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Bereavement and the internet

Bereavement and the internet

The internet has provided a wider circle “to shout our grief into a cruel world, and it helps the world to extend offerings in return.”

Esther D. Kustanowitz, writing in The Tablet:

When the rabbis, priests, imams and mystics created religious rules and customs surrounding loss and mourning, they did so with varying approaches to respecting the dead and creating the structures for mourners to reconnect to local community.

But they never saw the Internet coming.

Beyond the religious texts and self-help books, the Internet has vastly expanded the conversation about death, grief and life after loss. The Internet has become a place where circles of grief and expression of loss expand with every click, and consequently, so have the resources in which community and consolation may lie.

Because of the Internet, we have access to poignant stories surrounding grief, from cancer doctor Peter Bach , who started lying to his wife about her condition in her final days, to comedian Laurie Kilmartin , whose tweets chronicled her father’s final decline. When actorCorbin Bernsen lost his mother, he shared his reflections on his Christian faith and his life after loss via Facebook posts. After her father died in April, actress Mayim Bialik wrote about her perspectives on grief and mourning, and how it fit into her life as a Jew, as a daughter and as a parent. And of course, as many of us saw in our social media feeds this week, when Sheryl Sandberg completed shloshim (a period of 30 days of mourning in the Jewish tradition) for her husband David Goldberg, who died suddenly about a month ago, she shared her lengthy and poignant reflections on loss with the entirety of the Facebook audience.

Posted by Andrew Gerns


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Cynthia Katsarelis

When my father passed I posted it on my Facebook Timeline. I decided that that was better than having to tell people over and over again. I didn’t expect the outpouring of love, prayers, cards, and expressions of care, but they were really wonderful and helpful.

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