Death of an Online Friend


Found out the other night that someone I knew on Facebook has died – almost certainly through suicide.


I stumbled across PJ one night online via a mutual acquaintance.


I could tell PJ was strange but he was hilarious and we became FB friends. I didn’t hear from him much or see him online often – he would disappear – but I began to build up a picture of him. He had been at uni and was doing a PhD in Maths. He was living back with his mum and dad, who seemed to be very supportive. He was funny but vociferous, an atheist, could be lewd, very into ranting and railing against people, society, systems.


I thought, ‘Think this guy has a mental illness’ but I never knew what it was. The one time I met him IRL it was clear he had a full-blown mental illness. I occasionally saw him walking in the area he lived in, a suburb I drive through from time to time. I think I glimpsed him a few weeks ago.


I found out he had died through reading the local paper very late the other night. There was a story saying that three men had died in recent weeks having hit by trains. PJ was mentioned – just in passing. Just one sentence. I thought it must be the PJ I knew from FB. I checked online and it was. I assumed he had committed suicide but I realised I just did not know very much about him at all really or what had led up to his death. That’s often the case on FB. You connect with people but many times it is in a superficial way (not always, though).


I felt sad that I did not know about him and had not known he had died. His FB page has been cleared of all comment and there was no online reporting on his death just the death notice and a thanks from the family for donations to MIND.


That’s was it. I’m sorry I did not know much about him while he was alive. And now he’s gone.


2 thoughts on “Death of an Online Friend

  1. Life is precious and we should treasure the opportunities we have not only to use it wisely, but also to inspire others to find reason to hope. I pray others will learn to love life more through their interaction with you and that they with you will find ever-increasing assurance in Christ.

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