Facebook of the Dead
I have dead people on my Facebook. It just sort of happened in the way things like this always happen, I suppose. People I know died. First one, then another...the slow parade of the lost. It's a strange feeling, looking at a page for someone who has shuffled off this mortal coil. There they are, smiling at the camera, alive and kicking, part of the ether, part of the web wide population, but at the same time gone past forever.
Sometimes, on the space where it suggests getting in contact with people I haven't talked to in awhile, Facebook tells me I should contact one of the dead- but there are no instructions on how to do that. Face the clouds and pray? Should I write of their wall? Maybe send an instant message saying " OMG, how r u & what's it like up there?" Is there a way to twitter a ghost?
Usually, when the "get in touch with them" directive pops up on my Facebook page, I chuckle, then grow sad. Because I would like to get in touch with them, tell them good bye, wish them well, thank them for being in my life. Like pretty much everyone I know, I want to speak with the dead. I want a ouija board that works. I want to hold a seance and really hear my fathers's voice. There is something about the impossibility of death, about the finality of it all, that I do not understand. How could something that existed ever not exist anymore? Isn't that against the law of physics?
I also have contact numbers in my cell phone that belong to the dead. I know I should delete them- but that feels like it would be a betrayal somehow. Like I would be saying "yes, that's alright, they're dead"- and I am not really a fan of death, and I do not approve of gently going into that night or whatever it was Dylan Thomas said. So, I have phone numbers and email addresses and Facebook pages for people who aren't around anymore.
Of course, some will take this new dilemma- that Facebook has pages of those that have passed- as a sign of how alienated we are in modern society, how out of touch technology has made us...but I don't really think we were all that in touch a hundred years ago or a thousand, for that matter. No doubt in ancient Egypt someone was walking around saying "we spend so much time absorbed in our papyrus scrolls that we've forgotten to look at each other! Oh, for the simpler times of yesteryear, when a Pyramid stood for something real!" It seems to me that things left by the dead, reminding us they're gone, have always been around, and always will be, and the sting of remembering that you can't call your mom ever again, or that your old pal Adam will never recite the opening lines of the Godfather to you again, is a sting that will seem new and horrible forever. That's part of the deal, I think, of life. We love and laugh, and miss our friends and family when they go away.
Or, as Carlos, the Toad of Infinite Waters says, "Forever and Never and Life and Death are just illusions we make up to help us understand things. We all fade into the ocean of the Universe, and we all remain true to our immortal essence."