If I care to, for instance, wish a Facebook friend on their birthday, then I message them. I write stuff that has some meaning, other than merely copying/pasting a "happy birthday" note. When a friend's family member dies, I almost always take a couple of days to think about what I want to say and then I compose a message. If I have their snail-mail address, then I hand-write my greetings or condolences.
All because I value the human aspect--even though I might come across as an ant-social hermit. To merely scrawl on their Facebook wall, or to send a text message, is a gross insult to the human.
You can see why I, therefore, loved this piece on "The art of condolence." As I read that, I was shocked--yet again--how bizarre our behavior has become these days. We are fast losing even the little bit of an understanding that we had on what it means to be human. For example, it says a lot that we have to be reminded of this:
“Zero platitudes. If you’re feeling the urge to panic-talk and fill the air with clichés, don’t.”I have seen and heard a whole lot of platitudes. Especially in digital communication where people write stuff that perhaps they might never say when face-to-face.
I have always been concerned that people do not even want to use the word "death." The religious might say something like joined god, gone to heaven, and the likes, while the less religious also use strange secular phrases. I like the way the author put is here:
Death in our culture has become so sanitized, we have become afraid to mention it by name. While this instinct may come from a good place, it often lands in a bad one, the treacly territory of euphemism and happy talk. Loved ones don’t “die” anymore; they’re “carried away” or “resting peacefully.”It is all about the happy talk anymore, as if it is stupid to express one's sorrow. Whatever happened to mourning? We immediately want to transition to happy talk so that we can engage with that cliche of the times: Move on. Face it: We die. Eventually. We use euphemisms when we talk with a five-year old on what happened to the family dog. But, at some point, even that kid needs to understand that death happens.
Perhaps it is the change in the seasons that once again draws me to this topic, about which I have not blogged for the longest time. The temperature has dipped. Clouds have moved in to stay. Leaves are dropping, and dropping fast. The change in seasons promises that spring and summer will arrive in a few months. The regeneration of life is, thus, such a pleasure to watch and experience. I hope to enjoy it for a few more years before I