Social Media Grief

Grief is a lonely place. For a time after the loss of a loved one, we have lost our own sense of self and to varying degrees our trust in the fundamental natural order of the Universe. We change in our ability to interact socially; our more casual friendships are hard to relate to because they may struggle to understand the changes we are undergoing.

In many ways, we feel more comfortable with those people who have experienced significant loss that bears similarities to our loss. We may write about our loss on social media, both to offer the support of our experience and healing, but also to find others who have lost as we have. We need to develop the comfort of being able to speak of our loss to both friends and to people we meet through life.

There is a process we go through to learn to talk about our loss socially, because we won’t deny our loss in conversation, but in the early days of face to face conversation we just can’t complete a sentence about our loss without breaking down. Social media is a seemingly ideal place to explore and become comfortable with what we say, and how we present our loss to both friends and new acquaintances. We can take our time and craft and edit our message, and then post it.

The most common misconception when posting about loss is that we post about our loss to gather sympathy or condolences. In my case, it’s about sharing the experience I have with incorporating multiple losses into my life. Tips and thoughts that have worked for me, gathered over more than two decades of experience with multiple losses. Those thoughts fill my blog and writings with positive outlooks on understanding and managing grief. My blog is non-commercial and self managed. With my blog, I can post a reply with a link to one or several of my posts on specific topics. Because the answer is complex and can never fit in a small post of a few characters.

And so, my timeline is filled with people who post about their loss, about their journey, about what they want people to be aware of. It ranges from childhood cancer to neurodegenerative diseases like ALS. I am inspired by how strong people become through ALS and I mourn their loss when it is posted because I have followed their journey and been inspired by them. I am inspired by the stories of battles with cancer, the human spirit shines through in our will to live.

Within the community of those who post about loss and battles for life, there are always stories of negative comments, random people who complain about your posts on loss. Every social media platform has blocking and mute functions that allow people who don’t want to see these posts to block or mute them. Yet, a tiny percentage of people choose to be nasty, angry or hurtful. They seemingly can’t help themselves.

Let’s be clear here, loss strips your soul naked and makes you vulnerable. We you post and are attacked for posting something vulnerable, you did nothing wrong. Any abuse you received is from an abuser, not because you spoke your heart. The vast majority of people confronted by an angry abuser will question themselves first. That’s where abusers gather power. The abuse you may receive randomly on social media is NOT YOUR SHAME. I have seen it on every social media platform I have written on, a tiny percentage of angry nasty humans who feel empowered when hiding behind an anonymous profile to hurt someone. These are social vandals, in some cases psychopathic social vandals. When confronted with such abuse, use the tools of the platform to block, mute, or report the abusive behavior.

I want as many people as possible to better understand the highly evolved process of grief, and our soul’s innate ability to recover and grow around loss. If you haven’t yet experienced profound grief, then only luck has kept you away. Everyone who loves passionately will experience loss and the ensuing grief.

Grief is never a failure. Grief can only happen when we have loved well, so grief is an affirmation that we know how to love, we have loved, and with time we will love again when we are ready.

Be well, share openly to reduce the loneliness of grief for others, and ignore the social media vandals.



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