November 1, 2015

When a Facebook Friend Dies, the Loss Isn’t Virtual.

 Batuhan AĞMAZ/Flickr


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Dear Facebook Friend,

You and I never met. Well, not really—not “in person”—but we did meet on Facebook. You found me through an essay I wrote about the effect of a vegan diet on my health and asked me if you could put copies of my essay in your new client packets.

I remember you so well, because I was a budding new writer and a budding new vegan and you said that what I wrote was the single most convincing argument about the benefits of a plant-based diet that you could offer your new clients.

You blew me away.

You, a real health coach with a certification and a license and a practice and a blog and a website and all, wanted to use my story for your clients.

And then, well, then you kept blowing me away with your wonderfully lighthearted posts on health and wellness and spirituality that were simple and straightforward and easy to read. Not to mention your delicious recipes and different ways to use foodstuffs that were still entirely new to me.

I still make your Who-Woulda-Thought-You’d-Ever-Put-Spinach-In-a-Blueberry-Smoothie, and I still remember when my husband, expecting it to taste like yuck, commented on how good it was and asked where I got the recipe and I told him it was from you, “my Facebook friend.”


I remember how supportive you were when I told you I was sick and how it scared me to have toxic mold poisoning (never mind how it messed with my body, it was how it messed with my mind that was the worst). We messaged each other, and I told you about my fear and I wept while you gave me your understanding. You didn’t deny my experience; you validated me.

You did that.

And then, one day, I checked my feed again and realized there was nothing from you and thought maybe something had happened, and I went to your Page and saw that something had happened.

You weren’t there.

Instead of you, I saw comment after comment from people saying that they missed you and that they were sorry you were gone and that it all happened so fast and that it was so tragic and awful and they were sad, sad, sad.

And I—well, I was shocked, and I just wanted to write to you to tell you that I am sad, too.

You and I really didn’t “know” each other very long, but while we may have only met on Facebook, you made an impact on me. You validated not only my writing, but my struggles with my “weird” illness as well.

As far as I am concerned, you were present in my life.

I know you were. I felt you.

And I notice that you are gone. There was so much more I was looking forward to.

But there won’t be any going forward.

So, I am just writing this little post to tell how much your comments and your “thumbs ups” mattered to me and how much of a difference all of that from you meant to me.

I have no doubt that the friendship and kindness you showed me was just a teensy, tiny little blip of the friendship and kindness you showed everyone you knew—whether they were “real” friends or not. It strikes me that that’s just who you are. Who you were.

In the end, you know what I think?

I think that people can say all they want about social media. Facebook remains a part of it, a part that people like you and me use to connect, talk share and get to know each other. Throughout time, people have connected in whatever ways are available to them. Who knows, maybe Facebook is the Stone Tablets or the cave drawings or the smoke signals of today.

You know what else I think? I think that Facebook friendships like yours and mine don’t die.

They are stored in the Cloud.

That great, big, beautiful Cloud full of Facebook friends.


Relephant Read:

The Heartwarming Thing that Happened when I Bereaved my Friend on Facebook.


Author: Carmelene Siani

Editor: Toby Israel

Photo: Flickr/L. Whittaker // Batuhan AĞMAZ/Flickr


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