On Facebook and dying.

I am currently listening to John O’Donahue reading his wonderful book Beauty. In the current chapter he is talking about the process of dying and his own attendance as a priest at the bedside of people during their last moments. The writing is all the more moving given that the writer died in his sleep last year at the young age of 52.

He talks of how removed we have become from death. How we hide death behind hospital doors and don’t discuss it in polite society. How this makes us if anything more terrified of our own deaths.

So what has all his got to do with Facebook? I have been struck recently by the number of friends who have written sensitively and movingly there about the death of a loved one. As someone whose parents are both in their eighties (though thankfully still in remarkably good health) I am ever more aware that the death of someone I care deeply about is something I will have to face.

I am grateful to those friends who have had the courage to share their experiences there on Facebook, and grateful to live in a time where we have platforms to share such experiences in ways that we might not otherwise.