Attending the funeral of a 'virtual friend'?

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    May 22, 2012 5:00 PM GMT
    Should one attend the funeral of a 'virtual friend'?
    As I mourn the death of a friend I made on a cricket forum, I am left pondering when a cyber friendship becomes a 'real' one
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/may/22/should-one-attend-funeral-virtual-friend

    An interesting article in today's Guardian, what do you think is it ok to go to an online only friends funeral if he or she died? I think it would a bit too weird, seeing all his family and everything.
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    May 22, 2012 7:39 PM GMT
    Depends of course upon the depth of the relationship.

    If he was friends enough with the deceased that he was mentioned to the family before, it wouldn't be as awkward.


    I was friends with someone online for nearly 4 years. We talked every day, played video games together often, talked about icky health problems, made videos of our homes and computer desks to get a feeling of what it would be like hanging out at the other's house. He was in the USA, I in Canada. We planned a visit but because of health reasons, it didn't happen. In any case, we were the largest presence in each others' lives. It was non-romantic entirely, we were companions in life until one of us died.

    His family had practically disowned him when he was younger and they hadn't spoken to him in years. Sadly, when he died he didn't have a funeral (didn't want one), but even if he did, I would have been the most important person to make an appearance, and one of the only who did. We never did meet in person. He was a friend of mine.
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    May 22, 2012 7:47 PM GMT
    I mourned a few online friends, that later turned out to be fraudulent deaths. Then they returned online with new SNs.

    I'll use the Internet to send condolences, that sort of thing, but only regarding someone I already know is dead, verified by traditional means. Show me the public obituary, and other proofs, or you ain't dead.
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    May 22, 2012 7:54 PM GMT
    Art_Deco saidI mourned a few online friends, that later turned out to be fraudulent deaths. Then they returned online with new SNs.

    I'll use the Internet to send condolences, that sort of thing, but only regarding someone I already know is dead, verified by traditional means. Show me the public obituary, and other proofs, or you ain't dead.


    Wow to turn a innocent thread into some conspiracy theory propaganda.
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    May 22, 2012 7:59 PM GMT
    dontknowwhy said
    Art_Deco saidI mourned a few online friends, that later turned out to be fraudulent deaths. Then they returned online with new SNs.

    I'll use the Internet to send condolences, that sort of thing, but only regarding someone I already know is dead, verified by traditional means. Show me the public obituary, and other proofs, or you ain't dead.


    Wow to turn a innocent thread into some conspiracy theory propaganda.
    Actually I've seen this happen on a message board I used to frequent.
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    May 22, 2012 8:01 PM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidI think it's a sweet gesture. If it's not too difficult and you're the same area, then why not?

    I agree. It's not like the family is going to know everyone there anyway.
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    May 22, 2012 9:50 PM GMT
    Tenebrism said
    dontknowwhy said
    Art_Deco saidI mourned a few online friends, that later turned out to be fraudulent deaths. Then they returned online with new SNs.

    I'll use the Internet to send condolences, that sort of thing, but only regarding someone I already know is dead, verified by traditional means. Show me the public obituary, and other proofs, or you ain't dead.

    Wow to turn a innocent thread into some conspiracy theory propaganda.
    Actually I've seen this happen on a message board I used to frequent.

    Yeah, you wonder why people fake their own deaths online. I suppose some kind of play for sympathy. Oh, and disregard dontknowhy, he stalks me in the threads and in RJ Chat with deranged posts, a demented obsession he has.
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    May 22, 2012 10:00 PM GMT
    dontknowwhy said
    Art_Deco saidI mourned a few online friends, that later turned out to be fraudulent deaths. Then they returned online with new SNs.

    I'll use the Internet to send condolences, that sort of thing, but only regarding someone I already know is dead, verified by traditional means. Show me the public obituary, and other proofs, or you ain't dead.


    Wow to turn a innocent thread into some conspiracy theory propaganda.


    It isn't propaganda, and it's happened here on RJ at least once.

    To the OP, back in the olden days, BTI (before the internet) there were penpals, often maturing to phoning long distance. A friend went through this when her penpal died. She went to the funeral, sat quietly in the back and grieved, then left before the reception afterwards.

    I'm sorry for your loss of a friend.

    kind regards,

    -Doug
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    May 22, 2012 10:13 PM GMT
    I would think it would be fine to go. Work colleagues might go, for example, and not know family or personal friends at all.

    Whatever you decide to do, I'm so sorry. Hugs.
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    May 22, 2012 10:19 PM GMT
    I'd like to take a minute to make a fool out of showme to remind everyone that the topic is about an article, and the OP is posting the article.
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    May 22, 2012 10:26 PM GMT
    meninlove saidTo the OP, back in the olden days, BTI (before the internet) there were penpals, often maturing to phoning long distance. A friend went through this when her penpal died. She went to the funeral, sat quietly in the back and grieved, then left before the reception afterwards.

    I'm sorry for your loss of a friend.

    kind regards,

    -Doug

    Doug: When my late partner died he had many AOL and other online friends. Some of whom had stayed with us, so no longer "virtual" just how the friendships began.

    When he died I notified them all online, since I had his passwords, and also used some phone numbers I found. But I made sure to provide verification links to the legal newspaper obituary, and also to the funeral home site that had posted a page for him, because I had witnessed these online death frauds before. NOT "conspiracy theory propaganda" as the wingnut dontknowhy contends here, but a cruel deception many of us have seen perpetrated online before.

    And you know what? He got flowers wired to his memorial service, and sympathy cards mailed to me, from many of his online friends. And 2 actually flew up to attend in person. I could hardly believe it.

    The Internet is a wonderful social resource, when it's not misused.
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    May 22, 2012 10:29 PM GMT
    JPtheBITCH saidAny of you other long-timers remember the guy I was talking about?


    Sure do. What a fiasco that was. The roomie admitted the whole thing before he yanked the proverbial RJ plug.
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    May 22, 2012 10:31 PM GMT
    I only attend virtual funerals for virtual deaths.
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    May 22, 2012 10:31 PM GMT
    SkinnyBitch saidI'd like to take a minute to make a fool out of showme to remind everyone that the topic is about an article, and the OP is posting the article.


    lol, well bless my buttons as well as I thought he was prefacing the article with a personal experience. icon_redface.gif
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    May 22, 2012 10:43 PM GMT
    meninlove said
    JPtheBITCH saidAny of you other long-timers remember the guy I was talking about?


    Sure do. What a fiasco that was. The roomie admitted the whole thing before he yanked the proverbial RJ plug.

    I vaguely remember it, too.

    Another reason I provide verification of every serious item I post here. Trusted online friends get the hospital phone & room numbers when we have a medical emergency, so they can phone there themselves. (This last one almost 3 weeks ago my partner wouldn't let me, however, he's still in a kind of denial that it happened)

    The point is, that because of these online frauds we have to be skeptical of such drama announcements. And if the drama is happening to us, appreciate the need to provide verification for what we're telling others online. We're all only as real as characters on a computer screen.
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    May 22, 2012 10:43 PM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidI think it's a sweet gesture. If it's not too difficult and you're the same area, then why not?

    I agree, it's easy to get to know guys online and many turn into friends whether you've met them in person or not. Yes, on occasion there's someone who fakes a death but the reality is that if you know them well enough to consider attending a funeral, then you've probably know that they're real.
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    May 22, 2012 10:53 PM GMT
    JPtheBITCH said
    SkinnyBitch saidwe were companions in life until one of us died.

    Which one of you?


    I thought undead were generally more incoherent...

    I guess he's a vamp rather than a zombie, hehehe icon_lol.gif
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    May 22, 2012 11:07 PM GMT
    intensity69 said
    JPtheBITCH said
    SkinnyBitch saidwe were companions in life until one of us died.

    Which one of you?

    I thought undead were generally more incoherent...
    I guess he's a vamp rather than a zombie, hehehe icon_lol.gif

    Shed a tear while telling that story FYsI.
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    May 22, 2012 11:15 PM GMT
    I've pondered this a lot actually, especially in the last year, i've had 3 "friends" "die on facebook".

    There's a kind of cold, awkward and harsh realization that people you meet and interact with online, are indeed human and their flesh will cease to produce life one day and they will no longer exist to chat with you about random things or poke you on facebook. One guy in particular i met on gay.com 5 years ago and almost a year ago, i went to his page after a month of not hearing from him, or seeing him comment on posts on my wall and I saw a flood of condolence and miss you messages and sure enough, he had died a week prior.

    I wondered what happened, as it seemed that through comments that his death was unexpected and violent and possibly suicide. I did not feel though, having never met him, only chatting with a lot through the years, virtual coffee buddies, that i should openly ask how he died. His parents and siblings would write on the wall and one person openly asked what happened, and the brother wrote "At this time we would like our privacy respected, it is not a 'facebook' conversation."

    I made the right call. Instead, i found someone who was close to him and but not a family member.. a co-worker rather and sent them polite respectful note that in the most tactful way possible asked "How did he die?" and the co-worker wrote me back a nice letter.. with all details of his death and the funeral- how he looked in the casket and that he died in no pain.. and confirmed he did take his own life, went to his family home and shot himself- he had been having a rough month.

    when i asked if there was anything i could do as basically a stranger to his surviving family members- the co-worker said.. You know he worked for this charity ________, you could donate in his memory." and i did that..and felt that was indeed the right balance.

    2 other 'friends' on facebook died, with me finding out only when deciding to write on their walls..and then see a flood of "miss you" messages. The feeling is horrible.. it;s sad..and it also leads you to question the false nature of facebook and internet communication. You THINK you are close to someone, when you aren't... you find out they were depressed and lonely and killed themselves.. or had cancer and didn't tell anyone.. or a drug problems and overdosed.. yet the internet can only allow you to get as close as a screen and alpha numeric characters and some photos can. It's important to note, that you aren't really someones friend or know someone because you facebooked them and had a few Instant message chats and know what their favorite food is.

    After that experience, i wondered if it would be "foul" or "tacky" for facebook to do a death notice for friends.. If a certain number of friends inside a close circle do indeed report a person as dead, could facebook send a tasteful little message that someone has passed on?

    I fear the next time i go to someones page and find out they have been dead for almost a year! like one guy.
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    May 22, 2012 11:40 PM GMT
    Does anyone know "Christophe" in NYC, hot 35yo guy with an amazing body and an amazing sex life but also serious diabetes issues? Years ago we would say HI in Yahoo Groups from time to time, and one day he just disappeared. No one knows anything about him.
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    May 22, 2012 11:44 PM GMT
    Like I should talk. icon_cool.gif My current email is NakedBudd6@yahoo.com ...the five previous incarnations (you can probably guess who they were) were assassinated by the Yahoo police, although one of them committed suicide a few years ago. icon_eek.gif

    No drama, no trauma. You can always find me at NakedBudd7@yahoo.com icon_cool.gif
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    May 22, 2012 11:54 PM GMT
    some interesting replies here, the challenges of living in the 21st century. Someone on the Guardian website posted a comment about how they should stream the funeral over the net and I bet in few decades it will be the norm to do that.
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    May 23, 2012 12:20 AM GMT
    IrishFella saidShould one attend the funeral of a 'virtual friend'?
    As I mourn the death of a friend I made on a cricket forum, I am left pondering when a cyber friendship becomes a 'real' one
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/may/22/should-one-attend-funeral-virtual-friend

    An interesting article in today's Guardian, what do you think is it ok to go to an online only friends funeral if he or she died? I think it would a bit too weird, seeing all his family and everything.


    That's a really great question. As a baseball writer, I go on Twitter pretty often. I've established some pretty close relationships with a few people I follow on there. We text, talk on the phone occasionally, give each other advice, and occasionally meet up. Really, it depends on the depth of the relationship. There are probably five guys for whom I would attend their funeral. Maybe another ten would get a card and flowers sent to their families. It depends on the nature of it.
  • barriehomeboy

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    May 23, 2012 12:35 AM GMT
    Back when Gay.com actually had people chatting on it, there was a guy from the northern Ontario room who was very cute and very popular. He killed himself and everyone that chatted there was devastated. We would have all been justified and genuinely mourning if we could have rounded up enough buses to get us to Sudbury. (Long story.)
  • HndsmKansan

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    May 23, 2012 12:58 AM GMT
    If you really took the time to talk and get to know him, the fact you had not physically met in person doesn't matter.... provided you are comfortable with the process and he or she is close, I'd attend!