Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.
Stimulated by the dying of a member of another online community, I offer these sentiments.
Whether we are mourning the loss of a loved one after years of intimacy or an online friend who grew on us through her poignant and adept writings, grief is an individual affair. Despite the well-publicized stages of denial, depression, anger, bargaining, understanding and acceptance, everyone grieves somewhat differently. Also, we can't measure grief. Who's to say how much more someone's grief over a sick child is compared to that over an elderly parent? Who's to say someone's grief over a lost marriage and all the dreams which it encompassed is not as potent and relevant as another's grief over a suicided teen?
Grief is always great. It is always painful. We may process it gently, slowly, peacefully, loving the memories and influence which stay with us forever. Or, we may thrash about physically and mentally, dramatically, angrily, crying and hurting for a long time. Eventually, to heal, we must forgive--not someone, but Life, God (if we believe in some spirit bigger or beyond), Fate, and People (maybe even ourselves) for not being powerful enough to prevent disease, disaster, disruption, temptation or whatever got in the way of immortality.
One thing to remember is that that we're all in it together. No one escapes from tragedy of one sort or another, even on online community, a club or group, a family, a country, a world. We will miss what we lose, cherish what we retain, and help each other cope.