Saturday, August 10, 2013

Whenever someone I love dies, I put an event for that day in my calendar and set it to repeat yearly.

It's like an electronic graveyard. Throughout the year I wander through it, stopping to reflect as I come across the digital headstones. There are only a few right now, but it will fill up as life continues for me and ends for others.

Living our lives on the Internet means dying our deaths on the Internet, in all its indifferent, binary, perfectly preserved glory. Not only does a tinny electronic bell herald the anniversary of someone's death, but if I wanted to, I could scour my online life to review my precise thoughts and emotions at the time.

I could even find a person's own pre-death online presence. Access their thoughts and feelings, right up until the end, in many cases. 1

It's a curse and a blessing. Reliving pain in high resolution isn't pleasant, but it offers a form of immortality, both to the dead and to the ephemeral memories and emotions of the living. Gigabytes and gigabytes of ghosts.

1 (Not the ones that inspired this post though; they were dogs. RIP M&M).