Real Sadness on Facebook

Yes, I am on Facebook.  At first I thought, who wants to be on Facebook?  What’s the point? I’m too old for shit like that, right?  Eight months and 215 friends later, I get it – it is addicting.  It’s weird – it’s like every person I have ever known in my entire life is on there somewhere, and even some I didn’t.  I actually connected with some cousins of mine that I have never met in person after they found me.

This morning I logged on and saw that FB helpfully pointed out that it was one of my “friends” birthday today.  This friend was someone I have known since 3rd grade, and was also the first boy I ever had a crush on.  In 5th grade  he played the violin, so I took cello just so I could be in his class – so, in a way, he introduced me to my life-long love of music.  I lost touch with him after high school, but FB brought us in contact once again.  Being the good FB Friend that I am, I clicked over to wish him a happy birthday on his wall.  This is how I discovered that this friend killed himself a few days ago – just shy of his 40th birthday.  To say I was shocked was an understatement.  Nothing on his FB page would have indicated anything abnormal.  Just last week I saw a post from him – one of those annoying “5 Favorite…”  and he had put Vans as all 5 of his favorite footwear and I had mentally filed that he must really like Vans and smiled. 

This news made me very sad, but also made me feel strange.  In this electronic world, I found this person, chatted with this person and now know this person is gone – all through the computer.  I probably would have never known otherwise that this terrible event occurred as I long ago lost touch with any “real life” mutual friends.  And there his FB sits, like an eerie beacon as all his friends, real and electronic, gather in their grief.  In this new world, is an electronic message of sadness the same as a written note or attending a service?  I feel just as sad as I would have had I found this news out in person – but it just seems … different , but no less tragic.

Rest in Peace, Dylan.  These are for you: