My sister Vickie died on April 6th, 1994. Leukemia. It was awful. It still is. She never met my kids. Her own daughter was a toddler at the time and never got to know her own mom.
Think about 1994 for a minute. It was only 21 years ago but at the same time, it’s ancient history, technologically speaking. There was no internet. No Facebook, no Twitter. No cell phones. Did people have pagers? I can’t remember. Only 21 years later, we live in a completely different world. If I die today, what will I be missing in 2036? Will people be living on Mars? I’m only half joking.
I got on this train of thought because I decided to google Vickie’s name and her high school senior picture came up in the images from her high school alumni site. Isn’t that weird? She died never knowing about or even conceiving of the internet in any way, and yet her picture lives on, digitally speaking, forever haunting the internet. If she were here now, she’d be pissed because it’s a shitty picture, really. She was beautiful but you’d never know it from her hairstyle and fashions of 1975.
Have you ever thought about what digital imprint you are leaving behind for your loved ones? I have at least two facebook friends I can think of that have died. Their pages are still up and people periodically leave comments on them and “talk” to their dead friend. I miss you, you would have loved this, all sorts of things. Their facebook pages have become digital memorials.
If I have any sort of warning about my death, I’m going to make my page public. That way, future generations can see all of my pictures, my likes and dislikes, my political opinions (see, Republicans, you should have listened to me about climate change). They’ll be able to see all of the great music that I spent my life obsessing about and which sports teams I lived and died with (will the Sabres and Bills ever win the big one?).