Friday, April 30, 2010

Become a friend.

Last week, a guy I went to high school with was randomly killed in a bizarre pedestrian hit and run accident in Delaware. Though I barely knew him, it turns out he was a pretty great person, a husband, father and housing advocate for the poor among other things. I learned of his death on Facebook, where a friend sent out an obit to all his former schoolmates. That was a few days ago. Today I went onto my Facebook home page and there he was in the upper right margin with a suggestion, based on our number of mutual friends, to add him as a friend.

As an author, one of the things I’m obsessed with is irony, and things that would perhaps strike others as macabre or creepy somehow to me seem almost poetic and transcendent, at least metaphorically. Here is this man whose life had just ended and yet his Facebook page was continuing on, seeking to make new connections. And in a way, that’s what happened. I stopped what I was doing, clicked through to his page, saw him there sitting at his desk and, for that moment, honored my memories of him and his life in a pure and uncontrived way. I thought about how fleeting life is, and how what happened to him could happen to any of us at any time. It was a powerful, humbling moment that made meaning for me out of something senseless and tragic.

I suppose the lesson here is to be open to life’s strange and ironic moments because they can carry us to deeper insights about the nature of our existence.

As I looked at his page, I was tempted to click on that big box in the center of screen that said “Become a friend.” I imagined some kind of parallel Facebook universe where he was still alive and sitting at his desk somewhere, able to accept or ignore. I can only hope he would have accepted.

1 comment:

Pam Kukla said...

Lisa, thank you for sharing an important lesson in such a beautifully-written piece. I look forward to reading Summer Shift and to meeting you on June 18 when you'll be this year's featured author at the West Dennis Yacht Club's Book Club open-to-the-public benefit.