Saturday, January 25, 2014

Death in the Digital Age

Death is hard on everyone.

It is the hardest when you do not see it coming. When it comes to certain people I have trouble accepting their deaths. As a logical person I know everyone dies, but it does not really hit me until it happens.

So yesterday, right after I clocked in at work, my phone rings. Most of the time I ignore calls when I am a work, but I always look to see who it is. My Step-Mom does not call me often. Most of the time she tells me to call her, because I have weird work hours. For her, I answered the phone.

She called to tell me that my great-aunt died. She wanted me to hear it from her, before I could see it on Facebook...

Before the funeral arrangements could even be set, and phone calls made to family, my uncle decided it was a good idea to post about her death. He did not say anything disrespectful, but for whatever reason he felt that it was okay to make the death announcements that way.

So while drinking coffee, my step-mother read his post. This was the first we heard of it. She called other family to find out what happened, and to find out that the funeral was not even set up yet. They are not even sure where it is going to be. She had strong ties in multiple places.

So when did it become okay to do a family death announcement over social media? 

If you are asking me, I say never... No one should get information like that in their feed. I know my great-aunt was not young. I know I could have been closer to her. That does not mean I do not deserve a phone call.

Before rushing to your social media to post something, please remember that your actions effect other people. I understand the need to post your feelings about the people you love and lose but at least call the rest of the family first. Do not be selfish with posts...

Photo taken by Amanda McMillen

When my grand-father was alive I was very close to his two sisters. I love them both so much! When he died much of our family lost touch. I hardly ever see my aunts and cousins anymore. My kids have never even met most of these people. I do realize that this is my own fault. 

As a Buddhist I even realize that my grief is selfish. I should be celebrating her life not morning her loss. She was old and sick and now she is no longer suffering. At some point I will let myself work through all of this. I had to pretend I did not feel anything for 8 hours yesterday. I get to work 8 hours today too so I am trying to keep calm now. 

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