I couldn’t swallow – Ben had just told me under a hushed breath that Holly killed herself. I turned to look out the window. A wind was blowing the desert around. I felt so sad. I looked back at him, “Holly who?” “You know who,” was the reply. It’s true, I knew who. It’s something I think we all already knew but was never spoken because it was just too uncomfortable – something that made you shift in your seat, divert your eyes and clear your throat. Why would she decide that was the best answer I wondered and then I wondered how amongst all the friends and family could we not anticipate this and then I wondered how well we really knew her, how well do we know anyone?
If you were to look at her Facebook profile update it won’t tell you she’s dead. Down in the list of people available to chat on Ben’s Facebook is Bjorn-Eivind, another friend passed away. In my email list of people signed-in is my old college room-mate, deceased now for over five years. While in the flesh these people no longer exist, they seem to be doing just fine in the cyber-world.
Fiberoptics, more intelligent technology – the military is constantly talking about these things as ways to improve weapons and communication. So, that perhaps a missile can be launched remotely and kill it’s target thousands of miles away and then what, update the victims profile to dead? In a world of fast cars, fast weapons, fast food, and fast internet connections we aren’t any closer to one-another, if anything we may be even more distant than ever. Locked into boxes in which we feed information – leaving quick comments to friends on vacation in Hawaii or a father who lives across the country – our lives can seem to just flash by without realizing. While these things make us feel like we are connected they’re mostly ways in which we can ease our desire for true connections – they give us the illusion of reaching out and touching the world.
The last time I saw Holly in person I could tell she was down. I offered the best advice I could and gave her a hug. We connected for real that day – eyes meeting one-another, all guards down; we experienced our humanness and it’s sadness. Perhaps I should have said more, told her I loved her, that she was beautiful, that every day is worth living. Perhaps I should tell all my friends and family these same words and while I could post it on Facebook or send it out as a mass text I want to look them all in the eyes, hold their hands and say it.