Tuesday, December 14, 2010

When Facebook Friends Die

I know that sounds like I'm being all dramatic and writing a post like, "When Animals Attack," or "When Good Pets Go Bad," and all that, but Facebook brings a whole new element to the grieving process.

Last Sunday, a high school classmate and Facebook friend was killed in a car accident on a bridge/road that I have driven many a time back in Ohio. I could picture exactly where the accident happened.

Sue was someone I knew in high school, but not super well. She was really, really nice. Sweet even. Our younger sisters were in the same grade and were very good friends. She was one of the very first people to friend me on Facebook. I enjoyed reading her status updates about her family--her husband and two kids. One of her last posts was last week and was about how she and her husband were taking the day off to go Christmas shopping and spend the day together. I gathered he worked a late shift type of job and they didn't always get to spend the time together that they wanted to.

So when I received an e-mail from another classmate and mutual Facebook friend that Sue had died, I had one of those jaw dropping moments.

And here's the weird thing. Other than class reunions and until Facebook, I've had no contact with Sue since 1986. But Facebook puts a whole new element to relationships, doesn't it? I'm not sorry. I'm glad I had these last two years to "get to know" Sue all over again through Facebook, to read about and be a part of her life, even if it was from afar.

I do think about the fact that if not for Facebook, when I heard this news, probably long after her passing, I would have been saddened, but not so affected as I have been. No way! I was just reading about her plans the other day, was my immediate reaction. I probably re-read that message 10 times before it started to sink in. No. Way.

And I'm also Facebook friends with Sue's sister. Her post about Sue's death, about wondering how she would learn to live without Sue, nearly broke my heart. Let alone thinking about Sue's kids, who were in the car with her and knew she had died upon impact. Can you imagine? It's impossible not to think about it...

So, I'm sad. I don't like it that I'm sad. But for as much fun as people make of Facebook, I'm so grateful that it brought me into a very special person's world again, even if it was just for a little while.


Kristie said...

Oh, Natalie, I'm so sorry for your loss.

Mountain Mama said...

Oh my, so sad. Glad you have been "in touch" with her for the last couple of years even though it hurts more.

Lauren said...

I'm very sorry about your loss, Natalie, though I thought you were going somewhere else with that. Three of my facebook "friends" have died this year--my friend's mom, a true friend and colleague, and my father-in-law. None of them left anyone their facebook information, so their pages still exist, and facebook does weird things like tell my husband "you haven't talked to Matt Ryan (his dad) in a long time; why not send him a message?" It's a strange phenomenon, but I;m glad you had time to reconnect with your fiend before this loss.--Lauren

1dreamr said...

I'm so sorry, Natalie. I do agree with you, though... very much so.

Leeann said...

How utterly tragic. I hate to hear of things like this happening.

Hugs to you and to your friend's family.

Lisa said...

Wow! What a sad post. I agree with you, though, Natalie. I love reconnecting with people that were a part of my life for a brief time or a long time ago through FB. I will keep your friends family especially her children in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

So very sorry for the loss of your friend.

Prayers and hugs,
Connie F-G