Is Social Media a Safe Place to Grieve?

Posted on September 23, 2019 by Lifesong Funerals under cremation
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Grief resources are among the cremation services offered in Tallahassee, FL. Social media’s purpose, at its inception, was to bring people together in a virtual environment. Originally, the idea was to connect people with things in common: common friends, common backgrounds, common work and school locations, and common interests. The theory was that a single person could widen their social circles as they found other people they had things in common with.

cremation services offered in Tallahassee, FL

That concept has been successful – perhaps too successful. While social media has brought old friends back together, it has also created a community of connections that don’t necessarily mesh as well together as the theoretical model assumed.

This idea of connection to a large community can lead to a phenomenon known as oversharing. People detail every nuance of their lives. Whether it’s pictures of what they had for dinner or relating every single incident that happens during the course of a day, there is an assumption that there is an empathetic and waiting audience, standing by, waiting to help, to comfort, and to support.

As with every other part of our lives, social media has become the forum for public grieving after the loss of someone we love. Often, the first time friends and family hear of the death of a loved one, it’s on social media. We shared details about the death. We share our funeral planning. We share the obituary. And we share the location of whatever services, whether to funeral service or a memorial service, will be held and all the details related to it.

After we say goodbye to a loved one, then we take to social media to grieve their loss. Social media has accommodated this by taking the accounts of people who have died and turning them into memorial walls, where people can leave comments and condolences.

In some cases, people share the most intimate parts of their grieving process, which includes emotions, memories, regrets, and wishes about and for the loved one they lost. While social media gets criticized for many things, this sharing of the journey of grief even by someone you may not know can give insights into what grieving looks like, how it feels, and how it progresses.

For some people, this may create empathy, compassion, and sensitivity when they’re dealing with people in real life who’ve lost somebody that they love very much.

As a society, we’ve become impatient with emotional processes that we deem negative. Grief is one of those. For people who’ve never lost somebody they loved and have never grieved, there is an expectation – unrealistic – that people who are grieving feel sad for a few days and then they brush it all off I go on as if nothing ever happened.

Our work worlds treat grief this way as well. In general, when someone in your immediate family dies, you get three days of bereavement. After those three days, you’re expected to be back at work and 100% engaged, with the sadness, the sorrow, and the grieving behind you.

So grieving publicly on social media for too long and too much can often bring hurtful and painful results, as the societal expectation of a short period of time being allocated to a negative process is imposed. People may say very insensitive things like, “You’ll be fine. You just need to get over it.,” or “You need to be happy and everything will be better.” People may be critical and people may be condemnatory.

So while sharing expressions of grief on social media may be fine in small doses, it’s really best to find real people, whether they’re trusted friends, family members, or people in a grief support group, to share the deepest parts and the longest parts of the grieving process with.

For more information about cremation services offered in Tallahassee, FL, including grief resources, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lifesong Funerals & Cremations is here to assist you. You can visit our funeral home at 20 S. Duval St., Quincy, FL 32351, or you can call us today at (850) 627-1111.

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