I remember that when I was a child my family and I used to take the car and go to the cemetery every November. You can imagine how happy I was, especially because on the same occasion we visited my aunts for my birthday: cemetery and cake.
Anyway, I remember those cold hours in an old and creepy cemetery in northern Italy on All Souls´ Day. Everywhere we looked there were groups of people cleaning a grave and changing flowers. Everyone was wearing dark clothes and it freaked me out.
I am scared of death. I am scared of the image of dead bodies. When I had to pee at the cemetery it was the worst: I had to walk between all those dead bodies and I always expected to find a bone inside the toilet.
I hated those moments and I hated being in a cemetery because I didn´t understand why I had to be there: if I want to remember a person, I can do it on my own. I try to remember that person alive and happy looking at some photos and getting lost in my memories. Why the hell should I remember a person standing centimeters from her/his skeleton? Creepy.
But I think that for my grandmother it was different. I think that there used to be a different image of death. My other grandma loved going to funerals for example: it was a way to remember the dead and to homage his/her life. Once it was her birthday and we could´t find her. Guess where she was?! At a funeral and she told us that she even was in car with the body. ARG! What the hell woman! Creeeepy lady!
Anyway, what I want to say is that funerals and cemeteries were the place where you could get in touch with the person you lost. But what about now? Now we all have a parallel online life and a Facebook page.
A couple of my Facebook friends are long gone and their personal pages are filled with memories, photos and messages. “I miss you”, “You should be here” “I visited this place and wanted to share this photo with you”… a lot of people write messages and share thoughts on the pages of those people who are long gone.
Plus, announcing a death online is becoming quite popular: it´s fast, free and you can reach plenty of people writing on your Facebook page that your goldfish, hamster, neighbor or plant is gone.
Is this the new way to commemorate death? We once sat at the cemetery staring at a stone and now we can share a thought going to work, eating or watching a movie.
Is Facebook the new cemetery? Is Facebook the new platform to commemorate those who left us?
I still find it creepy and sad, but at least this time I don´t have to have cake and cemetery.