I just received some terrible news that a friend of mine that I worked with for years passed away suddenly yesterday from a heart attack. She had relocated to Florida a couple years ago and so we kept in touch a lot on Facebook and by email. She had just emailed me this weekend to share a secret that her son was expecting a second child and she would be a grandma again. She was so giddy with joy about it. She and I had just been talking yesterday too sharing thoughts about life and more on the joys of babies. We shared so many views about life and the world.
So when I started seeing pictures from her family surfacing on the news feed with rest in peace messages just a couple hours later I couldn’t believe it. She was only in her early forties. She had been pursuing a college degree for years in the legal field and was almost done. She was determined to succeed and was an avid volunteer in animal rescue charities. She did a ton of work with the Coastal Poodle Rescue and was just an all-around kind, generous and one-of-a-kind person. She didn’t smoke and was even a vegetarian for the most part. I can’t believe so fast she is gone. Not to mention how eery it is to learn the news from posts by her family made right after posts she made herself that same day. As is evident from the outpour of sympathy and sentiment on her wall, she will be missed deeply.
Even more crazy is that this is the second person that I worked with at the same job who has died of a massive heart attack in their forties in the past couple years. The first was also a close friend and “soul sister” and when it happened it was equally as devastating. She too was rather healthy and was a runner to boot. And, again with the eeriness, she still has a Facebook page and many of us still post things to her page periodically. Our farewells and fond memories are forever preserved on two dimensional “walls”.
It’s weird to think that, thanks to Facebook, we’ll still have our pages long after we die. It’s also weirdly comforting to be able to go to their page whenever they’re thought of and kinda makes it feel like they are still here with us. Granted they’re not posting things (but I guess if you have any apps enabled that can make posts for you this could make things pretty creepy), it’s refreshing sometimes just visiting their page and seeing happy pictures and posts and comments from before they were gone – especially when they were the type that worked hard to make a difference in the world and have left behind so many messages of hope and hard work for a better world.
I can’t help but think we are creating our own cyber-cemetery plots with Facebook. Shrines to our lives that we leave behind and as we all pass one by one we leave it behind for the rest to visit from time to time and maybe say a word or two. Maybe now’s the time to institute an Oprah-esque “no garbage” pledge to make sure that what we leave behind can resonate in the minds of our friends is a positive message. Either way I hope that when I die my page is filled with comments about how deeply I touched people’s lives and what a good person I was. I guess it’s reassuring to know that no matter when we die, we’ll live forever on Facebook…Or at least until it’s replaced by the next big social media staple. Maybe decades from now cyber-paleantologists will uncover our pages and study what made us tick and what made us laugh and what our life was all about.
I hate the saying that the good die young. It freaks me out. But, when the world loses someone like these two people it’s all that comes to mind. Maybe God does call his hardest workers home early. Whatever the truth may be, I just know that the world is missing two great people who fought for great causes and were great friends with great senses of humor and hearts of gold. You will live on, not only on Facebook, but in my heart as well. RIP.