Friday, March 13, 2015

Saying Goodbye in all the ways

The world has changed since I was a much younger woman - massive changes even in the last 10 years.  Once, blogging was the new frontier - the it thing that hip people did.

For me, it started with an email from my mom's cousin containing a link to someone's blog.  I didn't know what that was, exactly, but I clicked on it and before long, I had a bunch of blogs that I liked to read.  It wasn't much of a leap to start my own from there.  I didn't think that anyone would ever read it, but before long there was a faithful little troop of followers.  Blogging seems so intimate.  Pictures and stories about our lives and the things that go on around us.  My blog would probably be classified as a "Mommy Blog" since a lot of what I wrote about was being a mother, my son, and our family.  Being a mom was a new experience for me (as opposed to sister or daughter or wife or employee), and one I was pretty sure would never be repeated.

Then came FaceBook, with it's quicker, hipper mode of communication and blogging started to fall away for a lot of people.  I admit that includes me.  My postings here are sporadic at best, whereas I am a nearly daily presence on FaceBook.

FaceBook can seem superficial and blogs are more personal and in-depth... but FaceBook does have a place.  When news needs to be spread as quickly as possible, FaceBook is the way to go.  Chances are that the people who need to know are also your "friends".  You can make it a private message so it's not on other people's feeds or you can announce to the whole world.

Never is this more apparent when there is a death in the family.  The private messages go out first (if you aren't on the phone-call list), then once "enough time" is perceived to have passed for people to get their messages, someone will usually post something kind of vague and innocuous to the newsfeed and the people who weren't called or PM'd find out.

That's how it was when my uncle died a couple of weeks ago.  I got a call and was asked to notify some of the others.  Inevitably, someone doesn't get the message or a call doesn't happen and they FIND OUT ON FACEBOOK.  That used to be a terrible thing, but I think now it's become just another mode of communication.  What follows is a wonderful outpouring of condolences and support and in turn, we, the mourners are able to widely and publicly acknowledge our loss and comment on what a wonderful person the dearly departed was.  Weirdly, this cycle is quite satisfying to the soul.

I loved my uncle very much.  He was always friendly and supportive and happy to see me.  Time in his world moved differently from mine though.  His time was fairly laid back and loose.  Mine is full and always busy.  There was no such thing as dropping by for a short visit when it came to him - a half hour cup of coffee easily turned into 3 hours of conversation.  I loved the times I could actually do this, but as life got crazier and crazier, they happened less and less.  So I have regrets.  That I didn't see him often enough; that I wasn't able to spend enough time with him.  There are stories to tell about him - like when he and Dad (nicknamed Laurel and Hardy) managed to sink a sailboat. 

Or the beautiful aquamarine he gave me when I was just 12 and I carried with me my whole life until my husband asked me to marry him.  I am not a diamond girl, so for an engagement ring I asked him to put my aquamarine in a setting for me.  On the day he died, I went and got it out of my jewelry box and looked at it.  It is still beautiful and my weight-loss goal is to be able to wear that ring again.  That has always been my standard - but it has more meaning to me now.

There are things about him I'll always remember...  the smell of his pipe when I was little, that he was the reason we ALWAYS had rutabaga at Christmas and Thanksgiving (which I do not care for), that he was game for almost anything, whether a long chat or playing dress up with wigs - when we were all adults!  He loved woodworking and gardening and flying and all things Puerto Rico (including his wife). 

I'm always going to miss you, and I'm grateful that I knew you.


Jill said...

I'm sorry for your loss, and I'm glad you have good memories and a place to record them for future generations.

FB is another communication tool. Sometimes we use it too quickly or for too much, I'm afraid the next generation won't stop to think let's NOT post something online.

Someone made a snide comment once about finding out their uncle was passed on FB, and I was actually one of the last family members to find out and posted a remembrance on FB. All the same avenues existed for other people in the family (who ALL live in the same town and can call each other for FREE on a land line), cell phones, and lastly of course, the internet. I found out several days after it happened. Is it my fault that someone in the same town refused to notify their daughter that their uncle died in a timely manner? Several days lag when I found out, PLUS a couple days lag in posting something 4 days minimum-- and they hadn't called their child in the same town? Clearly, the problem there was mine. Or.. you know. Theirs for not getting the message.

Either way we should probably be both more cognizant of telling people things via phone or in person immediately when something happens and secondly we should not be so angry if we do find something out online. It's a new day, and as much as I hate to roll with the times, they are changing.

I will admit if I get a badly spelled text telling me someone I know is dead instead of a phone call, I might be quite angry at upcoming generations. Death shouldn't be done via text.

Sayre said...

Gattina has left a new comment on your post "Saying Goodbye in all the ways":

I am sorry for your loss, I had the same feeling when my aunt died.
The difference with a Blog and Facebook is, you could never have written what you wrote in Facebook. I personally regret that so many old friends gave up blogging for this to me stupid Facebook. I had to subscribe to see my son's pictures, but I seldom post there. I love to write and Facebook is not the place for that. On the other hand, there are few Belgian people I know who are on Facebook, and I still haven't learned how to use it. I think we know each other for a very long time. I am just reading my blog from the very beginning on. Interesting to read, it's just like a diary !