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Mack Williams: The loss of a Facebook friend

Mack Williams

Today’s column concerns the loss of a Facebook friend; but it’s not due to what you might first think: some disagreement, political or otherwise. The only disagreement involved in this case was the “disagreement” between death and life!
Many of our Facebook friends are friends of actual acquaintance, being relatives , old schoolmates, people with whom we have labored in the working world, or prayed with at church.
Then there are those friends whom we only meet and know from Facebook, those who chose us to be their friend, or were one of Facebook’s “recommendations” for friendship. In this case, the Facebook friend of today’s column chose me by “friend request”(Facebook lingo). And she left me by death’s ultimate, “unfriending.”
I had not seen her posts for several weeks; and when I thought to go on her Facebook website, I was shockingly met by a memorial post dedicated to her by another one of her friends.
My first thought was how hale and hearty she had seemed late last Summer when she had proudly posted pictures of her yard work and how hot and thirsty her work had made her! I think I remember telling her to take care; and she assuredly replied  that she was doing so.
She had listed, with mathematical precision all of the things she had accomplished, both in her yard, and with the exterior of her house on that hot day! I remember thinking that in such summer heat, the likes of me and a great many others would have stayed inside, enjoying the benefits of cool air.
Her husband, an art professor emeritus and painter (in a paraphrase: “those who can, sometimes also teach”) had passed away some years ago. She he had posted some of his beautiful works (many of a religious nature) for sale, not for the money, but in order that they should be appreciated and looked after by others when she eventually left this world, as she was in her early seventies.
She also loved posting snapshots of her cats; but whereas many people only post scenes of their “feline friends” in cute poses, she posted many “thermal” pictures of them, as they would often be nestled together, lying on top of her communally, like some “cat blanket,” or perhaps one even appearing to be a “cat pillow.” One of them, seemingly even more dedicated to her than the rest, she gave the Irish name “Liam” (meaning strong-willed warrior and protector).

Not content with feeding domesticated feline friends, she also put out food for undomesticated creatures: several raccoons and the occasional o’possum. Those wild, outside things (“Where the Wild Things Are”) have probably adapted to her absence by now, as she left this world on 1/21/20; and I hope that her feline “devotees” all have new, equally caring owners.

She was a past-graduated music major; and we had discussed our musical likes in Facebook private messaging. I remember telling her my favorite tenors were Enrico Caruso and John McCormack; and I remember her telling me her favorite tenor was Jussi Bjorling. I remember her also liking the Tschaikovsky Symphony No. 6 (Pathetique), as well as some Japanese folk songs, along with much more music.
There is one other thing which I’ll always remember: in her Facebook profile picture, as well as other posted pictures in which she was visible, she always wore a flower tucked closely behind her left ear. Both she and the flower were quite becoming! Her favorite bloom, the one on her Facebook profile picture, was that of a white flower of the tropical plumeria plant; but other flowers filled in when plumeria was not available. If she were here today, I would Facebook message her this (and should have previously): “A flower needs not baby’s breath nor ferns to put it in its best light, but only your ear!”
In closing, experiencing a feeling of loss over the death of a never-met, Facebook friend isn’t just “e-grieving;” it’s the real thing.

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