Tuesday, March 23, 2010

grief in the time of facebook

This is not suppose to happen, at least not to someone I know. It’s something I hear Nancy Grace screeching about.

This is a television episode, one of those ubiquitous crime series, like the now defunct Without a Trace.

But it is real, and it is close. As close as my F
acebook page.

Last week, a posting from my dear friend Carol in Point Pleasant, NJ, simply stating that her nephew Martin Molinski, 26, living and working in Bermuda, had apparently gone for a swim in 60-degree surf before work—and disappeared leaving only his clothing on the beach.

Less than 2 hours later, her daughter had the Find Martin Molinski ASAP page up on fb. Not only did family and friends chime in, but the lead detective and island residents did also. The local paper posted the link on its front page.

The search lasted four days.

The body of the young man washed ashore on Sunday, and the fb page morphed into a memorial site, with stories and photos.

Overwhelmed with the need to hear my friend’s voice, I called, noting her phone must be ringing off the hook.

“Not really,” she replied. “Facebook took care of that.”

So it did. Facebook allowed her family, strewn over multiple continents, to come together in a comprehensive way, to grieve together virtually, in a manner they would never have been able to do without the much maligned social networking site.

THIS is what I love about fb. You don’t have to be Michael Jackson. Anyone can create community. Yes, a lot of it is silly and time wasting. I just ignore it.

In this electronic age, age-old rituals need not be forsaken due to time and distance. This is no small thing. Maybe it’s the Jew in me, but ritual exists for a reason. It connects, it amplifies joy, it gets us through the unfathomable—until we find the strength inside to go on.

This young man--a master carpenter taking time from his craft to figure out his future—was waylaid by death. I don’t pretend to know why.

I am grateful, however, my friend has her fb family at this time.


Marie said...

Beautiful post & yes, i have to say..thank God for Facebook...has been whats kept me linked to my family though this tough & difficult time.

carol said...

Roberta - thank you for this. Love you - cam xo

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Ellen said...

What a moving story. Yes, sometimes I think that facebook is a trivial thing and a waste of time, but in this instance, thank God for facebook. I am truly sorry for the family.

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Requested by my children I recently joined facebook. Not only did they friend me, but many of their friends did as well...my kids are 18,20 and 27! Keeping an eye on what my extended family is up to has been wonderful. Technology is pretty amazing!