We’ve all got Internet friends, many of whom we will never physically meet. What would you do if they were no longer there? Would you care?
The thought occurred recently when a very dear friend of mine, who I worked with at the University of Waikato back in New Zealand, was absent without leave from the internet. A day or even two of his not being there is normal. But a week or more?
Fortunately I’m also in contact with one of his many daughters via ‘chat’ on Facebook, otherwise I wouldn’t have known that he had a heart attack last year. Since then he has had ongoing health problems. So when he went quiet once again a few weeks back, I immediately contacted her on FB. Bless her heart, she profusely apologised for not letting me know. She needn’t have. I completely understood. I was just glad that he’s still alive. It turned out that he had been admitted into hospital again, this time to have his stents cleaned out. Then in his fragile state he caught a nasty infection that laid him low. So, he’s still in hospital. I’m waiting for him to come out of there so that I can ‘chat’ to him again. I miss gasbagging with the big lug on FB.
With the change in the way many of us keep in touch with one another these days, mainly via email, and the many types of social media. God forbid that it should ever happen; but what if one of us died? How would anyone know, particularly if like myself, you live on your own and have no close relatives or even a friend who sees you every day? Then there’s the problem of how you inform his or her online friends of their demise, unless you either post something on their FB page, Twitter account, or if you know some of their online friends and send them a ‘chat’ message.
Face it folks, none of us are getting any younger. We can’t simply leave a message on Facebook, Twitter or any of the other social media sites saying “Hi folks. Guess what, I’ve just died!” now can we.
In my case, the only way anyone who knows me can tell I’m still alive is by my daily blog posts, or when I comment on something on Facebook each day. So if your friend doesn’t put in an appearance via the internet for a couple of days, contact them. If you know their phone number, ring them. If you know their email address send them an email. It may just be that their busy with something, or in bed with some ailment. Either that or they may have temporarily lost their internet connection as happens occasionally with a couple of my many lovely American lady friends, like Robynn in Wyoming. Whatever the case may be, let’s keep an eye on one another. If you live not too far away, go and see your friend, if only to give yourself peace of mind.
Imagine if you were totally unaware that your friend had died. How would you feel? I’d be heartbroken. No matter whether or not you have actually met one another, friends of all kinds, physical or internet, are friends for life.
Never forget that…