Small Talk

When Facebook friends die

July 28th, 2010

I got a big shock last week while internet surfing. I was researching a blog I was writing (not yet published) and I came across the fact that an old friend died - in January! Nobody told me! My gosh. Has this ever happened to you?

His name was Samm Conn (and yes, he spelled Samm with two m's) and I worked with him at KOBR in New Mexico. We stayed friends even though I moved away, and remained friends all these years.

KOBR promo 001

(Yes, I know, I know, I look really different.)

I think the last time I talked to him was sometime last year, because I remember us discussing my daughter. However, he continued to send cards every holiday season, although he was pagan.

Samm was quite a character (as you may have picked up even in these short paragraphs) and when the Wikipedia article came up that he had died, I didn't believe it. I thought maybe it was his prank.

Samm, his purple truck, and his chew

Samm, his purple truck, and his chew. Hey, it's cowboy town.

I went on Facebook to search for him and his page came up, still current. I thought, See, he's not dead. We really only have one friend in common left over from my Roswell days, so I send her a message to get the details, and am still waiting.

I looked again and more links from New Mexico newspapers talked about his death, so I realized it must be true, and that his family or his partner just hadn't deactivated his Facebook account. It is kind of weird to think I could still ask him to be my friend.


By chance, a recent newspaper article talks about dead Facebook friends. Should I write to Facebook to alert a staffer to Samm's page? Is that for his family and closer friends to do?

In the meantime, I don't even know why Samm died, except for "a lengthy illness." His death sat on my mind for several days.

I didn't really know him all that well anymore- the particulars of his life, who he saw, what he did - but I knew him well enough to know the essence of his character, and to have a thin photo album in my head of memories of things we did together. I'm grateful for that moment in our lives where we intersected in the Land of Enchantment.

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7 Responses to “When Facebook friends die”

  1. NaPueo:

    Yes, this happened to me. I got a call from a friend telling me that there was a memorial service for someone we knew that afternoon.
    I was surprised. I read the obituaries daily but somehow missed when his was printed. It was totally unexpected. He had just been to the doctor and everything looked ok.

  2. Sam Urai:

    I think it's better to remember his life and all the good times than dwell over his unexpected passing.

  3. Kage:

    I found out my aunty died AFTER the memorial service was held. It turned out that my uncle called my oldest sister. She was on a trip and uncle decided NOT to leave a message with her son.

  4. snow:

    i found out that a very dear friend, a former co-worker and kind of a second mother to me, had passed away months after she had died. i had, in fact, made lunch plans with her and some other former co-workers a few months before she died, but we never did go out because she got sick. we were supposed to reschedule the lunch after she got better but it turned out that she never got back to full health. though she went back to work - work was her life, she didn't want to retire (she was my mom's age - like 80!) - she ended up dying there. the one person who might have told me was on vacation and didn't find out until after the fact, too. my mom happened to see her obituary in an old newspaper and called me at work... i was so sad and shocked that i couldn't function for the rest of the day! 🙁

  5. RedZone:

    The older you get the more it'll happen. I only wonder why I am still here while the others are gone.

  6. David In Oregon:

    Since you're not a family member, I'd suggest just leaving Samm's page alone. If for some reason you feel an overwhelming need to do something, then try and contact either his family or some close friend, and communicate with them about it.

  7. RONW:

    I would think FaceBook likes to preserve a high count irregardless of the nature of affairs. Look at Blogger where sites have not been updated for years.

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