The Dead on Facebook

Have you wished a dead person "Happy Birthday" on Facebook?

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If you’re on Facebook long enough and have enough friends, eventually, if it hasn’t happened to you already, one of them will pass away. I remember the first time it happened to me – the odd post on someone’s wall that hints something is wrong. It could be a simple “I’m going to miss you and the times we shared” post, or the “I’m glad you are at peace now” post, or a post by a family member who is able to log into their account mentioning their dying. The first time I found it a bit unsettling, that here I am, on Facebook, finding out about someone I know dying, from their own timeline nonetheless. I also remember one time I was looking for a person I used to know, found their page, and found out they were dead. Damn. what a bummer. I wondered what happened to the good, old days, when you would find out with a phone call, but then part of me realizes that it’s probably easier to use Facebook so that you don’t have to deal with dozens of “explaining” what happened conversations, the “Let me know the funeral plans” and thereby being burdened with the responsibility of remembering to tell them said plans, or the uncomfortable, rehashing over and over, the person’s dying. Facebook: It’s how we notify, and avoid people.

Okay, back to dead people on Facebook…

Usually I’ll read through the posts the friends are leaving, most of the time to find out if someone mentions how they died, and sometimes I’ll see the post of someone who comes right out and asks, on the dead friend’s timeline, what happened, I suppose hoping someone will fill them in (and let me know in the process). I will wonder if eventually a family member will remove them from Facebook, thereby erasing all memories we had of them and the meals they ate, but so far all of my dead friends still have pages, which, as Facebook is wont to do, also means the yearly birthday notification. The first time I received one of those it seemed a little weird, I mean, doesn’t Facebook know they are dead, but alas, Facebook isn’t that smart, yet. It’s with those birthday notifications that I noticed something, namely that there are a lot of people on Facebook who are autoresponders, blindly wishing “Happy birthday!” to people, not really being a friend and knowing the person is dead. How do I know this? Because the post is usually something like, “Happy birthday! I hope you enjoy your special day!” Umm, unless that person is in heaven, I’m thinking their day pretty much sucks, and you are a sucky friend for not knowing they are dead.

There are the nicer posts, the “Wishing you a happy birthday in heaven” post, or the “I wish you were here to celebrate your birthday with me,” but every year, when I see the notification, I am reminded of the person’s passing, get a little sad, and check their timeline to see if anyone wished them happy birthday not realizing the person is dead. Wondering the kind of Facebook posting person you might be, I wonder: Have you wished a dead person “Happy birthday” on Facebook?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!