The Mourning Began By E-mail

Boston Globe senior business editor Mark Pothier share his experience of e-grieving. If you’re one of those holdouts who still thinks that e-mail is cold and unemotional, read this:

It occurred to me that a means of communication often derided for being impersonal and casual to the point of carelessness somehow suited this sorrowful occasion. For me, e-mailed sympathy had become acceptable. These electronic notes conveyed genuine emotions. Consoling by computer was fast and effective – perfectly normal. The thoughts people tapped out on keyboards did not strike me as a way for them to avoid the process of composing a handwritten note, addressing an envelope, and affixing a stamp to it. They responded electronically because they cared. E-mail offered an immediacy not possible through the US mail and a level of intimacy that can be difficult to achieve by phone, especially when one or both parties is in a workplace.