The Role of Social Media After Death
Posted by BusyMaineMom
This world is filled with tweets, posts, snapchats and the like. Information is being generated every second of every day. Through this social media, we have found our portals through space and time. We are now able to keep in touch with people that we may not have seen since grade school, as well as, the people we see every day. There are negatives to this, of course, like when a passive aggressive friend decides to rant online or when it is too easy to unfriend someone and hurt them. But it dawned on me today, as I went to a dear friend’s page, that social media, for all of its obvious positives and negatives has created something wonderful. Not only do we have a medium for expressing feelings, sharing stories, and photos, but we have a way to remain connected to loved ones who have passed. In essence, social media provides a manifestation of our lives.
I lost my best friend this past September. She died due to a brain aneurism at the age of forty, only seconds after I left her at our children’s school. I was devastated by the loss. She was someone that I talked to daily and our lives and friendship were intermingled online. I was suddenly faced with the heart wrenching knowledge that I would never again hear her voice and I was a soul lost like no other. She was my confident, keeper of all my secrets and my biggest support. I wanted, no needed, to reach out to her, to feel her near. So I went on her Facebook page. I wrote a post to her telling her how much I missed her and loved her. Before I knew it, I had written a lengthy message expressing all of my feelings. When I had exhausted all I needed to say to her and wiped the tears from my cheeks, I posted it to her wall.
I then went under her pictures and looked at all the great times we had shared. Soon, I was engulfed in the remembrance of our daughter’s first chorus performance, this fall’s cheerleading, nights spent over cribbage and drinks. Our lives, no, more importantly, her life was once again outstretched before my eyes and I no longer felt alone. She was with me once again, in my heart and on the screen. What a gift! I created an online album filled with those tagged photos and uploaded it to my Facebook wall.
During the next few days, I was thanked by several of her family members and friends who stated that they had copied photos of her from my page so that they could repost them, express their grief or to honor her. Social media had given us all something tangible. A place to express our grief, our love and to keep her memory alive.
It has been months since her passing, but I still find myself posting messages to her wall. It may sound silly, but I feel that it places all my mental talks with her into a solid reality. I talk to her all the time, but seeing my words on her page and seeing the pictures she once posted and the words she once wrote help to heal my broken heart.
It’s the little things that we do through social media, the posts, the photos…things that seem mundane or trivial at the time…those are what become our legacy. Social media holds them in an eternal state of solidity so that friends and family can visit our online presence, even after we are long departed from this world.