Watching a Friend Die on Facebook

Tara and I hadn’t spoken for 16 years but when she friended me on Facebook in 2009, clicking “accept” was a no brainer. I messaged her immediately.

Ms. Mitchell!

Do you ever age? Bitch.

p.s. Hi Tara!
p.p.s. You look lovely!

She responded…

I am timeless.

p.s. Hello Nicole!
p.p.s. Wish you were next door…

Tara was my next door neighbor in the dorms my freshman year of college. She liked Cat Stevens and the Violent Femmes. She smoked clove cigarettes out of her window and played the flute. She was 6 feet tall (or 5’12″ as she liked to put it) and was asked so frequently about her height that she posted it on her nametag at a waitressing job because she got tired of people asking.

Tara had taken me to my first “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and taught me when to throw the bread. She introduced me to my first pot dealer, though Tara never smoked weed. She once had driven me to hunt for Benadryl during an ice storm because I was allergic to her family’s cat. I had only good memories associated with Tara.

After accepting her friend request, I lost track of her, seeing pictures here and there on Facebook, noticing one of Tara in a hospital bed and assuming a torn ligament or minor surgery because of our age. Then one day I clicked on a photo and learned she wasn’t in for minor surgery. Tara was in for a brain tumor. From there I found a blog she’d been writing since her diagnosis in 2009 shortly after my mom passed away. She’d been fighting a life-threatening tumor for three years, and I hadn’t even noticed. I don’t even think Tara was in my News Feed.

If this had happened in another decade, Tara would have remained out of my social circle. And maybe years later I would have heard about her condition while reconnecting with an old college friend. But now I was personally connected through a few mouse clicks, watching this woman, now 34, go through chemotherapy, brain surgery, and physical therapy, wearing the brave smile that people facing their own mortalities sport so you won’t worry about them or their positive “gonna beat this” attitude.

I wrote Tara a snail mail letter (it seemed more personal) apologizing for not realizing what she was going through for so long, blaming Facebook but at the same time knowing it was the only thing that had enabled me to learn of her condition. Pictures of her with a cane digressed into photos of her strapped in a wheelchair, her left side paralyzed, a smile on her face, puffy from steroids.

As I watched her body deteriorate, I witnessed the misguided bright-sided Facebook wall posts from Tara’s friends who had never experienced cancer. Comments like, “Boy, I wish I could get out of going to work like you” and “Wow, rehab looks fun. Is it like the dorms?” I wrote Tara asking her how she handled all this asinine commentary. She understood the intent but admitted, yeah, she’d love to be well enough to go to work — and no, struggling to learn how to walk again was nothing like college.

I mailed her a “Fuck Cancer” hat similar to the one I’d purchased for my mother. She posted an Instagram photo of it with a “This gave me a laugh, thanks Nicole!” to her Facebook wall. During a late night Facebook IM session, Tara admitted that as an only child,  she was aching for alone time but couldn’t get it — her parents were her caregivers 24/7. She couldn’t go to the bathroom by herself because of her mobility issues and the only time her folks left her with a friend she had a life-threatening seizure that “really freaked everyone out.” Tara joked that she was now on lockdown and as an “HSP” (highly sensitive person) this change in lifestyle had been even more unnerving.

Her HSP reference reminded me that in college, Tara and I had bonded over the “Highly Sensitive Person,” a book by a therapist named Elaine Aron who knew my mother. I wrote Aron for advice about what Tara could do to achieve alone time. Elaine advised Tara to use silence to achieve solitude. Tara said she’d try it.

I sent Tara a mix of folk music that made me think of college. My music choices reflected what I thought her music taste would be now. I learned on Facebook that she had a fondness for Justin Timberlake. I lamented making her CD so unhip and Grateful Dead laden. She sent me a postcard with familiar handwriting that I remembered from notes she left on my door in the dorms. She asked me to visit.

I was afraid that seeing Tara in person would bring up all of my memories of watching my mother die, memories that after three years I had finally been able to relegate to the background of my thoughts. I learned that a short film I wrote and produced would be screening in Seattle four months into the future. I told Tara I would visit her for a weekend then but told her to warn me if her health rapidly declined I’d find a way to visit earlier, knowing full well that I couldn’t get days off my television production job. Though Tara must have known she probably wouldn’t be healthy enough to see me by then (she was on Hospice) she emailed me that she was excited about the visit and said we could have a dorm reunion.

I’d had drama with almost all of the girls from my freshman dorm and the thought of seeing them made me feel nauseous. One had sent me an email that started, “Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you…” when I didn’t make time to visit her in L.A. 10 years ago. Another had been my roommate who went back and forth between our apartment and her boyfriend’s leaving messes in both locations then trading them out before cleaning either up. Another was a straight girl I had slept with Spring Trimester who broke my heart.

Worrying about myself in awkward social situations while Tara was dying made me feel selfish and petty. I went for a hike with my friend Cheryl and told her about the situation, that Tara wanted me to visit, that I had reservations about seeing her so ill, from seeing people from my past and revisiting the Pacific Northwest for the first time since college — a place I’d intentionally never returned to because college was such a hard time for me. But I had to somehow overlook these bad associations, I told her. Who was I to deny a dying friend’s wish? Cheryl asked, “Would you even have reconnected with this person if it hadn’t been for Facebook?” I admitted I probably wouldn’t have. Tara hadn’t been a close friend through most of college. We lost touch after our softmore year and before that we’d been mostly acquaintances. I had completely lost track of Tara after graduation and only lamented that fact after I realized she was sick.

Part of why we’d never been closer was that Tara was an extrovert who loved hanging out in groups, while I was more of a one-on-one person. Small talk with people tossing cigarette butts in rain-filled glasses was the only way I ever was around Tara, and even then I always felt like I never saw enough of her. “Not to discount your relationship to this person,” Cheryl said, “but there are probably a lot more people who are much closer to Tara vying for her attention right now.” Cheryl was right. I was seeing myself as the center of Tara’s universe, overrating my importance in her life like people are bound to do when someone they know is dying. I had watched this happen with my mother as acquaintance after acquaintance showed up at our door, preventing her from getting much needed rest. I knew the visits were more about their guilt, their feelings of helplessness than about them giving my mother what she needed.

I was going to visit Tara and yet in all of this time we hadn’t even talked on the phone. I emailed her to see if I could get her phone number but she didn’t respond. In our last correspondence, I suggested we Skype so we could see each other. In an email laden with spelling and typos so severe I could barely decipher it, Tara said it was a great idea but had no idea how to set it up. It was clear from her writing that she had gotten much sicker. Then she grew silent. I sent a few emails saying I hoped she was getting the alone time she needed and that she was in my thoughts, but received no response. Her Facebook account had gone silent as well. People posted photo after photo of Tara when she was healthy at parties, dinners, outdoor fairs. I didn’t have any photos of Tara to share.

I felt helpless and guilty, like I should have done more, like I should have gotten over my differences with those girls from the dorm and reconnected with them. If I had, I would have been able to stay connected to Tara in some human way off-line.

Then out of the blue I got an email from one of them — the girl who had broken my heart. She said she realized that Tara and I had reconnected in recent months and wanted to let me know Tara was now bed-ridden and losing her vision from the tumor. She could no longer swallow. It wouldn’t be long now. She said she was going to visit her that weekend and said she’d give Tara my love.

I was so grateful. A few days later, I heard back from my friend that she’d given Tara my sentiments and that Tara had said, “Tell Nicole I love her. She’s coming here soon, you know.” She had never received my email saying I had canceled my trip to Portland because I couldn’t get the days off work. I was relieved that disappointment wouldn’t be my last gift to Tara. The panic that had overtaken me while waiting for news had abated. I had gotten some form of a goodbye, some form of closure.

The girl who broke my heart promised to email me when Tara died, but she didn’t. I learned about Tara’s death on Facebook from a Community Page that had been created to keep people in the loop about Tara’s condition.

For weeks after her death, Tara was still listed as online on Facebook, the symbol of her mobile phone next to her photo and name in my IM contacts. I visited her page frequently to see her friends’ comments about how much they missed her, about the little things that made them think of her. I had nothing to contribute, no memories to recount, because Tara hadn’t existed in real-time for me since 1995 when we both were 18 and considered our foreign language requirements and the Japanese exchange student’s cardboard box of hard liquor going dry “real problems.”

Last week, the icon of Tara’s cell phone disappeared from my online contacts. The relief of no longer seeing her name evaporates each time she shows up in my list of Facebook friends or when Facebook recommends pages she liked before she died. Whether she wants to or not, Tara no longer has a say as to whether she will exist on Facebook. Those disturbing photos of her when she was sick could be online for the next 30 years. Whether her continued online presence haunts us or comforts us, Facebook is indifferent. The social network has always functioned as a double-edged sword, bringing us closer together while accenting how far apart we really are. To the Facebook logorithm, Tara and I are just as close as she is to her other friends and she’s just as alive as when I accepted her friend request four years ago. The only difference now is she’s in my News Feed.

About Nicole Kristal

I grieve. I write. I survive.
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228 Responses to Watching a Friend Die on Facebook

  1. Theresa says:

    Beautifully written. I’m sorry for your loss.

  2. Huffygirl says:

    How sad, but wonderfully wrought.

  3. hedgesjl says:

    I’ve now grieved 2 friends passing via Facebook. The first was my graduate advisor, dying across years from breast cancer. The second was my friend; we moved away from each other physically and emotionally, then found out via Facebook that he’d committed suicide after struggling silently from depression for a very long time. The social media factor is an interesting one. In my experience, it has given us a way to grieve publicly in a tangible way that is otherwise lacking in our society. Thanks for writing this.

    • “The social media factor is an interesting one. In my experience, it has given us a way to grieve publicly in a tangible way that is otherwise lacking in our society.”
      I so agree.

  4. I’m addicted to it too, it brings me so close to my friends and family left behind as I moved across the US, yet it aches each time I say I can’t come visit. Losing someone is always hard, from a distance it is a lonely business, yet seeing their smile in a silly picture or from a hospital bed, renews the bond…keeps them a bit closer.

  5. Lisa Shaw says:

    Ah, wow, that’s a hard story, but well told. Thanks for sharing it.

    Facebook has fundamentally altered every kind of relationship and communication we have nowadays. Not sure whether it’s a good thing or not.

  6. Shelley says:

    Thank you for sharing this story so beautifully and honestly. I learned of a casual friend’s sudden death on Facebook while traveling, and it creates feelings that are difficult to interpret. It’s definitely a new world we’re living in and creating.

  7. Thank you for writing this. I have had many mixed feelings about the “sharing” of death and grief in places like FB. But as several people have commented, social media has changed how we communicate. While FB can allow for broader connections, I think there is a limit on depth….yet, when my husband died, I did something I never thought I’d do. I shared the news on FB. It was the best way to let a lot of people in different places know, and at the time, a broader level of communication was all I could handle.

    • I agree — there is a limit on depth of interaction but it can be useful. I found when my mother died, we still had to send out mass emails because so few of her friends were on Facebook.

  8. This was amazing to read. Thank you for sharing with us

  9. Thanks for sharing this story. I reconnected to an old school friend on facebook, just to witness her die very suddenly. We were not close and hadn’t been in touch for over 10 years. We didn’t even get the chance to exchange school memories. A Shelley said above, it’s a new dimension that we are living in with facebook, hard to interpret…

  10. merbear264 says:

    Your post sent shivers down my spine. I lost someone I wasn’t very close with and I see his face constantly asking to add him as a close friend. My breathe catches each time.

  11. My husband found out this week that his childhood youth group leader passed away of breast cancer. Though we had remained close to the family, we had not known she was sick as she was diagnosed after the Army had moved us from their area. It was a shock to my husband that she was sick, even worse that she had passed away, and being in Afghanistan, he will never get the chance to say good bye to the woman who made such a difference to him or give comfort to her husband during this difficult time. My father-in-law’s FB page is till up though he passed nearly three years ago.

    Sometimes, I think social media was the end of being social.

    • septicalvar says:

      I agree, social media has killed being social. Ppl who’d otherwise call and talk on phone at the least, have now retreated behind computer screens and most social engagements are decided on click of buttons. However when you meet them in person they seem to be so different from their social media image most of the time for better or for worse.

      • Jayme says:

        I agree. I specifically remember when FB first became a “thing”. I created an account as a college junior in December of 2004. I left Facebook in June 2012. Seven and a half years… and I seriously have not had one urge to go back on it. If people want to use FB, I say go for it. It can be a great tool. For me, I feel better without it. I feel free. Now when I snap a photo of a beautiful vista, I know that photo is for me, and not to show that I am doing something cool, or to illustrate my personality or interests, etc. I don’t think I was ever intentionally trying to do that before, but perhaps I felt that line was starting to blur.

        However, I do feel that I have to be a part of this modern way of socializing in order to keep up with the trends of culture and be a part of our society because it has become the norm. As a twenty-something whose career is very much linked to the use of technology, sometimes I feel I will perhaps limit myself if I do not engage in the most streamlined form of social interaction we call “social media”.

        Technology is definitely changing the culture of communication, be it FB, text, email, tweets, blogs, whatever. And change in the culture of communication will no doubt change the culture of people. I think all of us products of society should make a sincere effort to maintain some sort of balance between the old and the new, even if it’s just putting away the cell phone for an entire meal with a friend or actually calling to ask someone out on a date rather than hide behind a text message.

    • Redterrain says:

      “Sometimes, I think social media was the end of being social”

      I couldn’t agree more.

  12. Grumpa Joe says:

    Losing an acquaintance no matter how close, or remote, you were is difficult. Your story is beautiful, and shows your concern for a long lost friend. Grief is never easy, but time will heal.
    I often wonder how my blog will endure after my demise. Will it be taken down after I no longer pay for the extra’s, will my kids know to take it down? What will it matter to me what happens to it? You have given me a glimpse of the future. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Java Girl says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. My mom has stage 4 of cancer and she does status posts now and then on her Facebook. FB has a haunting way of constantly reminding you of those you miss and love that have passed away. I’ve never had someone on my FB page who has passed away.

  14. pickledwings says:

    Social media is a very strange thing at times. I cancelled my Facebook account earlier today, but I gave everyone a month’s notice before I did it. The response I got was interesting to say the least.

    Several people were very supportive of my decision, some asked why but didn’t say whether they supported my idea or not. The most telling thing was the lack of response; I posted on my wall for all to see that I was leaving and that they could find me at another social media website I was moving to or they could use FB’s private messaging function to provide me with a working email for them and I’d be happy to stay in touch with them that way. Less than half of the people on my list of friends, less than 100 in total, responded in any way to that.

    Some of those people were old friends that I had found through Facebook, but after the initial excitement of reuniting, we really didn’t say much to each other.

    I left Facebook for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was that my friendships had come down to “Like” or some cutesy emoticon rather than any kind of meaningful communication.

    • Katia says:

      I am still on Facebook as it is a way for me to stay in touch with friends in other countries, but I couldn’t agree more. I always say that Facebook is just another way to not stay in touch.

    • I left FB about 5 months ago and I thought I’d miss it but I don’t. In doing so, I added, at the very least, 8 or 9 hours a week to my life … minutes and hours that pass by that I can never get back. This is my life … I ask myself all the time, “how am I going to spend my life?” One answer is for sure, not on FB.

    • “Less than half of the people on my list of friends, less than 100 in total, responded in any way to that.” Very telling.

      • pickledwings says:

        Yes, I think it’s proof of what some claim that “Friend” is a word that we throw around so easily these days that we’ve forgotten what it really should mean. It also reinforces the point of view that its better to have a small circle of close friends than a big circle of loose associations.

  15. Wow, that is deep. Sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing :)

  16. This is beautiful. And exactly why i deactivated my FB account and have decided not to reactivate it. I hate how i used talk to my friends only on facebook and never got to meet them in person. Sorry for your loss.

  17. vidablogg says:

    I am speechless….I am touched….

  18. Mrs. P says:

    What a gripping story! I found out via Facebook that someone I had been very close to (but lately out of contact with) had died, suddenly. Yes, it was a blow and it hurt to lose that connection. But, I had in fact lost touch and even though the connection was very tight at one time we hadn’t spoken in years. Am I glad that I at least heard the news? Yes. I am certain that I would not have known, had it not been for Facebook.

  19. artsifrtsy says:

    A very touching read. I know that when my father died Facebook was the unintentional conduit for the news. It was both unnerving and touching. His account is still out there. Sometimes there are even new posts from some who still don’t know he’s gone. It’s been 2 years. Thanks for posting this – I think there is something about the impact of the connections we make through social media that is hard to define.

  20. sparklypie says:

    Amazing.

  21. psychosiswar says:

    I just want to give you a hug right now.

  22. Cal Garcia says:

    That. Fucking. Sucks. I for some reason never have any emotions with death, just neutral. But this what you just wrote got through to me.

  23. That was beautifully written and I’m sure she appreciates the time she had you in her life, in whatever form it was. Every moment is important. I’m sorry for your loss.

  24. edgeledge says:

    People touch our lives throughout our journey, their passing is sad no matter how close we are or were, it reminds us of our mortality and of the things we didn’t do, or the friendships that have come and gone. Lovely written piece, thank you for sharing.

  25. What a beautifully human story. Thank you for sharing this.

  26. Very touching… Sorry for your loss.

  27. nyleigrev says:

    Must be hard on your side. Sorry to hear it. :( Beautifully written. Thank you for posting this.

  28. A very fine piece of writing, so clearly written from the heart, about so many issues. Bravo.

  29. I couldn’t help but laugh, this was fun – I love creative things like this, thanks :)

  30. Say Gudday says:

    This was a tough but good read for me. I’m useless at keeping in contact with people, even those closest to me and in the last 4 years I lost 2 friends to cancer and never got to say goodbye because, like you, I didn’t know they were sick and never bothered to return their calls.

  31. mrs fringe says:

    Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.

  32. monica923 says:

    For so many reasons this brought a cramp to my heart. Wonderfully written.

  33. Sarah says:

    So sad, but beautifully written. Thanks for sharing. It was one of those times when it felt slightly wrong to ‘like’ the post.

  34. Little over a month ago, we found out about our oldest friend from college was killed riding his bike home from work. We found out at 930pm via another dear college friend that Jason was buried earlier that day. We had not seen him in over ten years. Had no idea that he was soon to be married. I used to think that I was way cooler about death than I really am. Thank you for sharing your experience. Take care, Anna

  35. Wow what a journey you are on, thank you sharing you and Tara’s story.

  36. Wow, it must have been a really hard experience!

  37. David says:

    My like is for you having the courage to share such a personal story. You shared it beautifully.

  38. amandasue916 says:

    Very sad story.
    “Cheryl asked, “Would you even have reconnected with this person if it hadn’t been for Facebook?” I admitted I probably wouldn’t have. Tara hadn’t been a close friend through most of college. We lost touch after our sophomore year and before that we’d been mostly acquaintances. I had completely lost track of Tara after graduation and only lamented that fact after I realized she was sick.”

    I think sometimes we keep ourselves on the proverbial hook because we think we should have done more when we find out someone is sick and near death. I agree with people above in that it helps others to grieve and talk about that grief in a public light on facebook but it still takes some getting used to. It is hard to decide how much you should feel when it is someone you haven’t seen or had contact with in years or decades.

    When my grandfather pasted away I was in India volunteering at an orphanage and had no way to say good bye or even make it back for the funeral. Facebook had really just started to take off at that time but I got a lot of flack from my family because I didn’t write more about his death or try to fly back when financially it was impossible… Our family had been torn apart by my parents divorce and my dad’s abuse of my mom that had gone on for 31 years.. it being my dad’s father who past it was a very emotional time for me and being so far away made it even harder!

  39. Wow. Chills… Your grief and regret are tangible things. I’m sorry for your loss.

  40. lucybarbazonthefirst says:

    I never thought of Facebook like that, I’m very sorry.

  41. segmation says:

    Amazing story about Facebook. This had to be a hard situation to write about, right?

  42. narcissista1 says:

    Thank you for sharing. I to just a lost a friend suddenly to leukemia, but had an opposite reaction to the who FB thing. Before he was sick, he and his wife were very active on FB, sharing every nuance of their life, and we were friends off line as well. Me on the other hand, I overfriended early on and was sick of what I thought was a lot of constant prattle in my newsfeed and simply didn’t feel like sharing anymore. But when my friend got sick, and then died I found myself enjoying seeing his last few happy years on earth forever memorialized on FB. So, I started sharing again.

    Becca

  43. Im so sorry about your loss, but on a happier note your a beautiful writer. (:

  44. You are so right about FB being a double-edged sword. Still seeing “posts” that are apparently automatic in some applications for my deceased friends is …strange. Worse is going to their pages and seeing some person who obviously doesn’t even “see” them much on FB wish my deceased relative Happy Birthday, oblivious to the fact that they will never celebrate another birthday is irritating to me. And I never even thought of the point you brought up, about how friends will continue to have a FB presence after death whether they want to or not. You given me stuff to mull over. I’m sorry for your loss. One thing I can say is, even though you weren’t that close to her in college, that doesn’t mean her death wouldn’t be hard or effect you on a deep level for other reasons. My first experience with death like that was in high school when a boy who sometimes rode my bus was hit by a car. It was not that I was close to him, but the fact of his being there one day and gone the next. There are many reasons a person’s death might be profound for us. But it sounds like even though you didn’t feel close to her, she was thinking of you and you brought her some joy near the end of her life.

  45. I feel compelled to comment after reading your story… I am awake and reading, a true insomniac; it brought me to tears, I rarely emote anymore. Strangely, my fingers are usually racing with words flying out of them, yet, now, I do not know what to say.

    I had a friend, once; we are estranged… I do not look for her, and I am guessing she does not look for me. I am sorry for your loss; but, I am guessing she appreciated your friendship in ways you may never know. And, surely you have grown from your experiences with her, however, distant.

    Thank you for sharing so openly here… for exposing this piece of yourself.

    Always,
    Me

  46. Sue Ghosh says:

    I just cried reading this. Your post is so brutally honest. I’m often haunted by facebook profiles and pictures of those who are dead and have thought along these lines. Just as life is strange, so is social networking/Facebook in many ways.

  47. Wow, amazing story. I was appalled at the comments posted on her Facebook wall. Some people just cannot understand.

  48. Sony Fugaban says:

    I’m an active user of Facebook but I don’t buy the idea of announcing or posting somebody else’s (for lack of a bettern term) bad condition, specifically a dying person.

    On the other hand, it’s undeniable that there are also good things that may come out like how you got to Tara’s circle again after sometime and the rest of that part not to mention the unnerving and inspiring story that you have out of it.

    However it may be, we are fortunate to have read the story and the good thing that came from the story–which, indeed, outweighed the opposite.

  49. Reblogged this on newauthoronline and commented:
    A very moving post which makes one pause for thought during our busy lives.

  50. abichica says:

    This is heartbreaking to read, because i go through the same thing daily. One year ago i lost a very close friend of mine, we were in college together, and she went to do her internship in another country and had a car accident and passed, needless to say i still havent gotten over her passing a year later and i havent been able to delete her as my friend off facebook because for whatever reason her family has kept her facebook profile alive and every time i see her on my friendlist i just break down again,my other friends have told me to delete from my friend list but i just cant seem to get myself to do it, i feel as though deleting her would really cement the fact that she is truly and forever gone and i will never again have her.

  51. foreignbornspouse says:

    Thanks for sure this.

  52. AC Lundin says:

    I think that it is important to remember the difference between being social online and in real life. It is easy to blame Facebook, Twitter and plenty of other online media for the isolation of the people today, however we do have a responsibility ourselves to use it with moderation.

    I am a frequent user of both Facebook, Twitter and my blogs (yes there is more than one), I am using them for an outlet and as a push to become more active in “the real world”. My blog have helped me discover new things, as a feel that I have to do things so that I have something to write about.

    The most important lesson that I learned a few years ago, when my friend killed herself and saw how long it took for her family to close the account, was to leave a list of your accounts and passwords to someone you trust. If something would happen to me tomorrow I know my family would have so many things that they have to deal with, that a struggle to close my Facebook should be the last thing.

    Thank you for this post, it is beautifully written with understanding and sense.

  53. Beautiful representation of how distance can affect a relationship, especially one doomed to end in such a way. Thank you for sharing!

  54. A few years ago, a friend who had been very good to me suddenly and unexpectedly died, just after Christmas. I cried a lot. I was sad that after us being so close, I had allowed us to drift apart, content with the fact that we were only just 19, we had more than enough time to learn about each other again. His facebook account is still active. Although it never says he is online, we all post on it from time to time when we miss him or just have come across something we know he would find funny. I still miss him terribly although I am ashamed to say that I don’t think of him every day anymore like I did in the beginning. We weren’t a part of each others lives when he died. The phrase that his friends have come to place with him is ‘Forever Young’ because he will be. He will always be a part of our lives, the part where all we did was have fun and enjoy each others company. He was one of the kindest people I ever met and was there for anyone and everyone, including me. I wonder what I ever offered him and hope that his memories of me are as fond as my memories of him. Thank you for writing. Although your piece made me cry, it’s honesty is refreshing. I certainly couldn’t have written about Nathan when he died and how guilty I felt that we were no longer close. With an anniversary coming up though, I may do now. Thank you for giving me the strength that I wasn’t able to find myself.

  55. rachsharp says:

    Beautifully written. I had a friend who used facebook to announce the death of her fiance on the day he died. I found it difficult to digest. Facebook feels so impersonal. I loathe social media for this reason even though I use it myself. I think you captured perfectly how facebook can bring us closer together but accentuate just how far apart we are. My brother passed away a year ago and I was responsible for organising the closure of his FB page. I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it yet because so many people still talk to him daily to tell him how much they miss him and need him. Thank you for sharing your experience. Your honesty is inspiring!

    • I’m sorry to hear about your brother. And you make some salient points. I think what Facebook eliminates is the telling of news at appropriate times. Like announcing a death to people individually when you know they’re not at work or somewhere that they’ll have to hide their feelings about the news.

      • rachsharp says:

        Thank you. I am only new to blogging myself and I plan to write about the death of my brother. I applaud your courage in writing about death. I would be grateful for your feedback on my blog if you have the time. I’m not as well written or articulate as you but I hope to be with practice. Thank you for sharing.

  56. A beautifully written piece

  57. Pingback: Every moment is important | polysyllabic profundities

  58. Wow, thanks for sharing. Shows how facebook can be a good thing sometimes.

  59. Thanks for being so honest about your mixed emotions.

    The issue of discussing death on Facebook is very odd. It does seem to have (sadly) begun to substitute for true community and if people can’t or won’t (not you, I mean in general) show up physically, then, when *will* they? We lost a talented and well-loved young friend this year and because our “tribe” (he was a young journalist) is large and international, it felt OK to mourn him and celebrate him from a distance, as some of us were much older and not as close, but still knew what a terrible loss he was to his world.

    People are terrified of the dying and often flee. It is then that the most brave and loving do show up, no matter how frightening it is. Sometimes it’s people you’d least expect.

  60. Aww this is funny. I like stuffs like this. :) cheers!

  61. Katia says:

    I responded to one of the comments posted here, discussing closing up their Facebook account that I view Facebook as just another way to not stay in touch. It’s encouraging that some friendships, like yours with Tara, are not reduced to ‘likes’ posted next to hospital pics. It’s encouraging that friendship in its old form still exists and the honesty with which you deliver your story is so refreshing. December marks two years since I’ve learned about a friend’s death through Facebook and I was going to write about it. Your insights were thought provoking and I am glad I read this post before writing my own.

  62. Thank you for sharing your story. The meaningful relationship you had with your friend, from your past times together to your more recent connection via FB, can never be diminished or taken from you. She will always be in your heart. Take good care.

  63. xiaohui says:

    It is beautifully written. Thank you for the compelling and honest story you’ve shared.

  64. jenjen0703 says:

    One of my best friends moved to Tennessee a few years back, after we had a big fight. I tried to find him or locate a phone number, but no one knew how to get ahold of him. The next thing I heard ,he had been in a fight and beaten to death. Had it not been for Facebook, I would have never known as quickly as I did. I have learned of a few friends dying because of Facebook. Had it not been for Facebook, I would still be in the dark about some of them. Thanks for writing this post.

  65. dania.nawaz says:

    Heartbreakingly beautiful. My condolences to your loss…This was a wonderful tribute for her.

    I too lost one of my bestfriends at a very young and tender age, you can read about that here:

    http://sweetvioletskies.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/in-the-end-living-is-defined-by-dying/

  66. Wow. You’ve written this beautifully. I’m sorry for your loss.

  67. Sajeevs blog says:

    True friends can inspire you and change the meaning of your life!

  68. Thank you for sharing this story. It’s heartbreaking and rather personal to share, so thank you for doing that. I am sorry for your loss.

  69. Thank you for sharing this experience. My sister recently lost her husband of 30 years… and I lost a brother, not just a bro-in-law… he had been my brother for 30 years. My husband has been keeping up with an old high school friend for several months. He was very ill and passed away a few days ago. There is still a Facebook page for my brother and all his “status updates” are still there to read as if he were still sitting at the keyboard… but he’s gone. I even see other friends and family post on his timeline and send him a message to say, “I miss you”… I’m not sure how I feel about that. Other friends and family have passed away and also still have a presence on Facebook. Like I said, I’m not sure how to feel about it. In some ways it’s a comfort and in other ways it seems morbid. I’m very sorry for your loss but I’m glad that you had the opportunity to re-connect with your friend. Thanks again for sharing.

  70. Yeahthtsme says:

    This is sad yet beautiful..thanks for this one.

  71. Social Media is a part of today’s life now. Like it or not. It is what you make of it, if stupid things people post bother you, move on, if you have something of worth to share, share it. I don’t define who I am by how many Facebook friends/family I have. I’m a good person either way. There is a big large family unit that I have never met in another country, only found two years ago. Were it not for Facebook it would have been much more difficult to stay in regular contact with them. There are people on my friends list that I used to be close to or see daily, Facebook allows me to stay in touch and keep up with what they choose to share in posts. And vice versa.

    With all of that said, I am sorry for the loss of your distant friend Tara. It seems to me she kept you much closer than most of her other “older” friends. Her last message ” Tell Nicole I love her ” is telling and to me chilling. A lesson learned.

  72. I have to be honest, I am a writer. I have 100,000 views on my page this month. I get accolades for my writing style. And, through blogging I’ve grown that style. I can understand based on my emotions how my writing will read to others, and I’m learning when are appropriate times for me to write in order to captivate others.

    As one who reads, who mostly skims, you are a writer who can get me to focus on your story and abandon my own. One good line, and i have a brilliant idea to write down of my own but your writing made me read.

    It was powerful, honest, funny and unapologetic, all the things that allow people space to internally investigate their own heart.

    Thank you for this reminder.

    - Ressurrection Graves

  73. Thanks for the perspective

  74. MediaTantrik says:

    Beautiful writing, and touchingly sad. Thank you for sharing. I am sorry for your loss.

  75. What an honest recollection of what it really means to lose acquaintances. Very inspiring, and relatable. Awesome :]

  76. Fantastic read! I have recently lost a friend suddenly, the first person I have ever lost actually, and am finding the phenomenon of social media grief, both good and bad parts of it, rather interesting. On one hand, for the first week after he died, all I could do was visit his page every 5 minutes because in my grief addled mind, it couldn’t have been true. But since a month has passed, now I find solace in his facebook page, knowing I can visit him, and go back to the time when he was still alive and well. Thank you for your insights into this :)

  77. Amanda says:

    Thanks for sharing. This is so sad and regardless of how much time passed, I’m sure you will forever have a place in her heart, as she will in yours. Sorry for your loss.

  78. goldfish says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I, too, had to watch a friend, my oldest, die over Facebook and was powerless to do anything about it. My friend went in for a simple office procedure and died in just over a week. This was over a year ago and she’s still my Facebook friend. I guess her fiance couldn’t bear to take her down.

  79. tomfooolery says:

    beautifully told. It brings up a lot of issues about our debt to people as friends in times of need and how much we need to give to them even if we find it hard due to location/commitments. Thanks for sharing

  80. nigelcoleman says:

    Reblogged this on Everything Everyone Everywhere! and commented:
    I found thus moving. In a way I connected with it because of the sentiments about “social sites being like a double edged sword- bringing us together whilst showing just how further apart we actually are”. It made perfect sense to me. I have always been very touchy about who I call friends. I’m always very blunt on differentiating friends & acquaintances.

  81. midnitechef says:

    Thank you for your thoughts on this. I also lost someone who haunts me on Facebook, my father’s cousin. Hugs

  82. beautifully written………..a vivid and painful piece, written with crushing honesty. Glad I found it. All the best xxxx

  83. Nens_i says:

    Thanks for sharing this!

  84. Emkkay6789 says:

    Reblogged this on Mek_So_Luminous and commented:
    This is so touching. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

  85. A Table in the Sun says:

    The only reason I joined Facebook in the first place was to follow the comings and goings of my dear friend with brain tumors. Our group of fellow horseback riders purchased a notebook for him so that he could take it to San Francisco when undergoing laser therapy, or to radiation treatments near his hometown, or at home in bed…….but we were always in contact. He is missed sorely, but now for the first time, his widow has taken up Facebook. Grieving, yes. But still reaching out.

  86. Thanks for sharing. Stumbled on your post, all the way from Sweden. Very interesting to read and thinner about on so many levels. /all the best Jessica

  87. Franco says:

    What a poignant story. All the best.

  88. Samantha says:

    This was beautifully written, and I am so sorry to hear about Tara’s death.

    I had a friend who died in a motorcycle accident in 2006, he was only 19. At the time, Facebook wasn’t really a thing yet, mostly Myspace was, but his Myspace was still there for a long time. We’d usually post things sort of as a memorial, like visiting a gravesite, because none of us really had the chance to have true closure. He wasn’t a super super close friend of mine, but it was still chilling, shocking, and I spent a few days crying constantly for him, for the loss of life so young, and so many other things. However, I think that something like Facebook is a double-edged sword like you said, but I think it can be about perspective, if it is viewed positively that people are sharing their memories, it can be a powerful help to bring people together and grieve and communicate in meaningful ways.

  89. Beautifully written and really speaks to me. Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart.

  90. Wow, that left me teary eyed. Thank you for sharing. I had a similar experience with a friend brutally murdered and seeing the condolences and other messages come through newsfeed and his profile posts was too much to bear. I am sorry for your loss.

  91. genkiduck says:

    It sounds like you developed a closer relationship with your friend in her declining days via facebook than a lot of people may have in “real life.” Facebook is a tool, and while it is a medium that tends to emphasize quantity over quality, in many cases it’s what you make it.

    I agree about a person’s existence on facebook after their passing being strange though. After my Grandma died, many of my family members changed their profile pictures to her photo. It was a little uncomfortable seeing a steady stream of my Grandma (often posting about things completely unrelated to her) on my wall. Different people have different methods of coping, I suppose.

  92. Touching and beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  93. jlsalinger says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am going through this same situation now. My high school crush. He has ALS and is rapidly declining. He tries to be positive and upbeat in his posts which makes it even harder that someone with such a strong desire for life only has such a short time left to live.

  94. This is very beautiful, and very sad. Thank you for sharing something so personal.

  95. HackCandid says:

    This was an amazing read and so wonderfully written.
    I’d like to share my experiences, which are comparable to yours in a way, but I don’t want to detract from your beautiful sentiments about Tara and the pros and cons of sites such as Facebook. Also, it’s 1.30am here in the UK and I’m too exhausted to type coherently! I’ll have a think tomorrow and decide whether or not my comment will mar your post in any way.
    I’m so sorry for your loss and I hope you’re getting sufficient time to grieve (it sounds like you have a very demanding job!) – it doesn’t matter how close you were.
    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful thoughts x

  96. April R says:

    This is heartbreaking, but beautifully written. I’m sorry for your loss; it’s never easy.

  97. merzybean says:

    What a hauntingly beautiful read. Every word kept my attention and pulled at my heart strings. Your words resonate, as FB truly does have an eerie way of keeping someone alive even when they have passed away.

    Your post was very brave and relevant. Beautifully said. I am now following your blog as you have me captivated.

    Kudos.

  98. energyangel says:

    Thank you for sharing your loss with us. Tara would be so proud!

  99. Hardik Gohil says:

    The social network has always functioned as a double-edged sword, bringing us closer together while accenting how far apart we really are. So true.

  100. Pingback: Social Media Story: “Watching a Friend Die on Facebook” | Pers J RP

  101. mboke says:

    I knew my sister passed away through facebook. No one told me. They (my family) said she was fine but actually she was dying until I read her FB’s wall and everyone expressed their concolence. Her FB still there and I sometimes wrote on her wall, telling stories that she missed, It is useless, I know but it’s for me than for her. Your story brings back memories

  102. iampriyam says:

    Nice post, really!

  103. mboke says:

    Reblogged this on Orang Kampung and commented:
    This story remind me to my sister. I keep her facebook and one in a while I wrote on her wall. I am still crying for here and this story successfully make me cry (again)

  104. Jae says:

    I had the same experience in 2003–2004, only it was on Friendster. We lost touch when I moved to another school in high school, then reconnected again with her on Friendster. We went out in October 2003 with her father, then as if she saw it coming, she passed away a few months later in February 2004. I did visit her Friendster profile page every now and then until such time that I had to completely deactivate my account.

  105. Wow! What a heartbreaking and emotional story. I’ve never experienced this so close as you and I hope I will never have to, but I think I understand your feeling. R.I.P. Tara and thank you for sharing.

  106. Joe Owens says:

    I am sorry for your loss. IT is good that you were able to reconnect and offer her some words of encouragement, being you had a relationship in college. Grieving is a lonely act that just simply takes time to get better.

  107. Love this post. What a brave article.

    You might can help , visit: http://alfredo239047.wordpress.com/

  108. mollyhwang says:

    This was sad :( sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing.

  109. Social Media is a double edged sword that both wounds and heals

  110. Olori says:

    *Wipes a tear* So sorry for your loss.
    Ps: I like your writing
    http://sayolori.wordpress.com

  111. sailboatsonroughseas says:

    I have liked this post, but I don’t feel that’s exactly what i’d call it.
    Beautifully written and very relevant in respect of social media and “friends”
    well done for having the courage to write this.

  112. hcfbutton says:

    I really related to your story for a number of reasons. My friend and extreme extrovert died 2.5 years ago of a brain tumour. She wasn’t on facebook, but her name and email still haunts the LinkedIn profiles whenever there’s a suggested connection for me. Even though we were friends in the internet age, we actually did write each other letters.

    She was a very good friend but she lost her memory at the end. So when I’d email her, she’d forget to email me back. But she was fortunate enough that she retained her personality right to the end, which many can’t say.

    We were fairly close, but I couldn’t attend her funeral when she passed, which surprised many of our mutual friends. I’m kind of glad I couldn’t though, because I would have struggled with being a mess at her funeral and being around all the people who knew her. I prefer to grieve in solitude. And I knew others were closer to her, and should have the quiet moments with her at the end.

    I am grateful for every moment I spent with her. And I’m grateful for your post, which put into words many things I’ve felt in the last 4 years, since her diagnosis and her death. Thanks for being brave enough to share.

  113. lenorahoward says:

    A great article and wonderfully written. It spoke to me personally as I am going through the same kind of situation, except that I didn’t get a chance to talk to her before she died. I wrote a post a week or so but was talking about how seeing someone with a bright future passing in a car accident was motivation for me to get up and go about my life. I too see her on my newsfeed when it’s her birthday. Sometimes I check her page to see what other people say. I’m part of a group to remember her, and I often check on her mother to make sure that she got custody of the children she left behind.
    I sometimes wish they would take down her facebook page. I wasn’t that close to her, but seeing her face occasionally is eerie to me.

  114. thorsaurus says:

    Devastating. You write with great courage.

    So much of what we tell each other is non-verbal. I don’t do Facebook, but I imagine this to be the element that eludes that forum.

    (Tear runs down nose and splashes on keyboard.)

    Well done.

  115. Rick Cleveland says:

    This is a beautiful and heartbreaking piece!

  116. Brianna Brickweg says:

    This post gave me a new perspective about grief and Facebook. My best friend was killed in a murder-suicide by her ex-boyfriend, and before he did this he deleted both of their Facebook accounts. All I see are holes – places where I know she commented because I can see her response, her name black in a status in which she had been tagged. That grief that comes from seeing their name and knowing they aren’t there wasn’t something that had crossed my mind. That’s the funny thing about grief. The things we are angry we don’t have can be the same things others agonize over having. Thank you for sharing this.

  117. What an interesting perspective. Thank you for your honesty.

  118. Sorry for your loss and well done for posting with such eloquency. All I could manage was this http://andnowthatithinkaboutit.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/r-i-p/

    My kindest regards to you

  119. 1196kay says:

    Such a moving story, thank god for facebooko <3 I hope you are doing good, that must have been a hard thing to go through.

  120. I am sorry for your loss. I cannot presume, but I think that whilst facebook is indeed double edged, it is good and worthwhile that it led you and your friend back together, if only for a little while.

  121. Bliss says:

    What beautiful things can come of sorrow if we let it teach us. Thanks for this.

  122. Pingback: Re-Blogged from grieftastic | thisoldtoad

  123. shedevil81 says:

    I’d like to say I was moved by this account of a life situation, and also even thou I agree with the for and against of social media relevance still, but thankfully for facebook you accepted that friend request and took an interest when your friend probably needed people the most and not only did you reach out to her but you did it by personalising a letter. Don’t feel sad that you never paided all that attention in the quiet years but be gratefully what you had together and that near her end your angel remembered you. It may have been so different if you never accepted that request, and would you know now the relevant information of what happened to this angel. My love and condolences from the U.K

  124. I lost an old friend to ovarian cancer. Though her page on FB has been taken down by family, I still see her contact card in my email and my iphone – I can’t bring myself to delete it.

    I’ve come to think of the social network as nothing but positive in this regard. We were years out of touch with regret between us, and through social networking I was able to talk with her, and tell her how much I loved her, even though I couldn’t be there.

    A beautiful essay. Thanks for sharing it. I’m sure Tara’s parents are comforted by the happiness your brief reconnection brought into her life.

  125. Anita Neuman says:

    Wow. So beautifully and honestly written. Haunting, really. Thank you for your courage in sharing this journey with us.

  126. Ritu KT says:

    Your post is so honest and touching. I totally agree with you on “Facebook is indifferent”. I have received my share of news from Facebook that i otherwise would have never known. I still can’t decide whether it was good to be aware of those things or not.

  127. Lori Lipsky says:

    Well- written piece on the impact of Facebook in this time. Many of us have experienced similar situations. If we haven’t yet, we will.

    I am sorry for your loss.

  128. Lucas says:

    I met a girl on an Eminem forum , over 9 years ago . She was going through a devorse and we became close friends , then talked more and more becoming very close . We talked on messenger and webcam chats . I wrote poetry about her like mad and was completly in love with her . We planned to get married one day . She lived in lousianna and I lived in Canada and was In my last year of highschool when we met . We agreed to see other people but to remain close .. She met a guy and I met a girl .. She had a miscarriage but kept it to herself . The guy left her after he suffered a car crash .. I saw her online just a night before her birthday .. And sent her a few poems I wrote for her . She seemed down and said she had to go for a walk and clear her head that she loved me , and to get some sleep .. I went to bed springing out In the morning to send her a birthday wish .. Only to see people wishing her a restful death . She took her life after she got off the computer with me,, since we loved each other online there was no way of showing our love through my grief . :(

  129. You wrote this beautifully, and I am very sorry for your loss. Losing someone, whether it be an acquaintance or not, is hard. However, I do have issues with social networking. I think what did it for me was when my sister’s mom passed away. Instead of an immediate family member calling–which they could and should have done, one of her siblings posted it online. My sister, unaware of this, happened to log on around 2 a.m. before going to bed. Imagine how THAT turned out. In addition, the cause and way of death was horrible (both her mother AND brother were found dead in their home). This isn’t something you share w/the world before relaying it to closest of kin. But, in the case of your dorm-mate, it is somewhat amazing that you all were able to reconnect and communicate before her health weakened.

    • What a horrible way to find out. Did you see that article this week about parents discovering their daughter died on Facebook? If proper etiquette is not followed, social networks can be quite hurtful in the ways they can be so impersonal.

  130. Pingback: Why we write what we write « Broadside

  131. NuclearGrrl says:

    I had this experience with a friend who died suddenly almost two years ago. His birthday still shows up on my feed. I am still prompted to post something to his wall at random. When I met a man of the same name, it took me five more occasions of asking him his name to realize why I couldn’t remember it. I was trying so hard to forget. Social networking can be so wonderful, and so cruel.

  132. danajoward says:

    Very well written and very touching. I am on FB and I do keep in touch with friends and family.. Monday, I lost my Uncle. My mom’s brother. He lived in another state and I don’t have the means to go to the memorial. I have messaged my cousins that I know what they are feeling, since I have gone through the loss of my parents and sister. I am the only one left in the immediate family. I have had friends on FB that died suddenly and there are friends that I knew were very ill and it was just a matter of time. I like the idea of reading the posts on their pages. It is like picking up the news paper and picking up will you left off. Just recently, I was thinking I would like to talk to a friend that has passed, so I went to their FB page and instead of posting on their wall, I messaged them. It was sending a letter that only they would read…I did not care if their family read the message. I just needed to talk to them from my heart. It is something I do from time to time as they have popped into my mind. I miss my family, especially my mom and sister and now my Uncle. I know they are not suffering with pain any longer. I know they are together and probably have a wonderful time catching up on the news. (my interpretation of heaven). Social media has changed how we communicate, but it is up to each of us on how we deal with what touches us from our past, now and future.
    Thank you for writing and sharing this wonderful post. Thanks for allowing me to post this comment. It is a form of therapy for those of us that need to post on FB or other social media places. A way to say good-bye or to let yourself to say to the FB page of that person, that you were thinking of them that day. My family and Uncle never were on FB or even used a computer, but I do have pages where I can go to and continue the conversations as if they were listening. I miss them everyday, even those that some how or some time touched my life. I may not have know some very well, though they did come and touch my life. I thank them for that. I am rich with many blessings from just knowing them. :)

  133. EGouws says:

    Lost my Dad earlier this year. Be strong. One don’t get over it, but sooner than later one starts to remember nothing but the good times! Lost of love! E

  134. skyride says:

    You write powerfully, and through it you also show what a cathartic force writing can be. Thank you for this.

  135. elliotclaire says:

    Thank you for sharing this. RIP Tara…

  136. SocietyRed says:

    This is beautifully written. These situations remind me how detached and somehow vital social networking is. Each time I permanently delete a contact from my phone I have to remind myself that is not actual closure. When I forget and then stumble on it later I am shocked to remember they are gone. You have a great voice!

  137. dhonour says:

    This was so well written that it was difficult to read–I imagine it must have been that much more difficult to write. But I appreciate it all the more for that.

  138. Zach says:

    That was an absolutely beautiful entry. I’m terribly sorry for your loss, but please, don’t ever stop writing.

  139. What a beautifully written piece. I am sorry for the loss of your friend. I am adamantly anti-Facebook, and yet I see some of the benefits of being able to reconnect in that way as well.
    Wishing you well and please keep sharing your stories.

  140. wheresmykid says:

    Tough read. I watched my daughter’s presence on FB fade alongside her health. It was hard for her to read through the glib “hang in there” comments and finally she deleted her account. It was a relief for her. “Why should I feel the need to inform them when they don’t feel the need to inform themselves?” she asked. Indeed.

  141. littlesundog says:

    This was a beautiful and riveting read. I truly enjoyed it, Nicole. As an HSP myself, I have finally chosen to disconnect and delete my Facebook account. It’s become a place to wield hurt and drama… chaos and noise. I really had no business getting on in the first place, however I attempted to justify it. And, are you kidding? Etiquette in this day and age? I haven’t seen it in a very long time with today’s young people. Even those my own age (50′s) lack manners and forethought. It’s terribly disappointing.

  142. Roacilynn says:

    Facebook…you’re right. It alienates us but keeps us connected at the same time.

  143. Touchable story, especialy for the ones that had a similar experience. And if we look in future we will all experience such stories, because it is probable that we will get older and so our friends and all others that will die (let say in 50 years time), if not before because of age. And it will be sad to see all this. Than it will become a really virtual network…

  144. Beautifully written. I have gone through something similar recently, and so this found me in the right time. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Love and light,
    Jennifer

  145. that was beautiful I do understand I found out i lost one of my best friends last week on facebook due to suicide.. the grief will be there knowing i should of checked on him more than i did and i truly am sorry for your loss

  146. livvyyy says:

    This was one of the most beautiful stories I have read. Being part of a group in Australia called CanTeen made me think of all those friends I had made who have passed away the same way as you have said in our story and only finding out via FB just makes me think of them more and how I miss them :( thank ou so mix for sharing this with the world.

  147. Pinkjumpers says:

    Beautiful, I feel as I’ve been punctured by shards of perspective. Don’t doubt that you weren’t a good friend to her, after sixteen years of no communication you clearly still meant a lot to her and that speaks volumes. x

  148. Elizabeth says:

    Wow… this bought tears to my eyes. I can relate to what you went through.
    We had a friend who was diagnosed with Leukemia at 26. He struggled and we thought he might be out of the woods when his treatment stopped responding. Knowing his fate my husband flew down to FL to see him. Johnny and my husband Marc we like brothers and considered each other so. He was the guy who watched our children while I was in surgery having my cancer removed, he had so much heart and was such a good person it was hard to think of him not being around anymore.
    My husband and him had a great week together just being together, and shortly after Marc returning home within a few weeks Johnny’s condition worsened and it was the end. Marc couldn’t make it back down to the funeral to pay respects and I feel because of that he never really got the closure he needed to move on. I believe that because of the distance in our physical locations to one another it’s almost as if he’s still alive just far away and too busy with life to touch base.
    I am on FB and my husband isn’t, I haven’t deleted Johnny’s page and never will, I still get pictures and updates from him family members posting their memories of him and photos of his daughter who will unfortunately never know the wonderful man who is her father. As tough as it is at times to get caught off guard by seeing that he “posted” something on FB I’m happy to have the reminder of a good friend and usually tears are sure to follow.

  149. Rukhe Zahra says:

    Im speechless!
    thanx for sharing, bless you!

  150. Dana says:

    I have started a blog where I link to the best things I’ve read this week- I’d like to link to this piece. Please let me know if that’s ok with you. My blog is onlyafewminutes.wordpress.com. Thanks.

  151. anitadesignstudio says:

    4 yrs ago I didn’t have a FB account. 4 yrs ago I didn’t really care whether I had one or not. Now it’s part of my daily life; good, bad or indifferent. This was a very touching piece of writing and hit a nerve with me because I witnessed the gradual decline of a friend’s mental state via FB (not a very close friend but a friend all the same). I remember becoming very concerned with the content of his FB posts. At one stage I replied to one of his angry outbursts and suggested that he should speak to someone about the pain that he was experiencing. He immediately ‘unfriended’ me. A month later he committed suicide. His profile picture still appears in my ‘suggested friends’ list 2 yrs later. I find it slightly unnerving. Part of me thinks its disrespectful but then maybe his family take some form of comfort from it.

  152. hayleens says:

    Beautifully written and so apt in an age identified by social media. I am sorry for your loss.

  153. Thank you for sharing. I myself can only talk about the things that happen on facebook after someone dies. There are two sides to this. Somehow I love browsing through the wall and seeing what memories other people/friends have, what song makes them think of her or what poem made them cry the other day. But then there are all of these shallow people who write stuff that really only is written for the ‘social aspect’ of facebook, so that others can see that they did the ‘decent thing’ and wrote on her wall after her death. It makes me respect you so much that you just didn’t wait around until she died and then wrote a fundamental post, but actually reached out to her before. Again thank you for this very personal story.

  154. jmgoyder says:

    So sad. Beautiful tribute.

  155. G says:

    so beautifully chronicled. i can understand ur loss.

  156. priyank says:

    Sorry for your loss. But thanks for sharing it. It’s great that you tried your bit to take care of an estranged friend as soon as you got notice of her condition. Pity on the usual facebook folks who post ýo yo’ messages on everything.

  157. Pingback: What to check out this weekend: December 13, 2012 « Only A Few Minutes

  158. Franz J. says:

    I understand you. same thing to me last year. Kisses

  159. Pingback: Not Her | grieftastic

  160. emeralds says:

    Beautifully wrote piece!

  161. No ID says:

    Reblogged this on Off The Beaten Path (Being Silly in the City) and commented:
    I thought this was an absolutely amazing post, and highlighted some of the thoughts I have about Facebook.

  162. No ID says:

    Absolutely amazing post. Thank you so much for sharing. It mirrored many of the thoughts I have about Facebook, and our connection to people through it. I was dating a young lady about a year ago, who passed away a few days after our last date. Her Facebook is the last connection I have to her. One that thus far I’ve found myself unwilling to let go of.

  163. Emily says:

    First off, I am so sorry for this loss. Tara sounded like a wonderful person.

    This was a beautifully written and moving story. How very relatable and relevant to this day and age. Thank you for sharing – I found this post through some blog hopping but I am very eager to read more from you.

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