Social media inadequate to convey loss
by Craig Schwab
Nov 07, 2019 | 1199 views | 0 0 comments | 94 94 recommendations | email to a friend | print


In our modern world, most incidents and events are reported first on social media. The most difficult news to discover comes in the form of announcements related to death.

We can comment and share our opinions on any topic; providing insight and sharing our dislikes on any topic of conversation. The loss of a loved one or old acquaintance causes us to momentarily stop our bickering and complaining about everyday life.

The announcement of a lost friend places us in a precarious position. For a moment, the passage of time hesitates to move forward. Despite years of not seeing or being in the presence of them, the announcement of their passing leaves us momentarily at a loss for words.

The options on social media presents little to no way of representing our emotions. It feels callous to click the “like” button, as if the news of someone dying is appreciated in knowing.

There are added features for such news - the sadness emoji or a thumbs down symbol - all of which lack the appropriate ways we feel when reading the news.

The passage of time, no matter how many times we can share the good things, becomes an isolated and personal emotion with the loss of life. Social media cannot capture the way this news effects our memories.

Many times, there was one special moment spent with a person that cannot be forgotten. That moment was an influential incident in our lives. Only you and that person will ever know that moment again.

News of someone passing leaves a void in the passage of time. Suddenly, they take with them a connection to our past no one can ever again replicate. Their kindness and loving nature forever links them to a time and place lost to yesterday.

We are all guilty of reflecting on our past. Every generation inevitably labels yesterday as “the good old days.” When we lose someone we knew from our past, the good old days are rekindled.

We cannot help but remember how much we miss that moment and how it made us feel. The passage of time sparks in us a ways and means to hold on to a moment forever linked to our lives.

When I heard a friend I have not seen in many years passed away recently, I couldn’t react to the post on Facebook. Instead, I went for a walk.

As I walked, I noticed the trees with their autumn leaves. I noticed the different ways the trees are changing all around us. The bright and fading colors of orange, yellow and green. Each tree displaying its own majestic beauty.

I thought about my friend and the announcement of his passing. I chose one tree in a clearing to stare at, and I thought about our meeting one another long ago. I thought about his memories and the ones he leaves behind, as if every leaf on that tree was his legacy.

I thought about how I was just one leaf on that tree. I thought about how many others, like me, my friend meant something to. How his family are represented by the leaves at the top of the tree.

The defiant leafs clinging to the branches despite the winds of change. I thought about the leaves already on the ground or fluttering in the sky. The memories easily forgotten and those still lingering like missing pieces of a puzzle that is life itself.

My wish is that my friend somehow know, he was a giant in the forest of our shared past.

For Glen Rehm and his family

Craig Schwab is an author who resides in Glendale.
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