Annie’s Mailbox for May 21, 2011: Dad disagrees with sharing family death on Facebook
Dear Annie: I’m 20 years old, and lately, I’ve been catching a lot of criticism about my Facebook page.
My grandfather passed away, and I updated my status to say that he is loved and deeply missed. People offered condolences and support. My father thought it was wrong for people to find out on Facebook. But, Annie, people read obituaries in the local newspaper and find out that way, too.
I feel I should be allowed to post whatever I want. I know this is a generational difference, but it’s causing a lot of problems. Please help.
— Trying To Keep the Peace
Dear Trying: We think your father is objecting less to Facebook and more to the fact that his father died. Online postings from family members strike him as impersonal and too public, and therefore disrespectful. Assure him that you loved your grandfather and find it comforting to share your grief with your friends. Perhaps it would help if you showed him some of the words of condolence that others have posted. As long as your posts are not vulgar or inappropriately intimate, we see no reason to make an issue of this.
Dear Annie: My wife died 11 years ago, after 49 wonderful years together. I am now 81, and many of my friends are losing their spouses. Recently, a friend’s husband died, and I felt the need to help her. So I wrote the following letter. If you think it might help others, please print it.
— Norbert Tackman
Dear Norbert: We think you have put some wise thoughts down on paper, and we know they will bring comfort to many. Thank you.
A Time To Grieve
What could have been is gone. What was is still in your memories. You’ll always think there must have been more you could have done, more times you could have said, “I love you.” Times you think, “Why didn’t I hold him more? Why didn’t I do this or that?” You did all those things. You just need to remember them.
Remember the times when you held hands as you walked, when you held one another and kissed, when you shared a sunset or a walk through a garden. Remember that great vacation you had together. Remember when you made love and shared that special time. Remember how your love never dimmed but got stronger over the years.
Remember when you first met and fell in love. Then go through your life remembering the special moments, one after another. When you had children. When you laughed or cried. That trip to get away. Visiting friends. A party. Going to church. When you redecorated the house. Little things only you and he shared.
Push out of your mind the memories that make you sad, and replace them immediately with good memories. Something that makes you smile.
In the weeks after his passing, the relatives go on with their lives, your friends don’t call as often and you’re left alone. This is the time to be more involved with your favorite organizations, your church, your friends. In other words, keep busy. Be with other people. Push yourself to do things, no matter how small. Don’t feel sorry for yourself — you have much to offer to others and your fellowship will give back twice as much to you.
There is nothing wrong with crying. It’s part of the loss. It’s part of the grief. Accept the aching need to have him back, the need to hold him and tell him you love him. But always remember to say, “What a good life we had.”
He knew you loved him and cared about him. Just as you know he loved you and cared about you. Remember, he is watching over you. He doesn’t want you to suffer. He wants you to be happy for all the time you had together. God bless you.
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