I Don’t Like Finding Out My Friend Died Through Facebook

But it’s better than not finding out at all

This weekend, a friend of mine died.

I was sitting on the couch, scrolling Facebook as one does during lazy weekends, when a post surfaces on my feed from the wife of my friend.

The post is saying that she’s dead. That she died suddenly the night before.

My friend worked for me briefly, a couple years ago, in a satellite office. I met her only a handful of times, talked to her regularly only for a few months, but became her friend through the power of the internet and specifically, through Facebook.

All her posts surfaced in my feed — the political ones that often drove me nuts, the food ones that made my mouth water, the joyous ones when she got married last month.

Then suddenly her name is surfaced by the all-powerful Facebook algorithm for a different reason and my husband asks me why I’m crying.

A few years ago, a friend of my committed suicide, and I found out the same way on Facebook while at work. I did that ugly cry thing in front of my colleague, the one I’d always had a kind of standoffish relationship with. He was amazingly kind and sat with me till I got my shit together.

The internet gives us the ability to call people friends who we rarely — or never — meet in person. Some might say that those aren’t real friends — might espouse a lot of vitriolic hate about social media, or Facebook, or about the the shallow and narcissistic way we compose our lives for our collective followers’ consumption.

I never want to find out a friend of mine died through a Facebook post.

But I am so thankful that Facebook exists to tell me exactly that. Without it, my friend would have vanished one day, and I might never have been able to find out why.

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