Letting Go Online

I don’t even know where to start with this one.

My first cousin, a childhood and adolescent best friend, passed away very suddenly this week. She lived in Brooklyn, and I in southern Delaware, and we hadn’t seen each other in a few holidays. Little did I know that the most recent happenstance of holiday celebration would be the last time I’d ever see her again.

I stumbled through the first few days of the week in a shocked stupor, and I found myself on Facebook, for the first time today, at a loss of words. Upon signing on for the first time after I’d received the awful news, I immediately thought:

“I have a deceased person on my friends list. Someone dead. Someone who’s never going to like any of my stupid comments; someone who’s never going to celebrate another birthday, or have their newsfeed inundated with Games of Thrones references again, because there’s NO ONE ON THE OTHER END OF THIS CONNECTION.”

Realizing all of this, I think, was the precipice of sick this whole week. My guts felt like they were tied all up in knots, and all because of Facebook. Facebook, who’s always going to be there to let me know that my cousin’s thirty-third birthday – one that she’ll never celebrate – is coming up. Facebook, who’s keen to remind me via “Circle of Moms” emails that my cousin’s five-year-old daughter got an A+ in finger painting last week. A five-year-old who doesn’t even realize that Mommy’s not coming home ever again. FACEBOOK, who, probably in a few weeks or so, tells me to “catch up” with my deceased cousin, since it’s been awhile that we’ve spoken. Thanks for that, Facebook.

Sometimes, Facebook? I hate you.

I hate that you’ve made us all so connected, even when we’re miles apart in geography and circumstance. I hate that it’s so easy, so comforting, to get lost in your loved ones’ pictures and videos, because it’s like being a real part of their life. I hate the false sense of security that you lull us into in pretending like everything’s roses with your “upcoming events” feed that promises birthdays, anniversaries, and RSVP’s to long-awaited family reunions.

A deceased Facebook friend is like having an open telephone connection to someone who’s sleeping on the other end of the line. Permanently. When does one finally hang up?