The death of a loved one is an emotional process. It can also be a time of reflection and honor for the deceased. It was not uncommon when someone died for people to gather at a funeral or memorial service before the pandemic happened to offer their sympathies and pay respects.
Things have changed quickly. You don’t have to wait for a midnight call to learn about the death of someone you care about. You can go to Facebook or Twitter and find out right away. We turn to social media to express our feelings and condolences about losing a loved one.
I’ve accepted the fact that these impersonal communications will follow me when I leave this world. A person’s existence becomes a collection of social media posts.
I’ve also fallen into this trap. It’s always a complicated feeling for me to convey my sympathies and offer some words of encouragement. It isn’t easy. It’s even harder when you consider the coldness of communicating over the internet. Our lives are more digital than ever before. And this trend will continue to grow. We’ll see more of these electronic memorials for the deceased.
I also hope we do better than this in honoring our dead. Some people have taken it upon themselves to step outside the constraints of social media and keep their departed loved ones in creative ways.
Why do we wait until someone dies to say nice things about them?
It is a natural impulse to say nice things about a person who has passed away. We all tend to say nice things because we want to see death’s clutches released from the person who has passed on.
Sometimes negative comments are inevitable, too. It is vital not to neglect that some people will not find any redeeming qualities in the deceased.
The more you say nice things about people, the more you promote their well-being.
It is all about being human. In a world becoming more and more digitalized, we need to look for more ways to be humane.
Some people might not think that saying nice things will make a difference in the grand scheme of things. But it does make a difference for family and friends.
It seems that the benefits of doing this are many-fold. A person may find closure, while somebody else might be comforted by the memory of a good friend or relative. Other people might be inspired by a story’s happy ending or touched by a tear-jerking anecdote.
Saying nice things about someone is a sign of humanity and kindness. It’s important to say nice things about people while they’re alive since when they die, you won’t want to regret not having done it when you had the chance.
What about saying not-so-nice things?
It’s not always easy to say something nice about someone who has died. But saying something nice seems to be the only way of coping with the loss.
For many, it is hard to find anything good about someone who has passed away. Sometimes it can be challenging to find something positive, let alone something you want people to know about them. We should not be afraid of making mistakes since there is no such thing as perfect speech on this earth.
Yet, somehow people can find things they like and say them about the person who died. It’s almost as if they don’t want the person who died to have gone in vain or for their family and friends not to feel some comfort knowing there is at least one person out there who will never forget them for what they were good at.
I’ve often wondered if this is what grieving has become. Death, an emotional process that used to be a time of reflection and honor for the deceased, now happens at all hours on social media.
We turn social media platforms into outlets where we express our feelings and condolences without having any face-to-face interaction with those who are grieving. It’s easy to say something negative about someone when you’re not face-to-face with those who are suffering. It’s also easy to post something without thinking about how it will affect somebody else.
We should all try to be more mindful of what we say on social media, especially when talking about someone who has died. Let’s foster the importance of saying nice things and thinking about our words’ consequences before posting them online.
We may not be able to change the entire world, but if we start with ourselves and make a difference in our communities, we can gradually impact society.
What do you think? Have you ever shared negative thoughts on someone who died? How do you feel about sharing condolences online? Have you thought about your digital eulogies?
This article was first published on Medium.com.