten him by any stretch of the imagination. I send my love and wishes to him for more good days than bad ones. I wish only the best for you, and your family during this difficult time.
BTW, nice to see his home page even though, I guess, comments aren't being taken.
Posted by: joared | Saturday, 07 October 2006 at 12:34 AM
I hadn't read Milt's blog but have seen the comments on Ronni's but elsewhere since he stopped writing about how many people care about him and that's a wonderful thing. It has to help when so many have been touched by your energy and words :) It was very good that you updated everyone. Wishing strength and energy for you all.
Posted by: Rain | Saturday, 07 October 2006 at 08:06 AM