Dealing with Death in a Digital Age

My grandmother passed away on Tuesday. And while I’m trying to find a way to cope with this on a personal level, it’s also been a challenge to navigate this road digitally.

Before the Internet days, how did the news spread? Word of mouth, maybe phone calls, an obituary… But now we live in a world where we broadcast our most private thoughts to the world and it’s been a challenge to find an appropriate medium.

On one hand, I don’t want to tell anyone about my family’s tragedy because it does seem like such a private thing. My closest friends have most likely all already heard, and there’s no need for anyone else to be involved. On the other hand, I want to shout from the rooftops the story of my grandmother’s life, how much I’ll miss her, and how devasting her death has been to my family.  Is it a private struggle or one made public in the same way that we have no hesitation about sharing other private aspects of our lives on the Internet?

My blog is where I think things through, my FaceBook profile is where I let people know what I’m thinking or feeling at a given time, and my Twitter status lets my followers know where I am. So is it still acceptable to clue everyone in to what I’m facing, or is this event too exclusive, too shattering to be lumped in with the usual mundane activity? It’s a fine line between honoring someone’s life and being sacrilegious. The words I’m using seem cheap to me and don’t do the occasion justice.

Or is this just the obituary – updated for our digital times?