I know first-hand the power of online connections. They saved me in my own early days, and they continue to be a lifeline for my students and clients. The Writing Your Grief alumni community is quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever created: they’ve become family for each other inside that group.
Especially in grief, online relationships can be even more important and reliable than in-person ones. So what happens when an online friend dies? How do you grieve someone you never met in person?
I spoke with a journalist at the New York Times about this very thing.
Today around 70 percent of Americans connect over social media, according to the Pew Research Center. Although many of us are talking to people we know in real life, it’s easy to form connections with people we have never met in person.
More than ever before, we are using our smartphones and technology to form meaningful relationships with virtual strangers, both in romance and friendship; we celebrate one another’s successes, share our individual struggles, and despite geographical limitations, these bonds often span years. But what happens when the person on the other side of the screen dies?Our ideas about which relationships are “real” have not caught up with the ways we actually live and connect, said Megan Devine. She’s adamant that this deep sense of loss isn’t limited to in-person friendships. Click To Tweet
Our ideas about which relationships are “real” have not caught up with the ways we actually live and connect, said Megan Devine, a Portland-based psychotherapist and author of “It’s OK That You’re Not OK.” She’s adamant that this deep sense of loss isn’t limited to in-person friendships.
Click here to read the rest of the article at the New York Times. And let us know about your experience.
Header photo credit NYT & Gillian Photography
Have you lost online friends due to death or serious accident? If so, do you think your grief is different than it might be if you knew the person “IRL”? How have friends and family responded to your grief? And what are some ways you reached out or connected with your online friend’s IRL friends and family? Let us know in the comments.
PS: Could you use a little more community? Grief can be incredibly lonely. Find your people here, at this link. We’ve got room for you.