I have a Google alert set up to let me know when my name appears in the news or on someone’s blog. It doesn’t go off all that often (I’m not that newsworthy), but it can be helpful to let me know when someone has linked to my blog.
Occasionally though I get alerts for the wrong Catherine Gellis. It’s not a particularly common name, but it’s not unique either. Vanity googling earlier revealed that there’s another in Virginia, and one in New England. Or at least there was. Today’s Google alerts were for news that the latter has just died of cancer, and at just 33 (I’m 34).
So I write in part to stave off any confusion by any other googlers. We had the same name, had relatives with the same names, used to live in the same area and were close to the same age. I’ve been confused with the other Catherine Gellis before, and could easily again be with this one.
I also wish to express my condolences for her untimely death. She wasn’t someone I knew, and I don’t think we were related, but somehow by virtue of sharing the name I still felt somehow connected to her. Few people get to go through life with the privilege of being named Catherine Gellis, but she was one of them. From all accounts she seemed like a decent person and loved by many, as all Catherine Gellises should be.