Last night, a friend shared the pain of losing her pet, a cat who had been part of their family for years. She wrote, initially, that they had decided it was time to call the vet yesterday to make a house call to end the suffering. A while later she reported it was done. Her posts…they were made on Facebook…elicited an outpouring of support. I participated in it, but separately I watched and analyzed, somewhat dispassionately, what had transpired. It was a touching display of how social media can allow us to share important moments. And it demonstrated to me how some of the most personal and touching moments of our lives can be shared today in ways that were impossible just a few short years ago. The ability to bring our friends and family together so quickly and so closely is a powerful benefit of social media.
It is important, I think, to be able to share the pain of losing a beloved animal companion, just as it is important to share the pain of losing a human companion. Both occupy important places in our lives; both are objects of our love. The availability of social media to share the pain is, in my opinion, one of the most important services social media provides. It performs a function unavailable to us, heretofore, in our modern lives, geographically spread as they are. Phone calls cannot compete, though they can, perhaps, be more personal between those who are close. But social media enables us to share the pain of our friends and family in ways only physical proximity could provide until recently.
Robin and Roger, I’m so sorry about Bonsai. But you did the right thing, both to put an end to his misery and to share the pain with your friends. You have shown how social media can be at its best.