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Bereavement in the age of social media

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Kim Landon's beloved husband of 17 years lost his long, difficult battle to cancer in January. Landon is a lifelong journalist and college professor of journalism. It's a fact-based profession. Landon knows he can no longer read them, yet she continues to write messages on her husband's Facebook wall.

"It was spontaneous. I just found myself doing it and then I thought 'this is strange, I feel like I can actually talk to him this way' so...I did," says Landon.

As recently as Friday morning, Landon wrote her husband about the 100th birthday of Fenway Park and reminisced about how the couple enjoyed their tour of the park. Local grief counselors say Landon is grieving in exactly the way they have always taught people to grieve; just the more modern version.

"People that work in grief encourage people to journal or to talk to them like they're still there, so this is just one more way of doing that," says Sue Cooper, CCLS.

Even though he can't respond, Landon says it's comforting to be able to still say the things she wants to say to her husband, and to see that others also miss him and feel the need to still feel his presence in their lives.

"In a way, it's a conversation among all of us that keeps him sort of alive to us, I guess, includes him in a continuing conversation among his friends," says Landon.

The business of news requires that a journalist always be looking ahead. Landon has done that with regard to her Facebook messages.

"What I've thought is, I wonder if there will be a day when this just doesn't seem relevant," she said. "And quite frankly, I anticipate that day will come when it seems like, I don't know, somehow his missing will have been integrated into my life."

But for now, continuing to 'connect and share' with her husband is helping Landon adjust to life without him.

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