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Post Info TOPIC: Sharing grief on Facebook


Runic Mook of the North (mod)

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Sharing grief on Facebook


It turns up in my feed regularly: Someones human or animal family member have died, and the grief and sorrow felt is shared publicly on Facebook. And I feel like I'm unwillingly pulled into other peoples private sphere. I'm not talking about epitaphs, or any other form of writing that you'd also share in, say, a newspaper. Those have public interest, and often gives valuable life lessons. E.g. An aquintance of mine wrote very touchingly about a loved one dying of cancer, and a former classmate made posts about her mother's last months in a retirement home that also gave good insight in what it is like going there every day and see life fading away. Those I can learn something from, and they provide the insight necessary for me to understand and share their pain. And very importantly: They have a form of introduction that means I do not have to read if I don't want to.

 

But then you have the posts that come out of the blue, saying stuff like "X passed away, I'm so sad" or "I miss you so much X" and such. I get that it is something you'd want to share with your friends and family, but why share it with me, your distant facebook aquintance? And how am I supposed to react to that? Post another heart in the comments section to acknowledge that a person I don't know have passed away, and someone I barely know are in grief?

But what really gets to me is when my family members does the same thing about the ones we have lost. It makes me very uncomfortable and hurt when the most painful parts of my life becomes public on facebook. This is stuff I want to have some sort of control over. 

I really need to have a talk with said familmembers when I figure out how to put it gently and not come across as terribly unreasonable.

Am I a horrible person for wishing people would just stop doing this in general, and keep that part of the grief private? Talk about it irl with close friends rather than making a facbook post?



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Lush Guru

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I don't think it makes you a horrible person at all, grief is really difficult and personal.

I do think most people use Facebook from a "me" perspective, rather than thinking about how what they post will impact on other people's day. So them posting "X passed away, I'm so sad" is because they are sad that X passed away and there's no thought to whether someone didn't know that X had passed, and would find that out through Facebook, or just simply didn't want to be reminded of it right then.

I'm not entirely sure you'd be able to stop your family members doing it though, because it is their grief too, to do with what they like.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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I do get what you mean and, while everyone is entitled to deal with their grief in their own way, it does affect me when their grief pulls my own grief back to the front of my mind. I try to think of it that they loved that person and this is their way of remembering them, keeping them in their thoughts. Some people are a lot more open with their personal life on facebook than I am so I choose to hide individual posts so they don't inadvertantly pop up again when it reverts to Top Stories.

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International Mook of Mystery (mod)

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I tend to be intensely private in regards to my everyday life on FB, so I get where you're coming from. That being said, I'm not really sure how to approach such a subject with family members, because usually people feel attacked over such things even when tact is used.

I've always seen it as people blindly reaching out for attention to anyone who'll take the bait. The pessimist in me says they just want a quick sympathy fix and are taking hold of the opportunity, but the optimist says they're genuinely looking for someone to talk to and just don't know who to actually turn to.

Perhaps when you talk to the family members, point out how hurtful it is to have the pain you share with them made public to people who don't matter in that context, and offer to be someone to talk to directly next time it happens? Especially if it seems like the optimistic scenario, because then they might actually be receptive to the idea.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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I have just seen, on my wall, a picture of a woman who apparently died in Athens. She is apparently Australian, but her boyfriend has taken her body home to Manchester for cremation and may have had a hand in her death (!? What, so talk to the police and not strangers on facebook...) and the original poster of the photo is asking for 'the people of Manchester' to find the funeral home (with no name, date or location) and to take aforementioned deceased woman flowers and play her a song. THAT is crossing the boundaries of what is too public. Asking strangers on the internet to share with other strangers on the internet in the hope that a stranger can attend your friend's funeral...

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