Social networking can be unexpectedly filled with sadness

Oct 5, 2010 by

Social networking can be unexpectedly filled with sadness









I have had two very difficult blows dealt me while social networking on Facebook.

One day I logged on as usual and ran through my live feed. I stopped and read a good friend’s status which said, “RIP Dan, you will be missed” I read a second and then a third time before I could process what was written and what I was reading.

Daniel was my friend and past roommate. We kept up on Facebook since he was in Arizona and I am in Illinois. I frantically began looking on Facebook to see who was online that might know something.

See what I just wrote?

I didn’t pick up my phone which was lying right next to me, I started searching to see who was online on Facebook. Scrolling down a little further, I saw a post from another friend, Randy, who posted to someone else, “Dude call me right away, here’s my phone number.” So having been friends with both Daniel and Randy, (these 2 were BFF) I called Randy since the idea had been posted and I came out of my shock a bit. Randy confirmed that our friend Daniel had passed on…. he had been ill and his heart just gave out. I hung up, cried, and followed all the rituals and activities surrounding Daniel’s passing, complete with pictures of the funeral and his casket. Posts went on for days, with friends posting Daniel’s pic as their profile pic. It was comforting in a weird way. It allowed me to feel not so far away.

Then a few days later, my birthday. I logged on to Facebook as was my usual habit, and noticed I had a private message. I went to the messages section and there was a message from my friend Katie’s daughter. It simply said, “this is just information to let you know my mom passed away June 23rd…..” and that is all it said. I immediately yelled out, “WTF happened? What happened? OMG how did she die?”

I was very fearful that I knew how. I knew I wouldn’t burden her young daughter with contacting and asking questions, so again, I immediately looked to see who was online that might be able to shed some light on what happened. I noticed my friend Di was online so I immediately chatted her and told her about my message. I asked if she knew how to get a hold of Tim, another friend who wasn’t online at the time, but most likely would know what was up. In just a few minutes, my phone rang and Tim was on the other end explaining what had happened. After his initial confirmation in 50 words or less, I became hysterical and gave my phone to my loving partner to say goodbye for me.

Once again, blindsided and within only a couple weeks of Daniel’s passing. Both notifications came from Facebook. My initial reaction was to find out more information on Facebook before I utilized the more conventional method of the telephone. I had fearful thoughts of logging on to Facebook again, afraid of what I might discover. I had moments where I thought Facebook was much too dangerous and I could continue to get blindsided with hurt and loss and pain. But the next morning, I logged on, checked Katie’s Facebook page to try and find any clues— there were none. I scoured every photo, note and posting I could. I printed out several pictures and wept for the friend I will not see again. I read her notes and sent them to myself so I could have them forever. I printed out one of her albums with thumbnails of the kids. I wept some more. I received a message from her ex husband; my very dear friend, and wept yet again.

Social Networking reaches across the physical boundaries of geographic separation, makes daily contact a reality, renews old relationships, sometimes discovers new ones, and other times notifies us that relationships we have, are now gone. It can happen in real time if we are online when the news comes posting across our live feed, or we are notified of a private message. Status Updates alert us to how and what our friends are doing where. We can even have them immediately sent to our phones. Real time or close to real time messages about our friends all over the world can permeate our momentary existence.

But, sometimes, Social Networking can be unexpectedly filled with sadness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Photo credit: Brooke Leigh Sheldon

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  1. Donna J Morask

    You’re quite right. The connectiveness and Oneness is the lesson learned from FB. Social Networking has been been far more beneficial than anything negative; thus the title I chose; social networking can be filled with unexpected sadness, with can being the operative word. Thank you for pointing out the positive.

  2. Donna, thank you for this important and timely blog; I recently learned of the transistion of a friend on FB, it wasn’t easy reading that private message then scouring her site. Another FB friend recently told a nice story and showed a picture of a FB friend she’d never met but who had passed on. It’s good, no matter how sad the news this connectiveness does affirm a Oneness.