Last week I found out a friend from my childhood disappeared, and then was found dead. I do not know the full story, I do not want to and find myself not questioning his passing but hoping for his future. I hope for my grandmother to come across him, recognize him and give the hug I was not able to give to him in his challenging last days.
I have also been thinking how social media has allowed for me and my classmates from Flagstaff to reconnect. Using social media to connect with others can be effective and rejuvenate relationships that may have been lost. I had not talked to him in years and I was able to reconnect through a social media site. Yet communication via technology is an outside observation in someone’s life and is different than what had been from generations past. The social media is instant and impersonal view with very personal and sometimes delicate information. If it is typed and recorded on the internet then it is there for anyone and everyone to see. The same site that allowed us to connect also informed me of his shortened life and the deep sorrow experiencing by his wife and family.
Posting is an impersonal connection, outside view, a bias by what is posted and not being able to see the nonverbals that prompts me to seek a deeper connection. The posts are quick snippets into life and not what is the meaning behind them. I say this because I look at a post on my friend’s page by a grieving wife and childhood friends saying goodbye as an outlet to show our shock.
When a comment by my friend’s wife to another post on his page shows the pain she is having and is curt and full of grief. Yet the original comment was meant to be enduring and came across incorrectly. Our pain can come across differently. In face-to-face emotions can be seen, felt and understood and in words, all we have is a limited context and the vocabulary we have learned.
By giving the words a background and context we can share a meaning and have to trust the reader to feel the emotions. Giving descriptive yet, not wordy context through written images the reader can be influenced to the desired emotion.
This is my second young friend I have lost this year, with each one leaving this world I think of how we are being called home on our own personal time in a way we may have known before we signed up. It is my thoughts to remember to share what we have in this life. Share it through a talent and be remembered even if we do not know who we have touched or influenced in a limited or in-depth relationship.
With this I bid adieu and celebrate a life well lived and a childhood friend.