Earlier today I posted a eulogy for one of our Corgis who passed away last night.
Wrote, posted, and shared on social media.
I started to think it might be useful to consider why, why, and why.
When something touches you deeply, the loss needs to be expressed. Whether it be a celebration of life, an acknowledgment of gratitude, or a chronicle “for the record”, the process creating it is important.
The work of creating it is therapeutic. It allows me to examine, process, and capture the loss in ways that otherwise just moving on wouldn’t.
Many use journaling to this end. My past attempts at journaling have all failed.
Apparently, I need an audience.
More completely, why post publicly?
It could be interpreted as attention-seeking. Maybe it is, but as someone who writes online every day already, I’m not sure it plays a big role.
In part, it’s me wanting to share something that brought me joy; something that was an important part of my life for so long.
But the biggest reason is simpler: making it public makes it real. Making it public forces me to polish it. Making it public causes me to spend more time before I hit “publish”.
Posting publicly is part of my therapy as well.
Even if no one ever reads it.(*)
So if posting on my blog isn’t exhibitionism, isn’t sharing it on social media all about attention?
Yes, and no.
I’ve come up with two reasons (or rationalizations, if you prefer).
First, given that the post has been written, it’s the least painful way to share with many of our friends, family, and acquaintances that there’s been a significant event in our lives. Rather than having to tell each in turn that we’ve lost a dog — with pain and awkwardness each time — a social media post touches 90% of our tribe. It also gives them a simple and appreciated venue to express themselves should they feel inclined.
The second is more difficult to explain.
I want to set an example.
People lose beloved pets every day. Not everyone deals with it as we do, or deals with it well. I want them to know they are not alone. The pain they feel is real, but they’ll get through it. There’s a supportive community. We understand what you feel because we’ve experienced it ourselves. Here’s proof.
As we told the veterinarian this isn’t our first time, and it won’t be our last.
If sharing the experience also helps someone else through theirs, then we can do that.
At least, that’s my rationalization.