An online friend of mine passed away today.
It was sudden but not completely unexpected, since she had a chronic health condition that was getting worse.
Still, she was young and apparently not a strong as it seemed.
Thing is, we were friends of a sort. Not close friends, not phone call friends, but we knew each other online.
And now there is this feeling of loss.
There is no real closure for this. I won’t be going to the funeral. It’s nowhere near where I live. No wake. And she will continue to exist in the virtual world.
Her posts still exist. Her jokes. Her stories. Her encouragement.
It’s a sort of ghost existence. The electronic residue of a whole and complete person.
So for a few days I will feel strangely off-kilter. Then I will only be reminded on days when Facebook brings her up again.
I have other friends like that: Scott, Faye, Taln. I get birthday notices. I get periodic messages from friends left on the memorial page. Whispers of a life not lived. Echoes from an alternate reality, where these friends are still alive.
I can’t quite call these people dead. In some ways, they were never fully alive for me, just a voice in the void. A creation of the ether and my imagination.
But I know, or at least I believe, there were human beings on the other side of the screen. Real people who laughed and loved and fought and fucked. And we connected, in the mind and in the heart if not in the flesh.
So my friend is gone now, on to whatever happens after this life. I hope she is happy and healthy. I hope she is still funny and kind and supportive and enthusiastic. I hope she is reunited with the people she loved and lost.
I hope I can embody some of the good things that she left behind in her posts and feed.
Gone but not forgotten. The internet never forgets.