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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

'What's on your mind?'*

Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Skype are just a few of the social networking sites that come to mind.  Family and friends sharing their lives with each other, across the street, the state, the country and across continents.  We share news, let people know what we are doing, were we have been, how we are feeling, and what we are planning to do.  Now families out of state or overseas can know instantly what is happening and photos are shared immediately.  No more waiting for the letter to arrive with last months pictures. 

Childhood friends, classmates, colleagues are all reconnecting online, sharing their stories, catching up on their lives.  Who would have ever imagined that we would be so connected, that the phone is no longer the only way to communicate to family and friends living far away.  Brides and grooms have even 'streamed' their wedding ceremonies live for family members and friends who are unable to travel to the event.  So much can be shared with the click of a button. 

Today as I logged onto my social networking accounts, I noticed that I had a message waiting for me.  I opened the message and was informed that one of my elementary school teachers had died, and was given a brief explanation and the details for the wake and funeral.  I sat there absorbing the news and was very thankful to have been informed, I may have otherwise missed it.  

It also made me realize how often you see comments pop up saying 'RIP followed by the persons name, 'we are going to miss you' or 'have you heard' and 'oh, how so very sad.'  Just in this past week or so, I have seen at least a dozen comments referring to the death of someone.  Not to mention all the 'In memory of' and remembrances of the anniversary of a loved one's or friend's death.  

Yesterday I mentioned sharing our stories, sites like Facebook let us do just that.  They also allow us to memorialize our loved ones, and many pages have been dedicated to the life of someone who has died.  When my daughter died, her friends created a MySpace page dedicated to her memory.  On this page friends and family could share their fondest memories of Rachel, pictures they had and express what they were feeling and how it was effecting them.  Her friends incorporated the recessional song from her funeral Mass as the background music for the page.  It was a tribute to my daughter and her life.  

Even funeral homes now have interactive sites where you can read the obituary, light a candle and leave a message, allowing those far away to express their condolences.  

I read an article earlier today by Torey Lightcap, In Memoriam, And In Grieving, Digitally.  In his article, Rev. Lightcap speaks to how this digital sharing keeps the memory very much alive.  Even casual acquaintances get of sense of really knowing the person as they read through the messages and comments that are left by others.  For us, it is a way of insuring that our loved one's memory lives on, that they are remembered.  

Recently friends of ours marked the 10th anniversary of their son and brother's death, they posted photos of him as a small child and right on up until he died.  He had been a friend of my daughters and his family was considered a part of our family.  He had not been forgotten all these years later, and I still think of him often, especially when I hear the song that was played at his funeral.  It was a beautiful tribute to his life to see him remembered and knowing that his memory has definitely lived on.  

Share the story, let the memory live on, allow them to be remembered, tributes are not only for celebrities and royalty.  Tributes are for everyone that ever mattered in our life, whether they discovered the cure for some obscure illness or simply loved us in their own special way.  They were the world to us, and we want the world to know it and them.  For us, reading the comments and knowing that our loved one meant something to others is a great comfort to us in our sorrow.  Realizing that others loved them as we did, missed them as we do, and feel a sense of loss because of their death, can truly help us on this journey.  

Grief does not have to be lonely, we can share it with others, we can ask others to walk with us for a while.  When we open ourselves to others, when we share our story, we allow ourselves to begin to heal.  We are able to see the gift we were entrusted with, even if it was only for a short time, from a different point of view.  

They key is to live, to remember, to move forward and to allow the love to surround us and allow this love to continue to grow.  Like I stated in an earlier post 'Love never fails.'

Blessings! and until we meet again.

*The title is from Facebook's Home page, News Feed.

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