Where were you when you first heard about the death of Apple CEO & Innovator Steve Jobs?
I was on Facebook…
What was once simply a tool for staying connected with friends has become so much more:
- A news source.
- A place to share common interests.
- And a way for people to communicate about grief.
Since most people never got the chance to thank Jobs personally they did so on Facebook. Some of your friends might have changed their profile pictures or wrote a status update in his honor.
By its very nature Facebook encourages you to share your thoughts and feelings. When you do, it opens the door for helpful communication in talking about grief. On Facebook your friends are able to acknowledge your feelings by leaving comments or “liking” what they read.
And with the death of someone like Steve Jobs the numerous status updates remind us that it’s normal to have feelings about the death of a public figure.
What an amazing way to know we aren’t alone in our grief!
What happened on Facebook makes sense, but just like in the real world, it’s easy to spread negative information online about recovering from loss.
For example there were many comments such as:
“Did you even know Steve Jobs?”
Implying that one needs to have an intimate personal relationship to grieve a death. Which of course is not true.
Or “He is in a better place.”
It may or may not be true that he is in a better place, but that does not change the feeling of sadness or shock over his death.
Even on Facebook and even with the death of a celebrity it’s important to remember that intellect plays a very small part in recovering from loss.
Steve Jobs affected many people for many reasons. For most, it appeared his death inspired gratitude, appreciation, and admiration. For others, it triggered a memory.
Comment after comment people talked about their first experiences with Apple products and their memories attached.
When a relationship ends or changes there are usually things we wish could have been different, better, or more. Those undelivered communications are unresolved grief. In regard to Steve Jobs, people expressed that they wished they had the opportunity to thank him. With a public figure you might never get a chance to personally do so…
But let’s use the death of this American icon to remind us to do so with our friends and family. Let’s be clear…
What we saw on Facebook is an undelivered emotional communication.
Steve Jobs reminded me how I avoided using Apple products for years until, through much prodding, my brother talked me into getting a Mac computer. I realized I had never thanked my brother for that.
Who in your life do you owe a simple thank you to? Could it be the neighbor who waters your plants or a co-worker who tells funny jokes by the water cooler? Maybe there are some things to talk over with your mother or brother.
If you appreciate someone tell him or her. It’s simple to do and will keep you complete.
© 2011 The Grief Recovery Institute