“…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” — Benjamin Franklin 1789
Benjamin Franklin would never have anticipated anything like social media. From chronicling the mundane (what I ate for lunch) to the monumental (Trump as President), Facebook has become the background of life for many.
As more and more people began using Facebook, they started to notice the normal life cycle of their friends played out in front of them. Depending on your age, you might have seen some of your closest friends go through this kind of progression.
For a while, it seemed like all my friends were getting married. Then, having kids. Then, we watched as they started getting divorced or separated from their loved ones. Because of the reach of Facebook, we heard about these life cycles from people that we may have known at one time, but wouldn’t count as friends in real life.
This past year, I had a couple of friends pass away, both were way too young to die. We grieved them individually and collectively. Their social media pages were flooded with memories and condolences.
But there’s something uncomfortable when I get asked to friend someone that’s died. Or asked to celebrate their birthday, or anniversary of work, when they’ve already passed away. Or when they show up in a picture on my timeline memories.
In real life, as time passes, memories fade. Our brains have an amazing capacity to push unpleasant thoughts into the background as time marches on. We may dwell on them from time to time, but what seemed impossible to overcome when it first happened, can become dulled with time.
Because of its sheer mass of users, an estimated 10,000 users die every single day. There will come a time possibly where there are more people on Facebook that are dead than alive. While Facebook gives the option of changing an account to a memorial account, it doesn’t seem to happen that often… at least with my friends.
Then again, maybe it’s not so bad then when Facebook reminders of those departed pop up.
It does make me pause and remember them in life. While there’s sadness, there’s also a memory of better times and a place to share those memories. And maybe some comfort in knowing that when it’s my time, others may still have a reason to remember me on occasion. I hope so.