There is comfort in the routine of childhood. My dad sits in the corner of the couch, tired after work. His glasses perch on his wrinkled-up nose. Intensely he holds the paper too near for comfort and peruses the death notices. Comments to my mother on an elderly neighbour (more parochial than literal) from Ballingarry, ruralest county Tipperary. The following evening they would go to the removal (a Roman Catholic tradition whereby the night before the burial the body is removed from the home where it was waked to the local church for the Vigil mass).
Social networking has evolved.
A “friend” (it’s a loose term these days, mind you) recovered his stolen car though a determined campaign on Facebook. Another found a job after a long stint of unemployment. Jokes, break-ups, photos of summery kids, FaceBook is one way of keeping in touch with friends and family the world over, pretty instantaneously.
Recently I have noticed more postings to departed loved ones on their anniversaries of passing. It appears to be a novel way of professing out loud one’s grief and love for family or friends who have passed on. On the Irish Times website one can Share memorial notices on FaceBook, Bebo, Twitter “and more”.
A reminder of the transience of life and the enormity of loss, social media is quickly usurping the obituaries on the next-to-last page of the newspaper.
Now when I visit home, in the evening dad is still sitting on the couch, nose more scrunched up than ever, inches from the back page. It’s time for a Tablet methinks!