Please read this before you post another RIP on social media.
Humanity | August 20, 2020
Grieving in the technology age is uncharted territory.
I’ll take you back to Saturday, June 9, 2012. At 8:20 a.m., my 36-year-old husband was pronounced dead at a hospital just outside Washington, D.C.
By 9:20 a.m., my cellphone would not stop ringing or text-alerting me long enough for me to make the necessary calls that I needed to make: people like immediate family, primary-care doctors to discuss death certificates and autopsies, funeral homes to discuss picking him up, and so on. Real things, important things, time-sensitive, urgent things.
At 9:47 a.m., while speaking to a police officer (because yes, when your spouse dies, you must be questioned by the police immediately), one call did make it through. I didn’t recognize the number. But in those moments, I knew I should break my normal rule and answer all calls. “He’s dead??? Oh my God. Who’s with you? Are you OK? Why am I reading this on Facebook? Taya, what the heck is going on?”
Facebook? I was confused. I hadn’t been on Facebook since the day before, so I certainly hadn’t taken the time in the last 90 minutes to peek at the site.
“I’ll call you back”, I screamed and hung up. I called my best friend and asked her to search for anything someone might have written and to contact them immediately and demand they delete it. I still hadn’t spoken to his best friend, or his godsister, or our godchild’s parents, or a million other people! Why would someone post it to Facebook SO FAST?