Sunday, August 21, 2011

...finding out a loved one died...on facebook

I'm not so annoyed about this as I was at first...but I still feel the need to bring this up in my little corner of cyber-space.  I still don't like it.  I've just accepted it.

There was a message on my phone late Saturday from my dad.  No information, just to please call him on his cell phone when I got his message.  My elderly grandmother had been in the hospital for a few days and things weren't looking too good.  So, I presumed that was probably what my dad had called about.  My dad has tact, he would never call and leave a message like that over the phone.  In fact, when my aunt died somewhat tragically a few years ago he called and told my husband.  My dad didn't want to share that over the phone with me.  He wanted to make sure there was someone there who cared about me that would give me the news compassionately since he could not possibly be there.

Back to my grandma.  I don't use facebook very often, but I figured I'd check to see if someone posted something about her.  Sure enough, they did...only about 20-30 minutes after she had passed away.  I don't fault the people who did this.  I am sure that in their grief they were reaching out in their own way.  However, had I not received that call from my dad (giving me the idea to check facebook), and I was just looking at facebook (like my sister had), I would have been even more upset. 

My parents were still grieving themselves (30 minutes after they got the news) when they received a phone call from another family member who was notified by someone else who saw the post on facebook.  The caller was pretty upset wondering why no one called her...and rightly so.  While I don't think my parents should have jumped on the phone immediately (I think grieving first and telling only immediate family members is more important)...I do know that they would have called this person as soon as possible.  And, this person would have compassionately been given the news by someone who cares about both the caller and my grandmother. 

Information moves fast in cyberspace...we need to remember that.  I am not against the post itself (maybe they aren't called posts...see how much I use facebook...I just read other people's stuff once in awhile) I do think a little more thought needs to go in to what people put out there and when.  How many other people find things out in this way?

and...just for the record...I know of no friends or relatives that read my blog who don't already know about my grandma.  I waited a day, watching all the facebook comments to be sure.  And..I am glad I did.  I was a lot more annoyed last night, and this post is really about slowing down and thinking if this should be said?  and should it be said now?

1 comment:

Suzie said...

IMHO you are right in that they were searching for help and grieving rather than being gossipy. But I still think it was terribly inconsiderate and downright cold. At least one of that first 'poster's children heard on facebook too. She asked how I found out, I said I first saw it on facebook but knew my parents would be calling in the morning. She agreed, that would have been an infinatly better way to find out. She's still strugling a bit with her death. Though, she's an athiest so I think that is the main reason why. But I also think it's because of how the news was shared.