The abbreviation RIP stands for “rest in peace.” It’s a lovely thought, I suppose, and I don’t doubt the sincerity of those who express the wish. But for me, the abbreviated form conjures Halloween imagery – skeletons dangling from trees, little piles of femurs with a skull thrown in for good measure, and grey tombstones decorated with “RIP” in a spidery, gothic font.
And here’s the thing. If I pop off tonight – and I’d really rather not – I don’t want my friends and family to post “RIP Jinnean” in their Facebook status, or via their Twitter feed. I know many of the social mores and manners my parents tried to instill in me are laughable and/or irrelevant today because I have, ahem, “friends,” who poke fun at my more amusing manner holdovers, but seriously, “RIP” just isn’t the right thing to write in a public forum when someone dies.
So how do you respectfully comment on someone’s death? Mark Dailey, a Toronto journalist and TV personality, died today of cancer. I saw some RIPs out in the Twitterverse, but I also read these – different, but equally compelling and heartfelt – posts:
Very sad to hear Mark Dailey’s passing – the voice of Toronto succumbed to fight with cancer. @SeanMoffitt
Mark Dailey. Well, shit. I’m sorry. @ivortossell
Saddened to hear the news of Mark Daileys passing. Professional, warm, generous; he was always there for Toronto. He is missed. @iamdavidmiller
There you go. That’s how it’s done. And for those interested in where death is headed digitally, check out 1000memories.com/