Death in the Age of Permanence

Death in the Age of Permanence

After reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (video review coming soon), I began to research the girl who inspired the book. Esther Earl was only 16 years old when she passed away from thyroid cancer. And although she passed away four years ago, anyone can see her Youtube account  or even her Twitter feed.

A cousin of mine, who sadly passed away in a car accident almost two years ago, has his Facebook wall still up. It now serves as a sort of memorial space, where friends and family use it to grieve and somehow connect in spirit. Any of his Facebook friends can visit his page and see his status updates days and weeks before his passing. This was a real person, with real ideas and feelings and all of this out there, forever living in the Internet.

Before the Internet, people who passed away were remembered by photographs or journals. But even those items could be lost or destroyed, or at least they could be stored away. In our day and age, there are thousands of Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook accounts of people who are no longer alive. These accounts will linger on forever, or at least until those companies stick around.

It’s just an interesting time to live in. You can scroll through a deceased person’s blog or Facebook feed and learn from them and perhaps even fool yourself that they are still here.

How does a surviving family member cope? Is it healthy to read through your loved ones Tumblr over and over and over again? What if you read things that your teenage son or daughter kept from you? Will that affect your memory of them? I don’t have the answers to these questions. I just know that these are questions that our society is dealing with and will deal with as long as human beings are around and our technology progresses.


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