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Death and Facebook

18 May, 2015 Leave a comment

In the fall of 2011, a friend of mine tragically died in a car accident. Today was supposed to be his birthday. He was supposed to turn 29. I still miss the guy. He was one of a kind. I know that’s cliché to say, but for him it really fits the bill. I’ve never met anyone like him. He was truly unique in so many ways. And we lost him in a surprise car accident.

The strange thing about death and social media is that the accounts of dead people often stay active. I got a reminder today that my friend had his birthday today and that felt utterly surreal. I’ve debated back and forth all day long whether or not I should write something on his Facebook page. In the end I decided not to, because it wouldn’t be for him as much as it would be showing others that he’s still in my thoughts. It would be more about me than about him. So I won’t write there. He’s in my thoughts and I cherish his memory that way.

But then there’s a really off-putting thing going on with this whole situation. I went into his profile and there are a handful of posts on there. There are a few “you’re in my thoughts” posts and a nice poem there. And then there’s two or three people who have just written “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!”. It’s the same people in 2012, in 2013, in 2014 and this year. They obviously don’t know that he’s dead and I guess there’s nothing wrong with that. Plenty of people don’t really know what’s going on with their 800 Facebook friends and you can’t fault them for that. But it just rubs me the wrong way when someone has been dead for almost four years and they get a superficial message. I can almost guarantee that these people will keep writing “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!” next year and the year after that and so on. Completely oblivious to the fact that he’s long gone. There’s still happiness there, as the birthday message is generally a nice thing to get. Then again, you know it’s just because people get prompted about “Oh, hey, you have 3 friends with birthdays today!” by the site. How sincere is that nice message? It’s obvious that they don’t know him or they wouldn’t be writing that, because he’s fucking dead, but on the other hand it’s a nice message…

Obviously I can’t get my head around this.

It’s weird.

I’ll leave it at that.

Happy birthday, Jimmy. I really miss you.