Monday, July 19, 2010

My biggest regret

I've been debating whether or not to reveal this for a while now. I generally live my life without regret; even when I screw up, I usually learn something so I don't regret my mistakes or actions. Sure, there are some I wish I could take back, but ultimately everything is a learning experience and worth the joy or pain or whatever emotion comes with it.

This one... this one, though, eats away at me almost daily:

I defriended someone on Facebook about a month before she died.

We had been friends on and off since we were 14. I say "on and off" not because we fought or had an irreparable falling out, but because we rarely lived in the same place after high school and remained close mostly by our association with other people in our social circle. She was there for a lot of formative moments in my life. I think we were a lot more alike than either of us ever wanted to admit, having similar family situations and stuff going on in our lives. We were also both headstrong and loud, which made us collaborate and clash equally. We were kids. We were friends.

When I defriended her I was going through a period where I defriended lots of people who I felt I had little connection with or whose updates bothered me or who I decided I wasn't close enough to in real life to merit an online connection. I've always had this odd relationship with Facebook where I simultaneously love and loathe the constant updates of friends, family and people who I shared a hallway with at one point. I also am prone to these valleys where I think everyone is out to get me, and I irrationally single someone (or several people) out and react virtually, "deleting" their imaginary poison from my life. More often than not, that poison is self-created and administered, a figment of my insane mind and no more than that. So I clicked a link and let her go into the vast virtual word of fiber optic code.

And now she's gone. For real, this time. And every time I log on to Facebook and see the truncated friends list of 60 people in my social circle, I see her name without a profile picture, all information kept private except for the list of 60 who stayed with her online through their and her down periods, and without any way for me to make amends and have some last lingering reminder of her with me here on earth.

It'll be a year this coming November since she passed away. I believe she's the sixth or seventh in our graduating class to die far too young, but she was by far the closest to me of any of them. Maybe she hated me, maybe she didn't; we didn't talk enough for me to know either way. I don't want sympathy, nor do I want to be criticized for my absolute sadness over my hasty and illogical decision (both are part of the reason I've kept this to myself for so long). I had to get it out. I had to confess to what I did; a confession of the slight committed against someone who did nothing to me but be there, be a friend, and love those who I loved. I have pictures of her sharing in freshman year... my 16th birthday... making the "noise machine"... South Parkland soccer... the five-year reunion... and memories of her and our best friend, who I lived with for a year after college and who had to deliver the news of her best friend's death to the rest of us scattered throughout the country. I have those photos, tangible pieces of intangible memories, but that is all I have. That's all any of us have.

I see that blue portrait outline - the reminder of her inaccessibility - and am devastated by my action. Although the action of defriending may seem harmless in its virtual nature, to me it was horrible, me at my worst, inexcusable and eternally haunting. If I could do it all over, if I could take it back, I would let go of 20 other current "friends" before I let go of her. Fifty "friends." Maybe more. She knew me at my worst and saw me through to the person I am now. I wish she were here. I wish I hadn't clicked that button when I had. I wish we were 14 again.

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