There is a special thing that happens now on the internet as we are more and more open to making friends with people nowhere near us, friends of friends or folks that find your video on youtube and hook up on SocNets. It isn’t just Facebook, but this happened to us there.
Through a case of mistaken identity we became friends with a lovely lady singer who happens to be friends with some of our other friends. She laughed with us when we found out she wasn’t who we thought she was but right then we became internet friends, connected through laughter, music and our musical friends.
We shared, as we all do, our limited view of each other’s lives, highs and lows, shows and pics of friends and gigs and food. She had a voice like an angel and we loved seeing her stage energy. It showed even in the still pics. You could just tell she was a joy to work with and that she took it very seriously. Studied it, listened to everything, found her voice, nurtured it and was continuing to grow while delighting audiences wherever she went. Her smile alone was enough to know her, so genuine and wide.
Quietly her posts became less frequent and soon came the post about the state of her health. Diagnosed, under treatment, hair falling out, she valiantly carried on. Smiling pics, lots of scarves, she returned for a bit, even gigged a bit if I’m not mistaken. With endless support from hundreds of friends, fans and family she stayed positive and we all hoped against hopeâ€¦ and then she was gone.
We knew her only there, so there is where we heard the news. There on my feed with the gun nuts, cat pics, silly memes and gig pics, a note from a family member that she was being made comfortable and soon another that she was gone. The anguish of her loved ones through those hours transmitted by the silence in between. As it is the way it goes, I saw both posts at the same time when I checked in to Facebook that evening and yet I could feel the hours as they passed in a blink.
I read her friendsâ€™ love and pain on her wall now and cried again… and again.
I heard her music, and I cried again.
It’s true you know, those things you hear about the “5 Stages of Grief.”
I’ll admit to mine… 1. Oh no?! Not her!Â 2. Why did I let myself get so invested in a stranger?Â 3. If only I had arranged a gig close enough so our paths would have crossed, we’d have sung together and hugged. 4. How our lives are changed by this odd relationship.Â She probably had no idea how much we liked her.Â We ran out of time.Â 5. I have nothing to offer the family, no good stories to relate how much we loved her.Â A prayer and maybe this article will offer us closure.
My wife and I were touched by her exuberance, her joie de la vie, her voice and her courage. She inspires me to be a better student of music and singer of songs.Â Not really knowing her at all, I’d describe her as free and easy. Is that too cliche? That’s how she made me feel. I embrace this part of social networking as I must with my IRL meatspace friends. We are friends, it doesn’t matter if I’ve never laid eyes on you or touched your hand or hugged your neck. It doesn’t matter. I have to mourn their loss as if I â€œactually knew them.â€ What matters to me now , more than ever, is that I let you know how I feel… before one of us is gone. Â
I love you, my internet friends, each and every one of you.Â Late at night I stalk your walls and feeds and keep up with what you’re doing. I see the pics of your kids and the smiles on your faces and I read about your pain, and pray with you for loved ones. I listen to all your stuff eventually and I try and keep up but it’s just too much. Don’t let me forget you; stay in touch and keep us posted and we’llÂ try and do the same.
Humans. We’reÂ a connected internet family now, a community. As we begin to act like it more, as it becomes more real, we suffer the loss of faraway friends as if they were right here. One moment talking under my fingers, on my screen, and then poof, you’re gone.
Goodnight Alisa B., sweet angel.Â Join the choir, my internet friend; I’ll be able to hear you from there.