the place where we overshare our political views, selfies and food pictures.
we didn't have internet in my house until i was halfway through my high school years and when i got a cell phone you still had to pay per every text sent and received. facebook required you to have a college email address to join and instagram just didn't exist. i feel fortunate to have experienced those years of my life hashtag free, but what about living through a death on social media? what about being dead on social media?
when a death occurs people seem to rush towards facebook, instagram, twitter etc. often times without thinking about the grieving family left behind or the persons life that has just ended. we rush to post first. first to break the news, first to share a picture. this need to stake a claim in the lives of those directly affected. has this new way of showing and sharing grief become the modern way of mourning loss? have we abandoned casseroles and handwritten cards for 140 character text boxes?
when tim died i turned away from social media. tims death felt too big for facebook. i felt physically wounded and the last place i wanted to share that was a platform that is littered with funny animal videos. this didn't stop people from sharing mine and tim's personal business though. people were sharing the details of tim's death when i wasn't ready to accept it in black and white. people were sharing photographs of tim's headstone when i hadn't even seen it in person (they take awhile to come in). it was heartbreaking. as much as i know that people need to express grief, it felt cruel. it felt like an invasion of our life and we hadn't invited anyone in. people started tagging him in any and all pictures attached with their RIP messages. i wasn't ready. i felt they were rushing me. that they were speaking his death into an existence that i wasn't ready to live in yet. it was one more thing that was taken from me. one more thing that i had lost control over.
As the great Nora McInerny put it in her article for Time "We live on the Internet. We Die Alone;" dying is private. Dying is not an occasion for you to stop by and unburden yourself of things unsaid and undone. Death is not the time for you to declare your love and friendship. That should have been lived and shared everyday with the people who mattered. Not your old college roommates cousins sister who came to visit you that one time during rush week. Death is not the time to double tap on a picture or give it the thumbs up. The dead don't care about what you have to say.