I Wished Happy Birthday to a Dead Person


I don’t know what came over me. I actually posted a Happy Birthday to William Oakley on his Facebook page when he has been dead for two years. For those of you who do not know this, Facebook lists the birthday of everyone you are connected to. Most Facebook members check that page every day and send wishes to everyone who has a birthday. It is conceivable that one person could receive hundreds of birthday wishes on his or her special day.

It is a nice Facebook plus to get lots of good wishes on your birthday, because as we get older there are less and less in our immediate circle to remember us. There was a time when I would get 50 cards in the mail on my birthday and dozens of calls. Today I get text messages and a few calls. Thank goodness for Facebook. Acquaintances are better than nothing.

That is why I wanted to remember William Oakley. I think I saw this guy three times in my life, but he was a big teddy bear and was very kind to me. I hated to see his page lay dormant on his birthday. What do I care? One day when his family checks the page they will think some old girlfriend chimed in.

Then I decided to visit the pages of Billy Horn, Ernie Sauer, and Karen Fisher — dead, dead, and dead. Their pages just lay there like tombstones in a whole new type of cemetery, a digital one. While every other page is filled with comments and activities, theirs are silent. That silence is deafening. The clock stopped, and all the energy has been sucked out of these pages.

In 30 years, a sizable portion of Facebook fan pages will be dead members. Our pages will be lifeless. Some may visit us once in a while and laugh at our silly comments. Others may vandalize our page. We will have no control. It is quite possible William Oakley didn’t want me to post a thing on his page. Why would he want Lois Whitman to have the last word?

Facebook needs to address this situation. Fast.

Facebook death policy. Click here.


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