With the loss of my mom, I'm struck by how much grieving has changed in the social networking age.
When my father died in 1993, we spread the word via phone calls, newspaper obituaries, and church bulletins. Responses to our sad news came through in-person visits (both at home and at the visitation and funeral), phone calls, flower and food deliveries, and sympathy cards.
But this time around, I made a few calls, sent a couple of texts, and WHOOSH! The news flew from person to person in no time. The response was instant and inundating. I held off posting the news on Facebook until most of the family and close friends had been notified, but the texts started coming in right away. They continued steadily throughout the day. Once the news was on Facebook, more than 100 people sent their condolences via comments and wall posts.
Of course, the old school methods were used, too, but the digital response was so much quicker than what we experienced 19 years ago. It was welcome—oh, so welcome!—but overwhelming. Instead of hearing from loved ones over the course of a week or two, we heard from all kinds of folks from all over the country within hours.
Is this 2012 version better? Easier? The jury's still out. But now, as then, the expressions of love and concern from all over have been such a blessing to us in our sorrow.