Today marks the 8th anniversary of my brother‘s
passing death. I still refuse to call it “passing”. And while I felt unusually emotional and sad on his birthday, I am doing reasonably ok today. Still, I posted a photo of him on Facebook. Later I asked myself, why exactly I am doing it. I came to the conclusion, that posting about someone’s anniversary on Facebook is really the 2.0 version of remembrance ads in the newspaper. I don’t know if this is common practice in other countries, but here in Germany, it used to be very common to put an ad into the papers for certain anniversaries. It is probably less common now with digital newspapers and all that. But really, what happened to cards and calls?
I personally still stick to a few non-digital habits. Or let me re-phrase that, I digitalise a few of them, while still personalising them. Does that make sense? Ok, let me explain. I would never just say “Happy birthday” to a close friend on Facebook. I would call, send a card or at least a personal whatsapp / sms. This year, I was in Prague for my birthday, and many people knew that (FB again, you see). So I don’t know what people think then…. “Oh, she is Prague, so she is not reachable.” Yeah right, because we all have MOBILE phones. They move with us! So I kept staring at my phone and was honestly feeling low and lonely, when finally one friend – one! – managed to call me . Everybody else used effing Facebook, because “She is not reachable by phone, but she surely has internet.” What?!? You know, I think it is great to go back online in Germany and have 173 birthday messages from acquaintances and “see you when I see you”-friends. But close friends? There is nothing less personal! And before I get attacked now, I know everybody means well and stuff, but I would just do things differently.
So today, after my “ad” on Facebook (you know, I would put it into the papers if anybody still read them), three people managed to send me messages to my bitchin’ phone (this is a reference to the fantastic read “Edward adrift” by Craig Lancaster), one of them being a friend whom I met through a siblings’ grief forum. Of course she remembers, just like I remember her sister’s anniversary.
I am not trying to blame. I just miss the old way of letting someone know you are thinking of them. I still send Christmas cards. When I know somebody has stuff going on, I try to reach them personally. I love the internet, and I dig social media, but I think some traditions should be kept alive. It makes the world a little warmer! Fortunately, some people still like doing it as well. There is nothing better than pulling a card out of your mailbox and knowing that someone made the effort!
Do you still like real cards and letters? Do you feel more special when you get them?
Yours truly, madly, deeply!