Wednesday, 23 December 2009

A United (Cold) Front

Today is Christmas Eve eve and it seems the festive season is well and truly upon us again. And that means the end of yet another year. I swear someone keeps pressing fast forward...

December always seems to be a time for reflections, reconnections and wrapping things up (quite literally). Last week I finally got around to responding to 2 emails from people I'd met travelling many years ago, one dated August 2008 and the other November 2006!!! Hmm, I guess 3 years is a rather excessive response time.

This week I've received 1 e-newsletter and 3 e-cards, including a photo of my nephews stood by their first ever Christmas tree grinning from ear to ear, and another of a greyhound in a Santa hat signed from my 'fairy dogfather' - bless.

Courses have come to an end, goodbyes have been expressed to people going off on their travels and loose ends are being securely tied up. I'm not usually one to make New Year's resolutions (for fear I won't be able to stick to them perhaps), but I am intrigued to see what the year has in store. I'm hoping that 2010 will be a good year, not just for myself but for all those around me. I hope that our burdens will become lighter, for we are all suffering in one way or another.

A very Merry Christmas to you all and a peaceful and joyous New Year.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Facebook Forever!

Things seem to have got a bit surreal for the Seaside Scribbler. Earlier this week I found myself having a conversation over a hot chocolate with a Christian friend. There we were talking about life, death and the Universe, as you do, and the subject of the afterlife came up. She asked me what I believe happens to us when we die. I find this sort of question somewhat uncomfortable and, after squirming a little in my seat, told her I believe some part of us lives on, although I'm not sure exactly what: some part of our soul or spirit maybe. Two of my friends died in a car accident two and a half years ago and I can't quite bring myself to believe they're completely and utterly gone so, yes, I do believe that some part of them is still out there somewhere.

I asked her the same question and she duly replied "I believe there's a heaven and a hell and if you're accepted into heaven then you live for eternity in the presence of God". I asked her if she believes her conscious mind will live on and be reincarnated into a different body. She said she doesn't believe in reincarnation but thinks we will be given a new body. I was rather confused by this apparent contradiction but let it go.

A few days later I was checking Facebook for the first time in weeks and, you know that little panel on the right where it kindly offers suggestions for who you might want to become friends with? Well, who should pop up, but one of the aforementioned late friends. I know I said his spirit is still out there somewhere, but in Facebook? Come on, what did he do to deserve that? Or maybe this is his idea of heaven, leaving his mark on the online networking world and making sure no-one forgets what he looked like.

Which leads to an interesting question: how does Facebook deal with death? It can tell me all it likes that we have 6 mutual friends but I know my friend request will never be accepted. So his funny frowning face will continue to follow me as I go about my Facebook business, eternally trapped in the social media heaven and/or hell in which he now finds himself. Maybe I'll send him a hug.

P.S. Woah, now I'm totally freaked out. I just finished writing this post, then decided to Google "How does Facebook deal with death?" and came across this article from The Guardian. It refers to an example of a profile which reads "Andrew has no recent activity" because he died last year. Yes, the friend was called Andrew and, yes, he died a year before the article was written. Nuff said.