How Facebook Helps Us Process Grief

Written By: Kim - Apr• 13•13

It’s been a sad week in my Facebook world. Last Sunday evening, a high school friend passed away after a short, three-month battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). In for foot surgery one Facebook post, diagnosed with ALL, then dead in less than about three months. Not only has it been a roller coaster for her family and close friends, those of us waiting for news were praying for it to be good. I had never even heard of this aggressive form of cancer until now. Her death impacted me despite the fact that I was not a close friend. She was a mom, a wife and a US Air Force Airman. That tender spot I have for military folks never really goes away.

©Mike Howard, 2011

©Mike Howard, 2011

Then, later in the week, another friend flew across country to be with her dying mother. The only good news out of this story is that all of her siblings and grandchildren were there when her mom passed away. We should all be so lucky.

The final sad event was when another friend’s dog passed away. This is the dog that my friend had since before she had children of her own. Honestly, after that post and the other events of the week (including a friend’s scare when they could not locate his wife’s EMT crew after an emergency call), I was afraid to look at Facebook. I just didn’t think I could process any more sad news in the space of a week.

If I were a country song writer, I would have the next hit on my hands.

Before online capabilities and then social media sites, we had to learn the news the old fashioned way: letters or phone calls. Now, you go to your Facebook page and you never know what you will find.

So, like everyone connected to these friends, I am processing the information, sharing their grief and trying to be of some comfort. I can only hope that the outpouring of love from friends help ease their burden of grief just a little.

Hug your loved ones and family a little tighter. None of us never know how long we truly have. Here’s to seeing our loved ones, including our pets, on the other side.

 

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