Farewell, Facebook

On Friday, July 31, 2015, my beloved dog, Captain Basco, died at home at 9:15 a.m. Since that moment, when I held him as he died and watched the light leave his eyes, I’ve been thrown into something that feels like an existential crisis. I dare not leave the house, except to walk or run, for fear that any slight trigger will remind me painfully of our loss and turn me into an uncontrollable, sobbing mess. Furthermore, I want to stay close to my husband, Chuck, for whom the loss is even more excruciating. Basco and Rosie, our female Chihuahua/Jack Russel mix, defined every moment of Chuck’s life: literally. Basco usually woke us between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. with a loud, “get the hell up and feed me” howl. From there, Chuck’s days were punctuated by meds for Basco in the morning, treats for both dogs at noon, meds at dinner time, and treats and meds before bed. Basco had to be assisted with steps higher than three inches and tottered everywhere he went, which wasn’t far. Basco needed Chuck and gave him purpose, especially during the school year when I’m gone most of the week.

Some people won’t understand this: “It’s a damn dog,” they’ll say. “Get over it already.” They will never understand. Others absolutely do understand, and for them, we don’t even have to explain. My sister, Julie, was so upset she couldn’t eat her lunch on Friday, and both my sisters tried to send flowers, ones that never came due to an irresponsible florist. Our good friend, Ron, still has his “Charlie” in the freezer, after he died a couple years ago. Seems odd, to me, but I will never second guess the grief of losing a companion animal. Other pet-loving friends just nod and say, “I know. It’s the worst.”
Thinking about why this is so painful, I realized that our animals are different from our human relationships for three reasons: they can’t talk and tell us what is happening; they spend all their time with us, every moment that we allow it; and they need us in a way that no one else does, offering unconditional love despite any reason we might not deserve it, and for most of us, there are many times we have not earned that devotion.

What does all this have to do with Facebook? As I’ve tried to work through my grief—surprised as anyone by the magnitude and viciousness—I realized that I waste a lot of time, much of it through social media. While I love that I can stay virtually close to distant friends and relatives, I resent that I am subjected to constant marketing, that I have to wade through all forms of political garbage and urban legends (that some poor fools believe), and that I let myself get distracted by inane quizzes or celebrity news or other vacuous junk. My time should be more valued and more thoughtfully disbursed; I should read more books, write more of anything, study more pedagogy, play more, and spend more time with live humans and animals.

I value my Facebook friends because they are my real friends. Not one to “friend” every acquaintance I know or friends of friends, my FB friends are also my real-life friends though many of them I will rarely or ever see. This is a real loss, one I really regret, but it’s time for me to take a break from social media and live more in the moment and less in virtual reality. I hope that friends will keep in touch through email or phone. I will, hopefully, write more on my blog, and I can be contacted through that by leaving comments.

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Basco was “just” a dog, but I loved him deeply, and I am going to honor him and the thirteen years he gave us by becoming a better human. Farewell for now, Facebook, and rest in peace our beloved Captain Basco, Puppin, Pudge.

8 thoughts on “Farewell, Facebook”

  1. I am so very sorry for your loss, Karen and Chuck. Those furry friends are so loved and so missed when they are gone. Aren’t we the lucky ones to have had such good pals throughout their lives? I still miss my Garf years later. There is nothing at all like a friend who will greet you at the door after work, rubbing against your leg, purring (or barking). They love us no matter what and really, how many people friends are willing to do that. Hugs to you and Chuck 3 ❤

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    1. Terry, I value your friendship and appreciate your understanding of our pain. Who knew it would be like this? If we had known it would be so painful, we still would have got him, and I’m glad we didn’t know because it would have clouded every day until it happened. Each day seems to be slightly better; the world isn’t quite as gray today, as it was yesterday, and some day the memories will invoke smiles not tears. Please stay in touch and know you have a friend in me.

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      1. They may be a different species, but they are never “just a dog ” in my world. I hope that the good memories will comfort you and your husband more each day. We are finally able to say our latest sweet dog’s name with a smile, yet there is still a huge hole in our home that nothing will fill.
        I hope to be able to stay in touch with you.

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      2. I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s never complete acceptance. Much like a human loved one, it seems like the experience of a loved animal stays with people forever. It marks them somehow, probably for the better, I think. I know this experience is making me a better person, and I know that growth is painful. I’m going to try to endure it with good grace and good humor. Thank you for the support, Lora. It really helps to know that others have felt the same way and even survived it. Please do, keep in touch.

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      3. Oh, Karen, I enjoy your friendship and virtual company so much. I will keep in touch! I hope you continue to blog.

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  2. Hi Karen – I am so sorry. There just aren’t words that can express the loss. I still remember the morning we lost Lucky as though it were yesterday. They are such loyal friends. Remember the good times and cherish them. We are all far better off having had the experience even though it is so painful. It will get better, but you will always remember them. I have also been spending less time on facebook and more on having fun with family and friends. I so agree with you and all this social media. I love it for keeping in touch but not all the other stuff.

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  3. Karen, I wish I could hug you. I know the heartache, and two years later I still think about my baby on a daily basis. The pain is so intense at first, and then it lessens, but we will never stop missing those little bastards. Ugh. I’m so sorry. With regards to leaving FB, I’ve been toying with the idea for the past few months. I have more reasons to leave it than to stay, but I just haven’t pulled the plug yet. The main reason I keep it is because of my blog. Most of my readers click over from FB. Anyways, I hope to see you on here, and I’m thinking of you.

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    1. Tobi, I love your blog, and I love the pictures of your children and your family!! Those are some of the things that make me want to stay on FB! I will continue to follow your blog, either way, and thank you for the love. I’m feeling it. ♥

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