#SyracuseStrong: Social media helps high school students grieve

Tuesday , August 12, 2014 - 9:57 PM

Syracuse high school students and other community members have taken to social media after experiencing the losses of four students in a three-week time period, posting photos and messages of remembrance, love and hope. 

The hashtag #SyracuseStrong will forever serve as a memorial of sorts for the four students. Clinton teens Daulton and Jaxon Whatcott died in a single-engine plane crash July 20 in Nevada. Ariah Bosworth, who would have been a junior at Syracuse High this upcoming school year, passed away July 23, while Marli Hamblin died Sunday afternoon from injuries received after getting ran over in her driveway while sunbathing. 

Posting to social media proved to be a good way to support and uplift each other as students grieved. 

They also shared photos to strengthen the community and bring hope in a time of sadness.

Facebook pages were created for some of the teens who passed -- Miracle for Marli and Daulton and Jaxon Whatcott -- both of which have thousands of “likes.”

Kiwa Mo'o, Syracuse High student and good friend of the Whatcotts, posted a YouTube video on Aug. 3 of his original song “Better Place,” which he also sang at the funeral for the boys. The video has over 2,230 views. 

Social media posts after the death of loved ones may seem too sad to be among the other upbeat, usual posts users may see in their newsfeeds, but Dianne Gray, president of Hospice and Healthcare Communications, says it can be healing.

“Some argue that social media makes death harder for the people left behind. They point to awkward status updates and death notices posted alongside friends' vacation photos as examples. I'd argue that dealing with death is hard with or without Facebook, Instagram and Twitter,” Gray said in a Huffington Post article. “The benefit of posting those words to social media is that they end up fostering conversations about death and grief that a lot of us tend to avoid. Many of the status updates I see are guttural, honest reactions to the searing pain of loss. While this may be uncomfortable for some, it's ultimately helpful, as it demonstrates what grief really is: a process.”

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