The irony is he barely used it.
But the Facebook phenomenon exploded out of the teen scene around the time we started our MBAs in ’07, and it became one of those things that tied the cohort together. Many of us lived on campus, most in the same building, and it was a warm and friendly time, seeing a message box or Status pop up from someone just a minute down the corridor.
The greatest thing of all was that the diverse groups on the course never congealed into ethnic enclaves; MBA courses are a great leveller. Sharing kitchens, sharing frustrations, and laughing a lot. Writing a Wall comment that’d be understood by fewer than twenty; adding a Status you knew the whole class would identify with.
It was a special time.
And now, one of the people I shared that special time with is dead.
As the sun rolls around the world and a new day dawns across timezones, the diaspora of the 07-08 Warwick MBA cohort is waking up to a sad message. One of those truly great people – a genuinely together guy, someone capable of stepping outside his own needs and desires to help others or forge a common purpose – has died before his time.
So one by one, we visit the Facebook page of a dead colleague. And leave him a final message he’ll never see, but the rest of us will.
Such messages are for him and his family… but they’re also for us. Letting each other know we gave a damn, and that it makes a difference that we do.
That we still give a damn.
And this message is no different. Because we’re spread around the world now, but some of us read my blog, and they’ll know who I’m talking about.
The darkness is out there. Sooner or later, it takes us all, through chance or time. And in the darkness, there is nothing. The only thing that matters is to make a difference while you’re here. The world has no meaning or purpose save that which we impose upon it… so make sure you impose that meaning, and find a purpose you’re happy with. We’re all on a downhill slope, but while you’re on it you can grab a few outcrops of rock, pull yourself up a little, swing round laughing for a while. Forget the inexorable for a moment and live in the now.
Goodbye, neighbour. You were a terrific guy. But as well as your death, I’m thinking about life.
So I suppose I’m writing this for those left behind, myself included.
We’ve all got the same thing, regardless of its span: a lifetime. But none of us knows how long it’ll be. We may see the dawn of a new century, or technologies only dreamed of, or proof of life on other worlds. The death of friends is a gift: it tells us to make life sweeter. Do with it what we can, while we can.
Sooner or later, for all of us, everything goes dark.
So let’s live.