Today would have been my Dad’s 69th birthday. I’ve given a lot of thought in the last three months since he passed as to how I might honor him on his days (birthday/father’s day). But I wonder if being public about it is the right thing to do or if it is better to keep it private. I worry that what might feel right for me may not be what feels right for my mom or for my sisters. But I feel I need to write this blog. Giving me the place to say what I want to say, feel how I want to feel and hopefully sharing some strength to those who also may be mourning both on and offline.
If you’ve followed me, you know I’ve been active on social media for years. My business is centered around teaching professionals how to best use Social Media for their business and while my primary focus is for businesses I’ve been emotionally torn over how I see people use Social Media personally. Sometimes embarrassing their kids. Others bad-mouthing spouses. And many rant about a teacher/school. If I was still in college I just might write a thesis about Online Behavior: The Good, The Bad and The Sad.
But since I am not heading back to school any time soon I will get back to my point….
Have you ever seen a social media post memorializing a death? Of course you have. Truth be told I never fully understood the reasoning behind “online mourning”.
My definition of Online Mourning: using social media to remember a loved one you have lost. Posting a picture or sharing a memory on the anniversary of their death or celebrating a birthday, they would no longer celebrate. I thought why do people do this? Does posting make the mourner feel better? Does it help you to remember your loved one? I have never judged anyone who practiced this – it just never made sense to me.
But 3 months ago I lost my dad. Every Monday is another week since he collapsed. Every Thursday is another week since he died. Every Sunday marks the day we buried him. I know, they are all just days on the calendar and none of them to really be celebrated or remembered but that is what is fresh in my broken heart. What about his death am I supposed to remember? Shouldn’t his life outweigh the events of that one week?
Eventually all the ‘firsts’ will hit us head on. For us, this first Passover and his birthday are the same day – boom- and he would have hated a Kosher-for-Passover birthday cake, btw! Then there’s my parents 47th wedding anniversary in May, Father’s day in June and every other family and food filled (especially the fried turkey in November) holiday he would not have missed. Will we talk about him as if he was here? Or will we avoid that conversation completely and pretend as if he just stepped out of the room for a minute?
And this is where my psych degree comes in handy (and might be working overtime). I get it. Death is a part of life. Mourners are broken. Days are dark. Nights are lonely. But there is a life we have to live. For ourselves. For our kids. For our lost loved ones. So we grieve, we mourn, offline and online. It’s part of living.
After my dad passed a friend texted me this message: “there is no wrong way to grieve”.
I am going to take his wise advice and I am going to mourn however the F*&K I want! (and you can too!)