- Tom Tuttle was happy to be back in town. He has been spending lots of time in Jamaica, preparing to sell his coastal resort, T-Bird on the Cliffs.
- Morris Nilsen shared his happiness at being able to introduce an accomplished violinist to the guitar!
Program: Morris Nilsen - "A Tweet is not a Hug"
Morrie shared that, historically, societies have had ways of collectively responding to death. In ancient times, early humans drew paintings on the walls of caves depicting their loved one’s life. In our culture, for centuries our response has been religiously-oriented, with adaptations to different cultures. Common threads include pausing to accomplish the tasks of burying or cremating; recognizing the impact of the person on the group; and separating the dead while the living go on in a changed world.
Today, humans are busier and more mobile, with fewer people living in the same location where they grew up. In this environment, traditional rituals following the death of a loved one have been condensed, and some rituals diminished or lost. As an example, in cases where the body is cremated, there is less urgency about what to do with the body, and a memorial service may be scheduled weeks or months later. Morrie cautions, “When this happens, the emotions immediately following a death subside, and the urgency to attend the service dissipates, resulting in many fewer people attending the service.” Morrie recommends a service close to the death, if at all possible.
Morrie has also observed that an increasing number of people send an e-mail or post Facebook comments in lieu of attending a service. As an example, he noted the death of a young person in his 20’s. He observed, “I think this person must have lived on the computer" because, while many e-mails and Facebook comments were posted on display boards, only 10 attendees were under age 30 at the service itself, including his siblings. All other attendees were his parents' age.
Morrie argued, “A tweet cannot take the place of a hug,” and thinks that "human touch" is still crucial to grieving families. Morrie advised, “Don’t worry about what to say. Saying ‘I’m sorry’ and giving a hug are the most important thing you can do. There is no substitute for just being there.”
Thanks, Morrie, for reminding us that human connections are still important.