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Facebook and Death

September 18, 2011

I like Facebook.  I think it’s great for a lot of reasons, but I think there are plenty of things that call for picking up a phone and calling someone.

Today when I got back from church, a dear friend of mine had posted a status update saying she was going to the hospital for a breathing treatment due to her asthma.  This would be one of many trips she had taken before.  I left a comment saying I was praying for her.  Maybe an hour later, a friend called to tell me that she had passed away.

I was shocked.  Then I looked at her wall and saw people were already offering condolences when so many people didn’t even know yet.  What a way for them to find out!  I was about to check her wall myself to see if she was doing better when my friend called.  I would be horrified to discover such terrible news in that way.

So I picked up the phone and called everyone we both knew for probably a couple hours.   I think when a loved one passes, they deserve more than a 10 second tribute on their Facebook wall.

Recently my husband’s grandmother passed away and we received an e-mail about it.  I said to my husband, “No phone call?”  He said, “Well, my mom would be on the phone for hours if she called everyone.”  Isn’t that what you do when someone dies?  You talk to each other and cry together.  It just seemed so impersonal.  Practical and efficient, yes, but this is the loss of life we’re talking about!  People who can’t be replaced and leave a gaping hole in our hearts.

In general, I think people need to hear a voice on the phone a lot more, to know that someone is thinking of them and set aside some time in their day.



4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 18, 2011 9:49 pm

    I agree with you. You post a facebook “tribute” or send a quick email to make yourself feel better (I did my duty!), it can’t possibly be motivated by genuine love and care.

  2. September 19, 2011 11:40 am

    The Facebook happy birthdays are thoughtless enough. It takes no remembering. It shows you whose birthday it is and you take 5 seconds to write on a person’s wall instead of calling them or maybe stopping by with a treat or something. In an effort to reconnect with friends, it seems to create emotional distance. :(

    Before the Internet, people called each other during times like this. It doesn’t sit well with me that people pick the most convenient option for them.

    • October 11, 2011 10:24 pm

      Also, when you get 100+ one-line messages such as “Happy Birthday!”, do you really take the time to see who sent each of them? Do you stop and go “awwww”, with a feeling of gratitude, feeling a bit more special and loved for that day, because of any of these messages? Not only are they rather meaningless at the sender’s end, but also at the receiver’s (unless you have narcissistic personality disorder and you really think everyone is thinking about you all the time!). The streets of hell truly are paved with good intentions :)

      • October 12, 2011 9:48 am

        So true! And it’s usually from people who don’t even talk to me and I wonder why they sent me a request in the first place.

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