I very seldom actually interact with these people, outside of a mutual sharing and/or "liking" of posts, but I still feel like I know them to some extent. Even if we know nothing about each other, and never actually speak, they make me feel less alone and remind me that there are people out there who care about the fate of non-human animals as much as I do. There really are those who are trying to make the world a better place for all of us.
That being said, today when I checked Facebook, I learned that one of my friends had passed away. It felt like this terrible loss, even though I never really knew her, because I knew that there was now one less person in the world who cared about helping animals. I also regretted the fact that I didn't actually know her. Many of my other friends were commenting and talking about things that they had done with her and I realized that even though I feel like I know all of these amazing people, I really don't. I've never been good at getting to know people, online or in real life. So I just follow other activists posts and learn about them simply from the things that they share publicly. It's far from the same thing as being actual friends with them, but it does help to alleviate some of the isolation of being a vegan in an area where the are (almost) no other vegans.
I guess what I'm really trying to say here is that, at least in my case, there is an automatic bond between animal activists. When one of us is gone, it is a blow to us all. I just want all of the other vegans out there to know that, whether we know each other in real life, or are friends on Facebook, or have never interacted with each other at all, you are very important to me. I know I'm not good at showing it, even on Facebook, but I feel a deep connection to each of you. Just knowing that you are out there makes the world feel a little less cruel and heartless.
And, to my friend who is no longer here, thank you for all that you did for non-human animals. Even though we didn't know each other, I will miss you.
We're all in this together.