Digital Mourning

We came across this term by chance when looking for something else…it had me intrigued to find out more. It’s not a concept or term I think I would ever have thought of had I not come across this post…..

Please see Digital Mourning which covers:

  1. Introduction to Digital Mourning
  2. Digital Mourning
  3. Grieving during the Pandemic (COVID-19)
  4. Our Final Thoughts
  5. Our YouTube Video

© Copyright 2019 Grief Probate Journey Blog *PLEASE NOTE THIS INFORMATION IS SOURCED FROM UK and AMERICAN WEBSITES* It is also based on our own experience. *We are not experts in this field, we are speaking purely on our own experience with information sought from the internet to give further examples. *

1. Introduction to Digital Mourning

We came across this term by chance when looking for something else…it had me intrigued to find out more. It’s not a concept or term I do not think I would ever have thought of had I not come across this post. However, when thinking about it, these are the times we are living in right now. Especially in recent years with the worldwide pandemic and social distancing/isolating everything we knew as normal changed in what felt like an instant.

Everything was shifting online. It was the strangest thing. Being socially interactive with people is the way we grew up and what we were used to becoming online.

Weddings, christenings, funerals. All online it was so strange to get my head around. Arranging a funeral online, attending a funeral online took away all the human touch elements. And made the way people were honoured in their send-off couldn’t be the same. My sister and I thought that it was extremely stressful, daunting and overwhelming to arrange all of these things. But one thing that made a tremendous amount of difference was the support and help we got, without even asking. People were doing things for us that we hadn’t even thought about. The huge support felt overwhelming. But we appreciated it in ways that are hard to explain.

The reason I am saying this is, that we cannot even begin to imagine what it was like for the families during covid having to go through all these things completely on their own. Isolated and separated from loved ones. Yes, there was speaking online, but that can no way compare in a situation like this when what you really need is human interaction. The pandemic really changed the way that people grieved and honoured their loved ones when planning their send-off. To know no matter how much you wanted or needed people physically in your presence it was not possible. That is hard to bare.

To be honest from the moment our Dad was hospitalised in September 2016, soon after that my social media presence started dwindling. This is something that I never ever imagined or ever thought would be possible.

I enjoyed posting pictures of my travels, concerts, and time with family. I loved celebrating my favourite day of the week (Friday) and had even created an album on Facebook just for that. As well as an album for funny quotes, and quotes I like. Once my Dad went into the hospital all of that changed. It hasn’t really been the same since.

When our Dad sadly passed away, we felt the best way to communicate this to people was through WhatsApp. We chose this method as we had started various Groups to keep people updated when our Dad was in the hospital. This felt like the best way to let people know.

We can’t quite remember how it came about, but it wasn’t until a month after our Dad passed away that we posted something on Facebook. It did feel very strange for us because that was the first thing we ever posted on Facebook. When our Dad was hospitalised, we hadn’t posted anything there, and even when he passed away. I think it was after his send-off that we then posted something on Facebook. We are mentioning this because, at that time in 2017, the choice was ours. Whether we posted information online, arranging a send-off and reception with the choice of reception location and how many people could attend. Never did we think that would someday come to be something that could be taken for granted.

Many things are a blur over the past five years. In some ways, it makes us feel glad that we started our blog. When we look back on past topics, it feels like news to us, we are like wow, this is what we went through, this is what we experienced, this is how it was making us feel.

I’ve mentioned the blog, as we are now online blogging about our grief experience, but also sharing stories of people within our grief network, people we have reached out to, and also people who have reached out to us to work with us.

We started our blog because we are aware that talking about matters of this kind isn’t always appropriate, it’s also not something people may want to, or be ready to talk about. We felt rather than talking about our situation in length, we could speak about it briefly and then mention the blog.

Having our platform where we can direct people should they wish to find out more, and also it is there for people to see and reach out to us if they wish to.

We do still to this day think oh wow, we are putting ourselves out there on the World-Wide Web, but from the response, we have had and realising we are helping contribute towards the change of breaking down taboos, it makes us feel it is something that we should try to continue to do for as long as possible.

Out of intrigue, we decided to find out more about the concept of Digital Mourning and this is what we found.

Please see Digital Mourning:

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2. Digital Mourning

2.1 How Mourning has changed in the Digital Age | Fronteras

Today, most of our lives revolve around the digital world — our phones, tablets or social media platforms. But researchers are finding the digital world is also changing how we mourn loved ones who’ve passed away”. Dr Debra Bassett is a Ph.D candidate at the University of Warwick in the U.K. and joined The Show to talk more about how grieving and remembering loved ones has changed in the digital age”.

When listening to this interview, my sister and I could relate to it in many ways. For a start when it comes to privacy, that is one of the things that was heavily on our minds. We are sharing our story, which ultimately is about our Dad. How would he feel about this, would he be upset? We have questioned these things many times. But then thought about it from a different angle and perspective. Although this is ultimately exposing our Dad by what we are doing, we are also helping people and making a difference. As our Dad was all about this, we feel that he would understand why we have chosen to do what we are doing.

In regard to second loss. The explanation of how people feel about losing the essence of the person they have lost is like moving house and resetting everything the same but it would still feel different, it would lose some of that essence. This 100% sums up how we felt when our Grief Probate Journey Instagram Page was hacked. This happened in May 2022 (this year) It took us three months to get through the experience and start again. (We have a topic on it). We have set up a new Instagram page (September 2022), but it will never be the same. We truly felt like we lost a part of our Dad and our story and journey when that happened and that we had let him and ourselves down. Knowing that others feel like this and it has been discovered through research helps us to know our feelings were and are valid. These are the kinds of ways that loss and grief affect people.

2.2 Designing For Death & Grief Online – Funeral Guide

(5 Jun 2017) — “Since the beginning of the internet, grief and death have found their way online. Are tech companies keeping pace with users?”

2.3 Digital Mourning and Memories – Ineqe Safeguarding Group

(18 Jun 2021) — The concept of “digital mourning” is a relatively new one. It centres around those who use social media (or other digital platforms) to …

2.4 Why do people mourn on social media?

“Plenty of people turn to social media while grieving to memorialize and remember what they loved about the person they lost, and to share the memories that they still hold onto. Far from being unusual, sharing in this way may actually be vital to the grieving process”. (6 May 2021)

2.5 Should We Be Warning Against Digital Mourning?

“As the world becomes more intertwined with technology, members of society are sharing more and more aspects of their lives on social media. Death is a natural and significant step in the circle of life”,

2.6 Digital Mourning & Memories – A Modern Take on Grief

(18 Jun 2021) — “The concept of “digital mourning” is a relatively new one. It centres around those who use social media (or other digital platforms) to”.

2.7 Forms and norms in digital mourning practices: Social Media +…

“This article examines Vin Diesel’s use of his public Facebook Page to mourn the loss of his friend and co-actor Paul Walker in the period from 2013-2015. It”…

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3. Grieving during the Pandemic (COVID-19)

3.1 Covid – 19 and Death in the Digital Age – LSE Blogs

“(28 May 2020) — The coronavirus pandemic has made us all think about the role that digital technology can play in connecting people at a time of death, …”.

3.2 Grieving in a pandemic | NEJM

“by K Meltzer · 2022 — We had a memorial service over Zoom attended by more than 3000 people, the first digitally hosted celebration of life any of us had been to”, …

3.3 Grieving During the COVID-19 Pandemic: In Person … NCB1

“by CYC Chen · Cited by 4 — The pandemic also has altered how people live, die, and mourn … iPads and other electronic devices simply cannot substitute physical presence, touch”, …

3.4 Beyond the Pandemic: find better ways to talk about death

“talk about death. by Dr Laura Davies. COVID-19 has forced millions of people to confront the prospect of dying earlier than they expected and under”…

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4. Our Final Thoughts

We are living in a digital era, one way more advanced than when I was growing up. My 8- and 6-year-old nephews are able to teach me things I have no clue about. I quite often think and say technology can be a blessing and a curse.

It can be brilliant as a means of communicating with friends/family abroad. It can be a curse if you are unfortunate enough to get hacked, or if the network crashes or goes down, in these cases you could lose precious data.

As we move through this digital era, like with most things in life we adapt accordingly to keep up with the times. Grief and matters related to it becoming predominantly online since the pandemic is an example of this.

We hope this topic might be of use to any of those who might read it.

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5. Our YouTube Video

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