Ex­press­ing grief on­line be­comes more com­mon

As our time on­line in­creases, so­cial mores about be­reave­ment are chang­ing.

Austin American-Statesman - - LIFE & ARTS - AMER­I­CANS­TATES­MAN Dig­i­tal Sa­vant Gal­laga Tvpicks Go-to Guy


a year ago, my grand­mother got sick. In early Jan­uary, she died.

I can re­mem­ber many of the de­tails of the hospi­tal room, the funeral home, the two trips to South Texas, the ex­pres­sions on the faces of fam­ily mem­bers as we be­gan to un­der­stand that she wasn’t go­ing to pull through.

But it prob­a­bly says a lot that I didn’t have any rec­ol­lec­tion of who I might have been talk­ing to on­line those weeks, what I tweeted about her death or who of­fered their con­do­lences via so­cial net­works. Though I spend lots of time on­line and do most of my com­mu­ni­cat­ing with fam­ily and friends there, I know I felt very con­flicted about what, if any­thing, to share on the Web about it. It all sud­denly felt too per­sonal, and I wor­ried about be­ing tacky by ap­pear­ing to seek sym­pa­thy from peo­ple on­line, or hurt­ing the feel­ings of fam­ily mem­bers by over­shar­ing with peo­ple who never knew her.

I re­cently looked back at my Face­book Time­line from ear­lier this year and was sur­prised by what was there. I made a men­tion that we were say­ing good­bye to her for the last time. A week later, I posted a link to my grand­mother’s obit­u­ary. If you took those two Face­book posts out of the mix, you would never know any­thing had hap­pened. The rest of my time­line con­tained the usual as­sort­ment of silly jokes, links to tech news, Instagram pho­tos and random meme ma­te­rial.

And a month later, I wrote a lengthy blog post on my per­sonal web­site ex­press­ing more

Tues­day: “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” 7 p.m., ABC: Mayor Burg­er­meis­ter Meis­ter­burger tries to stop young Kris Kringle’s tran­si­tion into Santa Claus in this stop­mo­tion Christ­mas clas­sic.

“Rais­ing Hope” 7 p.m., Fox: Yes, Vir­ginia, there is an apoc­a­lyp­tic Mayan prophecy, but ex­treme coupon­ing is prob­a­bly not go­ing to help you sur­vive it.

“Mup­pets Christ­mas: Let­ters to Santa” 8 p.m., CW: Nathan Lane and Uma Thur­man (“Uma ... Elmo; Elmo ... Uma”) help the beloved characters de­liver miss­ing let­ters to the North Pole. Feel­ings will be — wait for it ... felt.

Wed­nes­day: “Amish Mafia” 8 p.m., Dis­cov­ery: The stuff in this new se­ries about power-hun­gry, strong-arm “en­forcers” within the tra­di­tion­al­ist com­mu­ni­ties might be real. But it could all be made up, too, right? It’s not as if the sub­jects are ever go­ing to see it.

“Bar­bara Wal­ters Presents the 10 Most Fas­ci­nat­ing Peo­ple of 2012” 8:30 p.m., ABC: In­clud­ing boy band “One Di­rec­tion” as a sin­gle per­son is ex­actly like try­ing to sneak Dale Roe is your Go-to Guy for use­ful in­for­ma­tion. He writes guides on ev­ery­thing from al­ler­gies to TV shows to lo­cal events to QR codes. What topics would you like to know more about? Send an email to droe@states­man. com.


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