It’s a funny thing, death. Not ha-ha funny; weird funny. Especially when it comes to social media.
Today I received an ’email update’ from a thing called ‘NetworkedBlogs’. It’s like a headline newsletter for the blogs of people I know. It has a ‘featured friend’ section, and for the second time in about three months, the friend was Jennifer L. Reimer, writer of the most excellent (and slightly insane-sounding) ‘Practice of Madness‘. And here’s the thing (you guessed, didn’t you?). Jen is dead. Passed on. However you say it. She succumbed to death in fairly tragic circumstances over a year ago. She was a larger-than-life character through her writing, and I never met her in person, but some of the things she wrote stayed with me. She was an eternal psychology student, from what I could tell, (possibly a PhD) but her life and pain got in the way.
There’s a girl on my Bejewelled Blitz leaderboard, who will never ever have any points again. She was a beautiful, humble character, and I’ll never forget her shyly dazzling smile. Gaelle’s social media ghost is still present, but the quietly glamorous lass who sat in the centre of my kitchen one party, one eye closed because she was so drunk, emitting peals of laughter at everyone’s drunkenness, has gone. The gap is palpable.
Like me or not
If you’ve ever ‘liked’ a Facebook page, you’ll know that when you do, Facebook presents you with ‘send an invitation to your friends to like this page’. It’s a slider with all their happy smiling faces (babies, pets, nice landscapes). My aunt who only passed away last year keeps determinedly appearing on that list as if insisting she wants to be part of the gang.
Birthdays are great remembrance days
The Facebook birthdays app brings up people I knew at school but had lost touch with until the Social Machine forced us to know each other again. Now some of them are gone, they haunt their birthdays, still alive and remembered for more than just a playground fight or a snog 30 years ago, because we get a new chance to be reminded of their adult lives, annually. I’m often glad of that chance, but that I am surprises me too.
Who went where when?
One aspect I find weird about death on social media is that if it wasn’t for Facebook I wouldn’t have known some of them at all, never mind that they had died. Even school friends from way back when. I wouldn’t even have known they had gone.
A different paradigm of death (and life)
The more I learn about death in a spiritual context, the more fascinating it becomes. When I asked my ancestors to protect me, they came. As if they were just standing outside my vision my whole life and when I called to them by name, they stepped forwards and were just there, like a negative imprint in the ether. They were full of love, and it was quite overwhelming. It’s as though spirits wait quietly in line until their next incarnation or their next reunion with other members of their soul group. My experience of greeting my grandparents after they had long since passed on changes my whole view of death because their lifeforces don’t just drain into an unimaginable nothingness. They are just there. An armslength away, looking out for you. See, they hadn’t forgotten me. They hadn’t died and moved on, no longer interested in the lives of those they loved; no longer connected. No. They were emotionally connected to me. So there’s something in the idea of a soul group. I think it might be a Catholic concept; the idea of collections of souls, called monads.
Ever get that feeling?
Some people, when you meet them, their character and attitude feels so familiar, but you know you’ve never met them before. I suffer from seriously strong deja vu, especially around people. To me, people have a hum. An inaudible buzz at a certain pitch – the pitch and tone are individual. I think that’s the source of my deja vu. I’m comforted at the thought of waiting awhile between lives and then having another go if the time is right.
Death is not the end
So now, when I learn someone died, I do feel sad for them, but I also think that they completed whatever they came here to do this time. And that it likely isn’t that bad, being dead; probably a nice rest for a while. I guess love is an energetic connection, not just an emotional one. It’s good to remember people, no matter how weird Facebook makes it, right? 🙂 Stay happy!