Monday, April 25, 2011

Life and Death 2.0


This evening, I briefly saw a friend of mine at a food blogger event.
She is one of the most ebullient people I know. Tonight she was very distant and standoffish, and definitely not her cheerful self. She excused herself and left early.

Soon after, I sat down at a table with friends and checked my "streams" It was then that I saw a Facebook post mentioning the passing of Kim Ricketts, literary event promoter and genuinely amazing person. I was shocked, not just by the devastating news, but also in the delivery. RIP via Social Media? Do we no longer send black edged cards announcing the passing of family or friends? That is too slow and requires postage. We now do things quickly, instantaneously, and sometimes without thought. Like it or not, life does happen in 140 characters or less - but is it always appropriate?

My memory is filled with the exact place, time and delivery of the news of the death of loved ones. When I was little, I grew to dread the middle of night telephone calls that usually meant that someone back home had died. Later, we would receive telegrams and letters expressing sorrow. It seemed to prolong, yet at the same time soften the blow of loss - 6000 miles and staticky phone lines help, along with a touch of youthful innocence.

Making phone calls to family and friends after the death is also something I have grown accustomed to. After the death of TH's father, I remember sitting with the phone book in my lap making call after call. I hoped that the phone would ring and no one would answer so that I could hang up. I was relieved when I heard a friendly voice would pick up on the other end. The first words are the hardest, and I dread silence on other end - wanting to fill the gaps of comprehension.

I cannot say enough about the grace of my friend who while consuming her own grief and shock, did not announce to the world her mourning and loss. She is a class act.

We all have our ways of processing loss and expressing grief. I did post on my Facebook wall about my shock of her death and my sadness. She was an amazing person that had the knack and gift of building a community of food lovers, chefs and writers. I read others' twitter streams and realize that having an one to many conversation about loss is how they deal with grief. This is something I cannot do well in 140 characters or less, I need more bandwidth.

I will honor Kim by continuing to cherish books and the written word. TH and I will toast her with hot cocoa and wish you all had had the good fortune to have crossed paths with her.

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