Over the past weekend, some people I know online and care a lot about have suffered the loss of loved ones. I've found myself thinking about them and, in one case, saying the rosary (ritual Catholic prayers) for them.
But what I've realized is how inadequate online expressions of sympathy in the face of grief. It's true that expressions of sympathy always feel inadequate, but especially so when there is so little we can do online.
Everything I've learned about how to express sympathy by sending a card, making food, sending flowers, attending rosary, funeral and wake, isn't possible. We know so much about each other and yet how can we express our sympathy without being able to observe rituals of mourning?
Does it seem trivial and insincere to go on tweeting and posting kinky thoughts as usual? For me, it feels wrong. Yet I also want to make sure the person knows I'm around if they want to chat. And besides that, what use is my silence, however heartfelt?
I know better than most that love can be found, received and sent through these pixels. But can sympathy? And if so, how?