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Old 09.07.2011, 10:20
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Re: Virtual grieving, why do we do it?

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I don't believe that anyone's death would receive the same reaction. For example if I were to die, I really would not expect the forum to grieve en masse as they have for Begga. This is simply true because I have not bothered to actually get to know that many people here and I am not as charismatic, have not been as active and not as well known. I believe the outpouring of grief is representative of how well known and liked she was.
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I was wondering the same. I was also thinking that maybe in my 5 years on this forum there may have already been some other members I have interacted with that may have died and I'd have no idea. I think the fact that Begga was an active at that moment larger than life character meant that everyone could relate. I have wondered which other members on here could generate the same display of grief if they died. I have also thought a lot about what Begga would make of this. Sort of sad that in death we never know how many people we affected.

An overriding feeling for me from this tragic event is a need to not intrude on people's grief because I did not know her well enough. I feel sad for her close friends on here and their grief is raw. If I were to outpour emotions on here about the death of a girl I hardly knew I would feel uncomfortable. I read the posts from those close friends of hers and feel sadness at their loss.
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Old 09.07.2011, 10:20
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Re: Virtual grieving, why do we do it?

This raises a very interesting subject, and one that I've been thinking about all week.

This is my first real experience of "virtual grieving" , but has it really been virtual grieving for me?

I knew Begga personally, she was a tangible physical being for me, not a user name and an avatar. She was somebody I'd spent time with, talked to, shared a hobby with, hugged, kissed on the cheek as we said hello, and then again as we said goodbye. If I were to speak from a personal, perhaps selfish, perspective, then at times it's been good to know that all of these people care, but nevertheless at times I've also felt that it's been somewhat of a "morbid circus" with people jumping onto the bandwagon for the sake of it. That sounds rather unfair I know, and I'm certainly not pointing my finger at anybody, it was just how I felt at times. Also, bear in mind that if it was a "morbid circus" then I'm just as guilty, if not more so, as contributing to it as anybody else.

Has this "virtual grieving" helped me? That remains to be seen. I learnt to deal with grief way before the internet and mobile phones, in a time that unless it was direct family you may not have found out for a week or so. There was often nobody around to share the grief with, so I learnt to file it away, and deal with on my terms and at times when I felt I could. This time I've been afforded no such luxury. Every time I've turned on the computer it's been right there in my face. I've not been able to get away from it, and therefore not been able to handle it in the controlled manner that I'm used to. In that sense I feel it's not really helped me, and at times it's made a very difficult week that much worse. On the other hand it's been very comforting to know that I was not alone.

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As our population becomes networked and borders no longer play any rôle in how we form friendships, are we emotionally equipped to cope?
For me personally I think not. This week has demonstrated that to me. That said, as we as a society move more and more into a virtualised world I think that for those who have only ever known a world with internet it will become the way that people will deal with such tragic events, and those people will also build up the emotional safeguards to be able to deal with it in this way. For those of us that are older, and already have have a coping mechanism in place, then I think some will find virtual grieving somewhat overwhelming and perhaps to a point crass as it's not the way we learnt to grieve.

Apologies if this post seems rather self centered, but I really only had my recent experiences to draw on.
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Old 09.07.2011, 10:36
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Re: Virtual grieving, why do we do it?

We try to explain or rationalize everything we do, everything we know.
Having an explanation reassures the mind and heart, and makes events bearable.

When a young person dies tragically and unexpectedly it shocks and revulses. It's unexplainable.
There is no way to make any sense of the chaos.

We come up against something that can only be accepted as it is, for there is nothing that can be explained and nothing anybody can do.
The feeling of helplessness, of not being able to make sense of an event, the fact that it reflects of our own mortality, makes everyone very vulnerable to emotion.

People are not only crying for a beautiful young soul, they are also crying for themselves, either by the loss of their own loved ones or by the thoughts of losing a loved one, or simply their own temporary journey.

To try and understand, we can only bring things back to ourselves as individuals.

Internet is instantaneous, it's an outlet for emotion without the barriers of society and education. There's a quick and often collective response to the expressed idea which in turn gratifies our basic need for recognition, our need to belong and feel loved.
Gone are all the parameters of education that would restrain the outpour of feeling. Internet is some sorts eliminates frustration.

Assassin, I believe your text is thoughtful and true. With clarity and polite decency you've tried to make sense of the chaos. I'm guessing that it expresses the fugacious thought that has crossed many a mind.

edit: I hope nobody feels offended by my thought that we bring things back to ourselves. The grief is genuine and people's emotions have been beautiful, bringing together a community. I'm only deeply sorry that it was because of a tragedy of a beautiful soul.
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Old 09.07.2011, 10:42
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Re: Virtual grieving, why do we do it?

It's all about the girl. I think the confusion of losing someone so full of living has set us in a spin. Not everyones death would generate so much love and unity, which is as it should be, Begga was that special.
I'm gonna try to be nicer to humans in her name.
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Old 09.07.2011, 10:54
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Re: Virtual grieving, why do we do it?

I also believe that the grieving was paramount because Begga was such a special loving person.

But the discussion of this thread concerns the impressive outpour of feeling and virtual grieving.

Don't think we're discussing the person here, it's a questioning of: why did people react and feel so deeply.
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Old 09.07.2011, 11:00
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Re: Virtual grieving, why do we do it?

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We try to explain or rationalize everything we do, everything we know.
Having an explanation reassures the mind and heart, and makes events bearable.

When a young person dies tragically and unexpectedly it shocks and revulses. It's unexplainable.
There is no way to make any sense of the chaos.

We come up against something that can only be accepted as it is, for there is nothing that can be explained and nothing anybody can do.
The feeling of helplessness, of not being able to make sense of an event, the fact that it reflects of our own mortality, makes everyone very vulnerable to emotion.

People are not only crying for a beautiful young soul, they are also crying for themselves, either by the loss of their own loved ones or by the thoughts of losing a loved one, or simply their own temporary journey.

To try and understand, we can only bring things back to ourselves as individuals.

Internet is instantaneous, it's an outlet for emotion without the barriers of society and education. There's a quick and often collective response to the expressed idea which in turn gratifies our basic need for recognition, our need to belong and feel loved.
Gone are all the parameters of education that would restrain the outpour of feeling. Internet is some sorts eliminates frustration.

Assassin, I believe your text is thoughtful and true. With clarity and polite decency you've tried to make sense of the chaos. I'm guessing that it expresses the fugacious thought that has crossed many a mind.

edit: I hope nobody feels offended by my thought that we bring things back to ourselves. The grief is genuine and people's emotions have been beautiful, bringing together a community. I'm only deeply sorry that it was because of a tragedy of a beautiful soul.
So very true, Sky.
My first husband died of cancer, in his mid twenties, just a year after we married.
It all happened a long time ago but, when I read of Begga's tragic death, at such a young age, I immediately thought of my first husband.
At least when someone dies through illness, there is usually time to prepare.
In Begga's case there was none and the shock makes it even more painful.
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  #47  
Old 09.07.2011, 13:51
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Re: Virtual grieving, why do we do it?

Many people on here probably read my posts and think I'm heartless already, so this post is for you

I've always had a rather Stoical outlook on life, but a few months ago someone lent me a book called "A guide to the good life - the ancient artof stoic joy". I skimmed through it (not cos I have ADHD, but because I'm easily bored and it's hard to read whilst my eyes are still rolling from reading the book's title). One of the points it makes it to imagine life if someone close to you has died.

In other words, think for a while how life would be if your mother had just died, or sister, or husband - whoever. This kind of prepares one for the possibility and means you're a bit primed if it does actually happen.

Works for me.
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Old 09.07.2011, 14:24
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Re: Virtual grieving, why do we do it?

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Many people on here probably read my posts and think I'm heartless already, so this post is for you

I've always had a rather Stoical outlook on life, but a few months ago someone lent me a book called "A guide to the good life - the ancient artof stoic joy". I skimmed through it (not cos I have ADHD, but because I'm easily bored and it's hard to read whilst my eyes are still rolling from reading the book's title). One of the points it makes it to imagine life if someone close to you has died.

In other words, think for a while how life would be if your mother had just died, or sister, or husband - whoever. This kind of prepares one for the possibility and means you're a bit primed if it does actually happen.

Works for me.
I don't think you're heartless, Adrian, far from it, but I don't even want to contemplate anything happening to any one of my 8 little grandchildren, and I'm absolutely sure nothing at all would help me prepare for it.
My kids, on the other hand, might be preparing for when I fall off my perch , and I'm sure there are times they'd like to push me off it.
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Old 09.07.2011, 14:46
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Re: Virtual grieving, why do we do it?

I've witnessed death and the repercussions of death quite a number of times. This however has been the first time I've experienced it in an online manner. The actions taken offline and in the real world by generous souls deeply touched me, and as others have mentioned the loss of such a young life raised memories and emotions connected to those I've lost.

One of the less painful memories (I'm willing to share) that came up for me, was that of the loss of a group of school mates who were killed simultaneously by a drunk driver. The reaction of the school seemed in some ways to mirror the forum. People jumped in to help, groups collected together to grieve and physical representations of the grief were made (the floral tributes continued for years).

But those who did not know them personally grieved too. And sometimes in a more public and open manner than those who knew them personally. It angered me initially. I felt that they were attempting to draw attention to themselves at the expense of my friends. But I then came to realise that each of us find our own way through grief and many of us have very different personalities that in turn determine how we react. And as much as the pain feels extremely personal; I could not know how others were feeling or why they were feeling the way they did.

To each his own. In love, life, grief and laughter.
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Old 09.07.2011, 15:53
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Re: Virtual grieving, why do we do it?

I really hesitate to say this, as I sincerely would not like to hurt anybody, especially those who know Begga well. But over the past few days I at times hoped that no 'Diana' effect would creep into this wonderful young woman's sad demise. I am not expressing this very well, but it has been at the back of my mind.
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Old 09.07.2011, 15:59
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Re: Virtual grieving, why do we do it?

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I really hesitate to say this, as I sincerely would not like to hurt anybody, especially those who know Begga well. But over the past few days I at times hoped that no 'Diana' effect would creep into this wonderful young woman's sad demise. I am not expressing this very well, but it has been at the back of my mind.
Apart from being annoying to watch, it didn't seem to cause anyone any harm.
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Old 09.07.2011, 16:05
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Re: Virtual grieving, why do we do it?

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Apart from being annoying to watch, it didn't seem to cause anyone any harm.
Unless you visit hateful Harrods and come across the gruesome memorial still lurking there and the visitors' book with morbid cringe-making poems.
I could go on, but I'll restrain myself.......for the moment
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Old 09.07.2011, 16:17
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Re: Virtual grieving, why do we do it?

For me, I like to share nice stories and have good memories to remember. So telling them is giving a chance to others to know a little bit more about the great person Begga was.

I am usually a person of action. Few year ago, my collegue (which I was close to, we were going out together, parties, dinners, talk, etc) got married to a very nice guy. We already knew him, he was the manager of a bar we used to go for after hours. They had a beautiful and simple wedding and life went normally.

Exactly one year after their marriage, I got called from my classroom and my boss told me her husband got hurt and was at the hospital. We rushed out and went straight to her to find her in tears, screeming and suffering.

Our friend died of an electric shock while trying to fix the fridge. He didn't wait for the electrician and they (him and a co-worker) just wanted to have a look. He died instantly.

Everybody was in shock and we all cried a lot. A co-worker and myself went to our friend's home. We cleaned up, organised everything for her comfort and prepared food as well. When she came home, we let her in her room, keeping an eye on her and we took care of the guests.

I was active, I was busy taking care of her so I didn't have to think of my pain. I felt like I didn't have the right to feel the pain, because what was my pain compared to hers?

The whole school joined us to support her. Our suppliers, our models and everyone we were used to work with in fashion shows came to give their support and respects.

It was the same at what it is on the forum, but instead of people putting words on their feeling, they were physically there, with us.

Nil
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Old 09.07.2011, 20:59
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Re: Virtual grieving, why do we do it?

Hi,

I only met Begga the once, at a curry night in Basel so didn't know her as well as others on here....but....on an expat forum like the EF, we have a lot of people who are in a similar boat - away from family and familiar things, and in that regard, the tragedy that beset Begga is brought more sharply into focus as she is regarded as being "one of us".

Although I don't share the level of bereavement that others who knew her better did, reading of such terrible events does make you re-evaluate things, and certainly reminds you that life really is far too short to get wound up by trivial matters at work and in other aspects of life, and you realise what really is important - nobody goes to the grave wishing they spent more time at the office!

Plus it has been a reminder that one's own demise can come at anytime - and we will finally pull our fingers out and get our wills sorted out, particularly in regard to our wishes for who will take care of our son in the event that something bad happens to the both of us, and we will take positive steps to discuss such things with our respective family members.

Anyway, it was great to see a good turnout at the Rappi today and I enjoyed my Begga biscuits!

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 09.07.2011, 21:13
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Re: Virtual grieving, why do we do it?

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I lost my brother, father in law and best friend, underneath petrol tankers, log trucks and an armoured vehicle... Recent events have unearthed feelings not properly dealt with. Nuff said. Not enough said, who knows.
Can not even begin to imagine the emotions you must have felt/ still feel. Keep strong and take time xx
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Old 09.07.2011, 21:30
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Re: Virtual grieving, why do we do it?

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I really hesitate to say this, as I sincerely would not like to hurt anybody, especially those who know Begga well. But over the past few days I at times hoped that no 'Diana' effect would creep into this wonderful young woman's sad demise. I am not expressing this very well, but it has been at the back of my mind.
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Apart from being annoying to watch, it didn't seem to cause anyone any harm.
Indeed, I think that being able to voice their emotions has done a lot of people a lot of good. As mentioned earlier, people grieve in many different ways. A tragic incident such as the one we have just witnessed is not made any less tragic by a public outpouring of grief. For many, an incident such as this can act as a catalyst, allowing them to express their feelings, which in itself is cathartic.
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Old 09.07.2011, 21:48
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Re: Virtual grieving, why do we do it?

Building on what a few of you have said here - we're all expats in the same boat, more or less, and we've lost one of us.

I think the family you choose can be a stronger bond than the family you're born into. Perhaps this, too, is a reason why communities who choose to associate with each other often grieve in this very open, building on each other fashion.
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Old 09.07.2011, 23:09
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Re: Virtual grieving, why do we do it?

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I really hesitate to say this, as I sincerely would not like to hurt anybody, especially those who know Begga well. But over the past few days I at times hoped that no 'Diana' effect would creep into this wonderful young woman's sad demise. I am not expressing this very well, but it has been at the back of my mind.
Exactly.
We need to rejoice and celebrate the life but not deify the person.

So far I think that we are being fairly good stewards of Begga's memory.
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Old 10.07.2011, 08:12
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Re: Virtual grieving, why do we do it?

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Great post UM - I wonder if your thoughts (along with mine) stem from the stoic british stiff upper lip attitude? Some cultures wail in the street with grief - as a Brit I find myself feeling the need to be more private in grief.
Its a characteristic of we British to be more comfortable in commenting widely, critically & publically on other cultures displays of emotion, than on displaying it ourselves. I always regarded it as a failing of ours to be happier to criticise than to feel able to open ourselves to the emotion.

I think thats why the Diana thing was such a shock that the country seemingly changed character overnight. Thats what comes of showing Rikki Lake on TV i guess
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Old 10.07.2011, 11:55
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Re: Virtual grieving, why do we do it?

For me, I carry my emotions fairly openly anyhow. Only deepest ones are kept in but I'm sure even those are seen, even if not expressed (the few photos we have from 2009 clearly show my state of heart at that time).

Usually, these open emotions are shared with family. Although I've lived all over the country, it is only within recent years that I've not had at least two members of my immediate family nearby as for a while, my sister and I were both at our mother's and my brother and his wife lived across town. Here in Switzerland I don't have that so now, indeed, as someone else mentioned, there are folks with whom I am currently closer (both in proximity and regarding daily-happenings) than with my own family.

Many of these people are near-at-hand here in Basel, some are not, many ("most" would be more accurate) are members of this forum. It is easier and more understandable for me to put my thoughts into words that are typed rather than trying to speak them out, so I share my stories of Begga here so that friends can see and share and enjoy what I enjoyed with her - without having to try to interpret it through my tearful voice and also (and more importantly for me) so they can hopefully gain some comfort without feeling like they need to try to be strong and comfort me.
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