Heavy hearted

The administration where I work discourages us from visiting Facebook while at work. Their biggest concern is not that we spend every minute while on the clock with our noses to the grindstone; their biggest concern is reserving enough bandwidth space for our patrons and our workers. Most of us cheat on this policy at least a little. I’m not going to worry about getting caught visiting Facebook briefly when I log in and see that my boss is also shown online.

Today was a bad day to glance at Facebook. One of the first posts I saw was from a close family member. Her post was personal and thoughtful, reminding me of the struggles she has been facing and the courage with which she has done so.

Right under that was a post saying that one of my friends from college has died.

I feel guilty not keeping in touch with this friend. Over the past few months he has been battling cancer, and he used Facebook to report his treatment and progress to all his friends. I regret that I never once responded with encouraging words. In fact, often I would skim his updates and then move on to someone else. (Can you spell TMI?) When I got home from work this afternoon, one of my first projects was to write a letter to his wife (also a friend from college) expressing my condolences and offering my prayers. I know this sounds odd, but I feel as though a mailed letter might atone for my lack of communication with them on Facebook.

When I first opened a Facebook account, my main reason to do so was to keep track of my children’s lives. Over time high school friends and college friends began emerging, and it was nice to be in touch. I’ve never been one to share much on Facebook, though—I’m more of a lurker, keeping tabs on other people in my life without reminding them too often of my existence.

The Big Chill was released when my friends and I were in college. We all saw the movie and speculated about the future of our friendships. Some of us were able to return to campus for Homecoming Weekend in the first years after graduation. I remember in particular one uproarious evening in a restaurant when most of the group was there. Over time, though, jobs and families made it harder for the group to assemble. If not for Facebook, by now most of us would be strangers to each other, with a few still making the effort to update one another with a letter at Christmas.

I won’t be able to make it to his funeral. I expect that most of the rest of our college group will also be missing. I feel bad about that absence, but it can’t be helped. Along with memories of past good times, I am also making sure to appreciate the people in my life today—especially the one who almost didn’t make it this far. J.

15 thoughts on “Heavy hearted

  1. I’m sorry about your college friend 😦 I’m in a similar position, but even uplifting words on facebook feel meanigless somehow, so don’t worry too much. The letter you’re writing is more real, tangible, and I’m sure it will be received with a certain gratefulness. Stay strong and don’t be too hard on yourself. Your friend is in your mind and so he’s still in your heart. I’m sure that wherever he is, he knows that. Take care, J.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh so sorry for the loss of your old friend Salvageable. You are right though that if not for FB many of the people I am connected with from high school and college would be strangers now. Nice gesture with the handwritten letter. After my dad died, I really appreciated the cards that came with personal notes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I also keep up via FB, but when the day is gone so if FB generally. A card or letter in one’s hand may be placed on a table, on the arm of the sofa, on a shelf, and many other places where it is a comfort over and over again. I have a card by my bed right now that I received over a month ago. (Sorry I don’t know how to get rid of this red line.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sorry for your loss, Salvageable, and for your heavy heart.

    One problem with social media is that we people were only designed to have close relationships with a few dozen people at best. We simply haven’t got the time and the emotional energy to extend ourselves much farther than that. Writing that letter is a nice gesture though, I think it would comfort her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, IB. It seems that about one hundred years ago communication and transportation changed the world. No longer were people living in villages or neighborhoods where they knew their neighbors and supported each other. Now we make friends, scatter, and add new friends from scattered places. Part of my heavy-heartedness, as I ponder it, is due to the fact that I have mourned more over deaths of fictional characters than I am mourning over the death of a man who once was a very close friend. J.


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