“i know everyone has their complaints about the new facebook format. my biggest complaint is how it slows down my streaming of porn.” – Mike Holgers’ last Facebook post, October 26th 2011

“Standing in hellz kitchen with an apron and a hairnet ready to work.” – Brian Sonntag’s last Facebook post, March 13th 2012

This is kind of fucked up, for many reasons. First, I have lost a second friend in less than six months. Brian Sonntag, a friend from my youth in Crystal Lake, apparently died of heart failure in his sleep sometime during the night of the 13th-14th.

While Brian and I had been out of contact for over 15 years, the wonders of Facebook and social media brought us back in touch in the past few years. In that time I learned that he is still skating, snowboarding and, it seems, surfing when possible. He has a son who he is terribly proud of. And, in a surprising note, shares a common interest with me, one that few could’ve predicted all of those years ago: We are both fans of Wisconsin Badger football.

Then, suddenly and without warning, he is gone.

This one was a bit more of a shock than Mike’s death back in October because, and let’s be honest here, Mike wasn’t in the best of shape. I am only guessing here, but his weight may have been a strong contributing factor to his death. Brian, on the other hand, seemed to be taking fairly good care of himself. He was athletic in the “alternative sports” kind of way, and didn’t seem to show any signs that something was wrong, health-wise.

Bummer, man.

Additionally, my brother-in-law’s wife’s step-mother (wow) also passed away suddenly a couple of weeks ago. In her case, she wasn’t feeling well for a few days, went home from work, lay down to rest in bed and never woke up. Some type of stroke or aneurism, I believe. I never met the woman, but understand the grief that is being felt at the sudden passing of a much-beloved person who, by all indications, was in good health.

And so these three deaths in such a short period have allowed me to begin to appreciate another fact of life. It is damned fragile. One day your running around doing whatever and, the next, you are gone. Nothing has reinforced this better than Facebook. I mean, just look at the innocuous final posts by both Mike and Brian*. Mike, cracking a joke about Facebook’s new look, and Brian talking about, well… I ‘m not sure. Is it an analogy, or was he actually getting ready for work?

Still, look at those posts. Life and living. And how quickly it is all gone.

It makes me ponder the concept of ‘last words’. We always seem to think that they will be something profound or whatever but, in reality, they can probably be kind of lame. I mean. Mike suffered a heart attack at work at the oil-change place he worked. So it is entirely possible his last words could’ve been “Now we also recommend changing your sparkplugs every 30,000 miles,” or something like that. And Brian’s could easily have just been “Good night,” to whomever he was with.

I don’t know what else to say, other than that this sucks.

*This, technically, wasn’t Brian’s very last post. He did share someone else’s later that day, but this was his last personal comment on FB