I am heartbroken over the loss of a friend that I never met...

Jump to Last Post 1-19 of 19 discussions (27 posts)
  1. Kelsey Tallis profile image64
    Kelsey Tallisposted 14 years ago

    First of all, for the record, I understand the inherent ridiculousness of this... the fact that I am mourning someone I've never met. I am also extremely mindful of how easy it is to play tricks and fool people on the internet. I am also very, very, very sure this is not a joke, for what it's worth [mainly because: forum moderators, and the band the message board belongs to, all offered formal condolences and were apparently contacted by real life acquaintances of the deceased].

    Eight months ago I joined a message board and have spent a lot of time there. One person in particular struck me as one of the the most vibrant, sarcastic, snarkiest, sweetest, most adorable (and infuriating) person I have ever met (I will call him "S."). S. was a 19 year-old college student who was frighteningly intelligent, fearless, and yes, in poor health and foolish despite (perhaps because of?) it.

    Two days ago, he died (reason unconfirmed but a poor heart condition is currently believed to be the cause). And yes, I really believe the sources who confirm this. A farewell thread was started for him, and then "hidden" at the request of an ex-lover/close-friend (who I suspect was upset at board members who speculated that it was merely a joke). And yes, S. was gay/bisexual--and frankly, for those of you who are prejudiced against that lifestyle, PLEASE DO NOT POST! I don't want to hear your hate... I have no patience for vitriol right now.

    For the purpose of this thread, I am interested in what you think about bonds that are formed on the internet. I suspect you have all, at one time or another, felt an inexplicable connection to someone you see online represented only by words and pictures. And somehow, that person's spirit, or very essence, seems to shine right out of your computer screen.

    Despite my grief, this very fact intrigues me on an intellectual level. How do we form such close bonds without actual interpersonal contact? And what does it mean for our future as a species?

  2. lxxy profile image61
    lxxyposted 14 years ago

    *hugs* Kelsey, I can only begin to understand your grief. Being a..err, being of the net in so many ways it's not "ridiculous" at all to get attached to someone you've never physically met.

    Because you've talked with them, shared your thoughts and stuff, you have indeed met them.

    I've met a lot of people scattered across the globe over the years and I can't tell you how awesome our friendships have been, regardless of our age, race, sex, creed...the internet is a great equalizer; you have no appearances to worry about and while it's nice to see people face to face sometimes if all you want to do is chit chat, banter, and wonder you don't need all that flesh stuff in the way of it.

    I'm always here for you...



  3. Misha profile image63
    Mishaposted 14 years ago

    Hey Kelsey, you are definitely not alone smile In fact for the last couple of years I made new friends ONLY on the net. I am lucky no one of them died, but one of my friends is experiencing a personal transformation that really hurts me cause I think it is not to her benefit. Well, there is only so much we can do...

    1. Raven King profile image58
      Raven Kingposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Let's hope she's turning into a beautiful butterfly. smile

  4. profile image0
    Janettaposted 14 years ago

    Kelsey, first of al - *hug hug hug hug* and one more *hug*
    secondly-- it's not ridiculous at all. I have only been on HP for five weeks and have met some wonderful people who I feel I have a friendship with. I can also say I would feel sadness if any one of them were to fall seriously ill or pass away.  Friends can come around in all sorts of ways, the internet included.  No matter that you friendship was online and not in *real* life, it was still a real friendship.

    I think what bonds us on the internet, is the same things that bond us in life. Similar likes, and interests, things in common. We find communities and sites with people we can relate to, peole that will 'understand' us. People that will 'get' us.  We all need friends and for some, the anonymity we can keep if we choose via the internet, allows us to get out there and meet people we may never have had the chance to.

    When you are in a place, HP, for example, where others are there for the same reasons you are, doing the same things as you, feeling the same as you do-- it's hard not to feel a bond with them.

  5. trooper22 profile image61
    trooper22posted 14 years ago

    My wife and I extend our most sincere condolences.  A friend is a friend no matter how you slice it, if you felt close to this person, than you were.

  6. Eaglekiwi profile image74
    Eaglekiwiposted 14 years ago

    It is very easy to connect with people on the net ,its called an emotional connection.
    Whether people tell the truth or not,we feel (emotions) we can identify with.
    Years ago my sister and I used to chat on a well-known chat site. We had a ball ,good ,honest fun ,but I know there were many who played quite differently and for them it was life as they knew it, or a reality show complete with made-up characters. We heard of a person dying and witnessed a whole room of chatters mourn and audibly cry. That wasnt normal to me ,but it was very real to someone else.
    I know you dont want advice and its too late to guard your emotions so stay strong my friend and try to mend you heart with positive memories of your friend.
    God Bless.

    1. Kelsey Tallis profile image64
      Kelsey Tallisposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Kiwi, I know what you mean about people who "play" on the internet, and I've certainly seen my share of those. S. was not one of them. Some people just have a "ring of truth" around them, but yes, it's still subjective, and some see more "truth" in one individual than others... I do realize how bizarre this situation is to some, and if I were not experiencing it myself, I'd probably be like... wtf! You don't even know if they're real!

      About guarding my emotions, in this case I'm glad I didn't, because he was one of the most delightful and lovely people I've ever known, and even the pain of loss is worth the knowing...

  7. Kelsey Tallis profile image64
    Kelsey Tallisposted 14 years ago

    lxxy, Misha, Janetta, Trooper22,

    Thank you all for your lovely words (and *hugs*) :-). I've only really been meeting people on the internet since I found that forum so it's still rather new to me, but it is bizarrely compelling. And strangely comforting. I have to admit, there is something of simple convenience in friends you can just say goodnight too and turn off your computer. And there is such a strange and lovely freedom in not having to worry about getting to a specific physical location--as long as you have internet access wink, or thinking about how you look or what you are wearing...

    But yeah, the distance and lack of physical proximity is also a barrier. And sometimes you don't have immediate ways to reach a person you may really want to. But it still astonishes me how close you can become to people you never (and probably never will) see...

    Another friend of mine there refers to "real life" as the "meat world", LOL! And while we are all distant from one another (some more than others), it is also easier for us to come together and share our grief, and our stories about our friend...

  8. Lisa HW profile image63
    Lisa HWposted 14 years ago

    Kelsey, for all the "baloney" that's "out there", there are also a lot of people who are very real behind their online words.  People are people, and I think online friendships are just a new kind of relationship among humans.  I don't think there's anything at all weird about feeling bad.  I don't generally do chatting or make close friends, but even with just some casual exposure to people on sites I use, there are those times when someone will say something about some difficulty in their life; and one would have to not be human not to feel kind of bad or hope things work out ok for them.  Some people end up being "off-line friends" (or more), and some remain "close" online friends. 

    I think baloney is easy for most people to recognize after more than a few online encounters.  I've run into times on writing sites when administration will make the announcement that a member has passed away or is going through surgery (or whatever).   I'm guessing you'll feel bad and then move on (kind of like when we know anyone else we don't know very well dies or loses someone close).  I don't happen to get all that close to anyone online, but still I've had those times (like hearing someone had lost a child) when I feel bad even if I haven't "talked" to them, and have only "seen them around".

    1. Kelsey Tallis profile image64
      Kelsey Tallisposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Yeah, that's what I meant by the "ring of truth." For me, and others, it was in one of many "chat threads" on that particular board--different groups of people getting to know each other. There's actually a lot of people there who have met in real life also.

      Yeah, I can understand what you're saying. Either way, there are numerous people there I have also gotten to know. Some you gravitate to more than others, as you would in real life...

      Thanks for your input smile

      lxxy: "meatspace" LOL!

  9. lxxy profile image61
    lxxyposted 14 years ago

    Meh, meatspace. Who needs it? wink

  10. cashmere profile image79
    cashmereposted 14 years ago

    Hi Kelsey,
    I hope you are feeling less pain by now.
    It is natural to feel a sense of loss when some one you know dies. And in today's world when we are rushing off from one place to the other in real life, the only constant company is what we have online. These virtual friends are sometimes told things that you have not told family and friends. They are a huge part of your life and you need to accept that they too are human.
    They too are mortal. So I hope you feel better soon, but continue to post on forums and make new friends.

  11. profile image0
    Leta Sposted 14 years ago

    Absolutely, Kelsey.  This is just a new medium--but it's the same human stuff that makes the world go round.  I met my last two boyfriends online (yes, still with the current one, going on 5 years now), so of course I believe in these kinds of connections.

    People can trick each other in real life, too--I'd point out--that is nothing new.  I also believe that word-oriented people may find MORE truth in people represented for them in that way.  Don't think I'd doubt your instincts.

    Sorry about your friend.

    1. Kelsey Tallis profile image64
      Kelsey Tallisposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Cashmere & Lita, thank you both for your kind words :-). Lita, I'm glad you were able to form a long-term relationship with someone you might have never met except for the internet. And nice point about how sometimes it's easier to be more open about yourself when you have a greater sense of anonymity.

      S. made almost 17,000 posts on that forum in the 25 months he was there (and over 50 threads). Even people he barely spoke to or interacted with are upset about his death. Apparently S. wanted his member account deleted in the case of his death (he knew how poor his health was). Some people are very upset about his account being deleted. On that forum it does not mean his actual posts will disappear, but we would be unable to view a list of all his posts and all the threads he made or search for things based on his account name.

      Some members have been trying to explain to a very close friend of S.'s why they would like his account to remain intact; this friend is really struggling to understand why we are even asking him this when S. had made it clear that he wanted his account deleted in the case of his death. His friend doesn't seem to understand how we can be "grieving" someone none of us have ever met...

  12. profile image0
    \Brenda Scullyposted 14 years ago

    Sorry to hear of your loss....... maybe it is worse when you have never met the person actually........

    You cant really go to the funeral or see the family things that are usually part of the grieving process....

    1. Kelsey Tallis profile image64
      Kelsey Tallisposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      It is very odd. His friend is being very protective of S.'s "real" identity (for understandable reasons), so we are also unable to send notes of condolences or flowers to the funeral or to his family.

  13. profile image0
    \Brenda Scullyposted 14 years ago

    and if you could do that even you would feel like you had done something positive........ Maybe just have to pray for the person, and to comfort you..... I will remember you in my prayers also..

    1. Kelsey Tallis profile image64
      Kelsey Tallisposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you :-)

  14. lxxy profile image61
    lxxyposted 14 years ago

    Just to be morbidly silly, I wish to recount Vego the Carpathian...

    "Death is but a doorway, time but a window, I'll be back."

    Your friend's passing is a tragedy, but your love and memories will allow him to live on.

  15. AEvans profile image74
    AEvansposted 14 years ago

    That is sad, I have made so many new acquaintances on HP , if something seriously happened to one of them I as well would be devastated. My condolences and it is o.k. to feel the way you do.smile

  16. Wingrider profile image68
    Wingriderposted 14 years ago

    I just want to say therapy is for people that can't stomach vodka

    1. lxxy profile image61
      lxxyposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      And how!

      Time heals all wounds, not some ninny pretending to care about your life. We care about you, though, Kelsey. smile

  17. Pete Maida profile image60
    Pete Maidaposted 14 years ago

    Words can link us on a personal level.  Sometimes it is better to be more like spirits floating in cyberspace.  We slip by the natural tendency to discriminate based on appearance and get to know people at a different level.  Yes we get fooled; we all do, but our connection is not with the real world person it is with the cyber world person.
    I'm sure there is a real loss here and I'm deeply sorry for that; especially when it someone so young, but if it were not real you are still would be suffering the loss of your cyber friend and that feeling is real.
    I'm sorry for your loss and I hope you can be comforted by your other cyber friends.

  18. Kelsey Tallis profile image64
    Kelsey Tallisposted 14 years ago

    I don't think it's silly at all... :-)

    I can't help wondering if he'd be shocked at how many people there are truly grieved at his loss. I think he may have been, but I also think he knew how much we all cared for him. Sadly, I think we appreciated him more than his own family did...

    I know it's okay to feel the way I do, it's just frustrating that some people seem to have such a difficult time understanding how bonds can be formed on the internet...

    Wingrider: Lol!

    Thanks lxxy :-)

    Pete: Thank you. It's funny you mention "spirits floating in cyberspace": the day he died I picked up Charles de Lint's "Spirits in the Wires" http://books.google.com/books?id=M0Vr1F … p;resnum=5 a book that explores the way "meatspace" ;-) and the internet interrelate and change our perception of reality (it also addresses the idea that one's "shadow" as a reflection of the things you reject in yourself as you grow up).

    I am and have been. And it's nice to hear the viewpoints of people who didn't even know him as well. Thank all of you for taking the time to share your thoughts... :-)

  19. lxxy profile image61
    lxxyposted 14 years ago

    Family is only a group of people you accept into your heart, and although his parents apparently didn't, you did. And you were his family, as much as the rest of the board members.

    1. Kelsey Tallis profile image64
      Kelsey Tallisposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      That is so true. I do love my family, and I am truly blessed that they love me and honor who I am without expecting me to meet their preconceived ideas of who I should be... I wish everyone were so lucky. I've know too many people who felt they had to fit their parents' "idea" of who they "should" be rather than be who they felt they "needed" to be...

      In the end, family is more than genetics. It's more than just "blood"--in the end, family is heart, and soul, and mind. It's being accepted for who you are, not who you "should" be...


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://corp.maven.io/privacy-policy

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)