When the Death of a Facebook Friend Hits Home in Real Life

December 6, 2014 12:06 AM

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I checked my Facebook feed this morning to discover that my old friend, Anita, had died. As I scrolled through the posts on her Facebook page I went rapid-fire through the steps of grief, starting with, wait, wtf? Is this real? Unfortunately, there was no one I could call to confirm or commiserate, because this was a Facebook friend, one I had no association with in the real world. I scrolled down, reading the heartfelt condolences to family, and found a link someone had posted to her obituary. She had been suffering from a long illness, apparently, which she had never mentioned online. She had turned 80 just a week ago, but had always seemed ageless to me.

I consider myself a little old-fashioned when it comes to Facebook friends. I'm not exactly an early adopter, and while not an out-and-out Luddite, I'm wary of The Cloud and cat-fishing, and I do tend to sort friends into "real-" and "Facebook-friends" (and of course, a third category I call FFFFILF...

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