When my wife died 2 1/2 years ago, I was all alone — we had no children, and our friends and colleagues were spread out over the USA and Europe. An obituary in the local newspaper was not going to be read by more than the handful of friends; everyone else lived 300 or more miles of our home. I posted an announcement on Facebook explaining that Julia had died and stating the circumstances, as well as the comment that I did not have the energy to make hundreds of phone calls.
My post appeared on her FB page (my wife and I were friends on Facebook).
I had hesitated to use Facebook for this announcement: I was 53 then, Julia was 59, and we had not grown up in a networked world, so it’s not second-nature to us to use it. But I am glad I did, because everyone who would have wanted to know found out from FB or from friends who use FB.
And in the days that followed, while I was facing the loneliness and grief of widowhood, the many kind messages that people from all periods of my and Julia’s lives posted in response to the announcement were very, very comforting. I’ll cry if I think about it more, but they meant a lot to me.
The New York Times writer is wrong; Facebook is all right.