When my friend Aaron unexpectedly died several years ago, I gained firsthand experience with a growing online phenomenon: mourners turning to online spaces following the death of a loved one. In what follows, I present details from Aaron's Facebook page in order to illustrate two specific observations: 1) Digital technologies are reconfiguring the permanence of death, inviting the living to recreate the deceased as a heavenly intermediary, and 2) this continued virtual existence of the deceased alongside the constant accessibility of digital technologies is opening a space for death-related egocentrism. As I have observed Aaron's wall over the past several years, I have at times admittedly felt like a voyeur observing the unaware. Although Aaron had, by becoming my Facebook friend, granted me permission to see his wall, I am aware that I am observing sensitive and intimate expressions I would not otherwise see. I strive to remain cognizant of the fact that Aaron is not just a Facebook profile; he is someone's son, brother, and friend. He was my friend. I hope the measures I have taken to respect Aaron's memory, identity, and those of his family and friends communicate this awareness.

About the Author(s)

Christine Martorana is a Ph.D. candidate in Rhetoric and Composition at Florida State University. She is currently finishing her dissertation on feminist agency and activism, a project she loves because it has allowed her to learn from and talk to some very smart, creative, and courageous women. She also enjoys practicing yoga, reading books by Margaret Atwood, and drinking warm lattes.



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