A friend tagged me in a Facebook post today. The post linked to a news article about a former counselor member in Australia passed away. In the comments, a link to an obituary was posted.
“So sad” nearly all the comments read.
But I was puzzled. I felt guilty that I didn’t know who this person was. I knew the circle of friends from an online message board from the early 2000s, but more than 10 years later, I only kept in touch with a select few. Our screennames, at the time, are now long forgotten traded for our real names. But for those from then, I only knew them by their screennames. We were nearly all in our early 20s, forming our identity and trying to understand ourselves. We filled our lives with blogs like this, telling the world our own truth and forming relationships with others. That message board was one of the many triggers for starting this own blog.
“Who is he?” I texted my friend, located on the opposite coast.
She tried to add color. He was someone active in the message board. I didn’t recognize his photo. He dated someone. Then there was drama. And then stuff. Then years passed. My friend was Facebook friends with him, but as for me, I never made the connection.
But isn’t that the same with any friend that I might have met in a group once more than 10 years ago, like the many student groups that cycled through my life then. Perhaps we had good rapport then. But we never made an impression or impact on each other. So we didn’t choose to keep in touch. And so we slid into our lives, forgetting each other, because our minds could only hold so many people at a time. As our social networks matured so did the people we choose to stay in contact with. And so life would have continued on without remembering each person’s existence.
This is where I would like to say: he touched my life. He made a difference for anybody he met. He made their lives better in an instance.
I wish that I could say that, but I can’t recall a moment of interaction with him.
All I can think is how sad to have passed away at the age of 30. To have all the friends and family grieve for who he was, gone from their lives. To have had such promise in the future, clamped down within a day.
Rest in peace.