In honor of Matt’s birthday, I deleted his Facebook account. Probably not the sort of gift he would have appreciated if he were alive, but I learned my lesson with LinkedIn.
In an emotional fit one week not long after my birthday I updated his LinkedIn profile to indicate he was deceased. Later that week I was dismayed to be informed by a friend that the update had meant an email was sent to all of his connections asking them to “congratulate him on his new job” as deceased. Looking back over my emails, I discovered that I had received such an email, unfortunately several, but in not as large font size as I feared. After letting this unforeseen consequence sink in, I find that I don’t regret the decision. Maybe it sounds irreverent, but I believe Matt making it to heaven is a rite to congratulate him on, even if not so for his surviving loved ones. Also, it was much easier to update his profile than to respond individually to 30+ connection requests from the past two years and anyone looking him up in the future will now learn about his death. I want people to know. As I told my friend Mark M, there is also something worthwhile in the experience of “connecting” with Matt [through LinkedIn].
Facebook is a different story. (Someone told me people will write vitriolic things on the walls of deceased patrons.) Matt was not as invested in his Facebook account and it’s just not something I want to deal with, not having an account of my own. Unfortunately, I discovered too late that his Facebook account was necessary for Facebook login on LiveMosaic to work.
What have I done the past two years for Matt’s birthday? The first year (35), I had party which felt both like a celebration and a funeral. Matt loved having birthday parties for himself. Last year, I had a new deck and patio built as a birthday gift to myself. I spent a long time deciding what to do about the grass because it was so expensive and I wanted the deck most. I decided on replacing the Bermuda Tiff with Zoysia and it turned out to be the best part of the yard. I realized later that it was my birthday gift to Matt (36).