When someone you know dies…

what is the first thing you say?  Do you express condolences or do you ask how it happened?  And if you find out about the death through a link to the obituary on Facebook?

When I was in high school, I was not part of the pretty crowd; the girls with the perfect hair and flawless skin.  The ones who made the boys stop in mid-sentence when they passed (or so it seemed).  We were pretty lucky at my school since I’ve found most of the pretty girls like that were mean at other schools and the girls at my school were mostly nice.  It’s not like they would actually deign to speak to me but they didn’t do the mean things that happened to most of my college friends when they were in high school.

So oddly enough, one of the pretty girls from my high school friended me on Facebook and I accepted since I accept most Facebook requests.  I didn’t think she knew who I was but she was probably just going down the list of people who went to the high school.   Then last week she posted a link to the obituary of the other pretty girl who was always with her in the high school halls.  Her post spoke of never putting off calling a friend you haven’t spoken too when the urge to call hits.

So having first seen it on Facebook, I expressed my condolences and thought to leave it at that.  Facebook would notify me whenever someone would leave a comment and that’s how I started seeing the pattern.   Friends would post about the loss of our classmate and inevitably someone would ask – “Do you know how she died?”

It’s a natural question, it’s part of survival; after all if Thag didn’t come back after hunting stegosaurus maybe I don’t want to go hunt stegosaurus.  Anyway after the question was asked, one of a couple of people would pop into the comment, call the questioner names and tell them the family wanted privacy.

If the family wanted privacy, they shouldn’t have posted an obituary and followed all the comments about it on Facebook.

Let’s face it, the easiest way to have your privacy is to let people draw their own conclusions.  If the family really wanted privacy they would have put in adverbs and let people leap in that direction.  After all if I see unexpectedly or suddenly in an obit, I assume it’s a heart attack or accident.  If I see finally in the description I assume a long and lingering illness.   That’s all the curious really need to assuage their need to know.

If they truly wanted privacy, they would have ignored the comments on Facebook instead of stirring up the controversy and insulting people who knew her but then if that crowd hasn’t changed much since high school?  They always did have more looks than brains, or at least that was true of the the ones I tutored.

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