It was the dawn of January 1st. I have this terrible habit of checking Facebook on my phone before going to sleep. A Facebook-friend of mine changed his profile picture to an old one of him with a girl, another Facebook-friend. Not very interesting; I keep scrolling. Still January 1st. I have this terrible habit of checking Facebook on my phone when I wake up. This same Facebook-friend girl is tagged in a bunch of pictures: clubbing and touring across Europe. Good for her; I keep scrolling. I get out of bed, prepare myself a cup of coffee and some cereal. I have this not-so-bad-but-not-fantastic habit of checking Facebook while I have breakfast. More pictures of this girl: at a café, on the underground, in a classroom full of people, wearing those white coats doctors use. Then I’m wondering how is it possible for this girl to be doing so much in so little time. It took me a minute to find out she’s not doing anything at all. She’s dead.
We weren't close. Facebook added a new shade to human relationships and now I can call her a Facebook-friend, instead of just someone I knew. We went to the same high school back in Mexico and we hung out with the same group of guys. Well... She hung out with them, I was more of a recurrent character. She was nice, though, and I'm not someone who romanticizes a person for being dead.
I know how this is going to sound, and I wish there was a more tactful way of saying it. She's my first Facebook-friend who dies. The amount of accounts belonging to dead people is growing at a constant rate, I'm pretty much aware of that. I'm also aware people like using those accounts as some sort of memorial. But I'm not used to finding condolences on my Home Page every time I log in.
Something caught my attention: the messages were mostly cheerful, some of them even had smilies on them. A few comforted themselves by knowing she's in a better place; others explain her early and unexpected death by saying God needs certain people by His side; and there are ones who filled their void with the idea of a new angel who will look out for them.
Death is best excuse to learn other's religious beliefs, and sometimes your own. In case you don't know, Mexicans are very religious. I'm not. For no other reason but because I'm just not. The idea of a god seems as improbable as a Santa visiting every house in one night; and just as unfair, bringing the rich kids PlayStations and the poor ones Pet rocks. There was a point in my life where I would bother to back up my argument, but I don't care all that much now. Also, I’m conscious of what a tiny insignificant being I am in this immense universe, and I'm not so naive to think I understand anything completely.
I have to admit that I am jealous. And if my logic could permit it - maybe, I think- I would choose to believe too.
See, the way I deal with my mortality is by trying to not think about it, and then thinking about it all the time. Like when I'm on a long bus drive, tired and bored out of my mind, and I consider the possibility of the bus crashing. Everything I hoped for and every plan I had is over, and the only thing that's left is the shell of what made me be me. So I look out the window and contemplate whatever is on the other side, sometimes it's so dark I only get to see my own reflection, but that's alright. I just want to feel that I'm there, that I'm here now. Because other than the memories that's all we really have: the heres and the nows.
But living constantly in the here and the now can be a lot of pressure. And as beautiful as that ideology can be (written by a more talented writer, preferably) it does nothing to explain why this 25 year old girl had to die on her way to work. She won't know what it's like to get married, or have children, or pay a mortgage, or whatever adults do that I don't know because I'm 24 myself. It would be a lot more comforting to think that she traded all that for bouncing on a cloud with great Wi-Fi signal, where she reads all those comments on her Facebook page.
Maybe it's just the jealousy talking, but I really don’t want those comments on my own Facebook page. I know it doesn't matter, because I would be dead and wouldn't be aware of social media or anything at all; the living ones would be aware, and their feelings matter more than the hypothetical ones of the dead. But if I could have it my way, they would get themselves alone with their own thoughts for just one minute. And they would think about how unfair death can be, but how imminent and permanent it always is... Then, keep scrolling.