The Ani Manjikian Project
(Pronounced Aw-nee Man-jee-ken)
In January 2018, I received a phone call from one of my two best friends, Ani Manjikian. She told me she had been diagnosed with cancer, yet again. This would be her fourth run with cancer. Although all her major organs were riddled with cancer, Ani’s optimism, spirit, and strength left me certain she would fight it off in a couple months and be back in time for CyCon. I continued with plans for CyCon as usual making notes to “review with Ani when she is better.”
On Sunday 3 March 2018, Ani passed away.
Our last conversation was upbeat and happy. I could not have asked for a better last conversation. Ani was like an young stallion discovering the power in its legs for the first time. She was rearing to face Cancer head on and win. I was certain she would win.
When I learned of her passing, I couldn’t believe it. I called her right away and felt the devastation as the surrealism set in. It was the first time Ani didn’t answer the phone when I called. I was crippled and lost. This devastation was the exact thing I would need Ani for.
On 4 March 2018, I learned of Ani’s passing through a post on Facebook. Facebook is the worse place to learn of someone’s death.
I thought of Ani’s dog, Maggie. I was ready to drive from New York to Washington to get her if needed. I thought of Ani’s books. All her current works in progress. One book was currently with beta readers. Another was with an editor. What about all her stories? What about her websites? What about her dreams? I needed to talk to Ani’s family, and I couldn’t. I had no idea what their names were or who they were. I did know she had two sisters, but I had no way of getting a hold of “The sister of Ani living somewhere in California.”
It was by a small miracle, a chance of kindness that Tamara, Ani’s sister, took the initiative to call everyone in Ani’s contact list in her phone. On 6 March 2018, Tamara called me despite her grief. Maggie the Dog was fine and would be adopted by Ani’s mother. All her precious things were being carefully wrapped. Tamara managed to get through all 300 contacts repeating over and over to people she didn’t know, “Ani died of cancer on 3 March 2018.”
I can’t help but ask, “What if Tamara hadn’t called me?” What if Tamara hadn’t picked up the phone? What if Ani and I hadn’t exchanged phone numbers two years ago? I would still be in the dark today, looking for her family.
Not only was Ani my best friend, I was hers. After her passing, I found letters from Ani, telling me how much our friendship meant to her. Ani was my heart sister, yet I was one of the last to know of Ani’s passing. I live in New York. She, in Washington. We never met face-to-face. And I love her.
It’s a dark topic, but it’s one we all need to think about.
We live in a time where Cyber Families are a real thing. Many of us have come to love our Cyber Family more than our biological family. Yet many of us have no access or knowledge of the other. Should something happen to those I love–Tim, Adam, Cinders, Joe–I would have no way of knowing. If something were to happen to me, not one of you would hear about it. I would just disappear from the Cyber World.
Until Ani, I hadn’t thought of it.
For this reason, Brain to Books is bridging the gap between Cyber Families and Real Families. Upon your passing, Brain to Books will carry on the task of notifying your cyber family of your passing.
The system is in place. We’re ready to start offering this service.
It is in beta mode and we have some details to work out.
Here is how this works.
You pay $5.00 to sign up and $1.00 renewal fee every year thereafter.
You fill out a form online that provides us with all the data we will need in the event of your passing so we can notify your cyber family. There are no limits. You can add as many people to the form as you need with no additional cost. You can update your data as often as you would like.
We send you a welcome packet in the mail that includes a business card and some information that you can pass on to your power of attorney. In the event that you pass, have your Power of Attorney contact us and Brain to Books will notify your cyber family on your behalf. One call from a loved one will set in motion a fleet of empathetic messaging to your Cyber Kin. Also, if you and your Power of Attorney consent, we will happily pass along contact information to the Cyber Family so they can directly contact the physical family.
If I lived closer to Ani, I would have attended her funeral and that would have required information from her family.
What about your writing?
We will also adopt your books and add them to “The Hall of Dreams” where we will market them for you at no additional cost. We’ll disperse 100% of book royalties to whomever you wish. We will do our best to keep your books alive for you.
Not just limited to Authors.
Brain to Books is offering the service to everyone with a cyber family. We will take on the responsibility of passing on the news of your death so your Cyber Family will get the news.
Take a moment and sign up. On 20 April 2018, The Ani Manjikian Project launches and you’ll receive and email regarding the next step.