Hearing About Someone’s Death…

…via e-mail.

Frankly, it sucks. If you’ve ever learned about the death of someone you know through the so-called advanced communication known as electronic mail, you know what I mean.

I remember my first death by e-mail. It was a woman that I knew from church, a terrifically vibrant snowy- haired woman with Southern patois and energy enough to run circles around me in any venue. It was December. She got a bad cold. It went into her chest. She went into the hospital. She never left.

Not two weeks later, it was the death of family friend Phillip Ward (wife not artfully displayed here along with better coverage of the grandchildren here) . Long suffering from MS, he was a quirky writer Catholic Brit (his string of nouns will not suffer hyphenation) who read the Bible in French every day. He was a good friend to my dad, further proving his ability to suffer long.

Then Judith Zitter. A great mercy: I heard about it over the phone.

Today, another person from church. I knew she was ailing. Last Sunday, I heard she had a stroke. She was already so frail that “stroke” is probably a euphemism for something else.

Of the many ways American culture fails, it fails most at seeing death as the end of life.

I previously blogged about death here. For some reason, the vast majority of spam comments on this blog enter through that post.

Do you know this lovely Emily Dickenson poem? It starts like this:

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

Have you had news of someone’s death via e-mail?

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3 Responses to “Hearing About Someone’s Death…”

  1. Susan Kitchens Says:

    Yes. I heard of the death of a friend and Brycer by email. And I explored the whole topic of it in a blog post that I put in the “website” part of this comment, as a meditation ahead-of-the-fact when I was blogging about my 100-year-old grandpa’s health problems and running a private blog with status updates.

    I also heard about the death of Jeffry Michael by phone message. That didn’t upset me as much because it was expected. Oh, and Helen shared news of her dad’s death by email, too.

    It’s hard… when you know someone in virtual life, it makes a kind of sense to hear of it virtually. But for people you know face to face, it makes sense to have a live connection.

    Two ways I have NOT learned of death: telegram, or letter. Which have each been common in their day.

  2. Life Observer Says:

    “Of the many ways American culture fails, it fails most at seeing death as the end of life.”
    I’m a little unclear on what’s being said in the above statement. (It’s a low-energy day 4 me 2day) I think the great majority of Americans believe in God, & believe in some kind of next life-“heavenly”, or otherwise.

    I don’t think there is any nice communicative mode to receive notice of the death of a love one. With someone I love I would rather be with the person as they gave up their last breath than get the word via text messaging, or any other modern/improved form of communication.

    This is a “topic of the week” sort of topic.

  3. AP Says:

    It’s such a sinking feeling when you read about the loss of someone.

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