These days, people post everything online. You see what people are eating, what people are walking past on their way to work, what’s annoying people while they’re at work. Sometimes you even get insight into the places they’re visiting courtesy of third party apps such as foursquare. Social media is everywhere and it’s pretty hard to avoid. So what do you do if you’re an avid blogger or social media junkie and discover that you have a very short amount of time left on earth?
One such blogger took to the internet when he discovered that his cancer was terminal and began to write about his life as it neared its end. Derek Miller was perhaps one of the best known and longest running bloggers in Vancouver when he began writing about his impending death.
In fact, the day after he passed away, eerily enough, he had one last blog from the grave that was posted posthumously. The post is an intimate look into the mind of a person who knows they will die soon and his thoughts on what that will mean to him and his family. It’s touching and honest. At one point he writes:
“It turns out that no one can imagine what’s really coming in our lives. We can plan, and do what we enjoy, but we can’t expect our plans to work out. Some of them might, while most probably won’t. Inventions and ideas will appear, and events will occur, that we could never foresee. That’s neither bad nor good, but it is real.”
Miller used his blog to come to terms with his death and some researchers are starting to believe that social media can actually be a great asset for people who are facing an untimely death due to terminal illness. Social media allows us to express our thoughts and emotions to more than just our close friends that we may see once a week. It allows these people to reach out to family and friends (and perhaps even strangers) to express how coming to terms with their death makes them feel.
In fact, even after their death, some people choose to have their social media accounts, from blogs to Facebook, serve as a memorial to their life so that friends and family can grieve openly and as a community; to experience connections, even when people are thousands of miles away.
Like it or not, social media is now not only a part of our everyday lives, it’s a part of our deaths as well.