The death of a BlackBerry and the five stages of grieving

My BlackBerry was murdered the other day. I killed it. It was a second degree homicide though. There was nothing premeditated on my part.

Octoerb 23
The scene of the crime was the picturesque Middletown, NJ, train station. I was easing into my car when, unbeknownst to me, the BlackBerry slipped out of my pocket.

I didn’t realize I’d lost my trusty companion until after dinner. I retraced my steps, but couldn’t find it anywhere.

The very next morning, though, I discovered the remains. The BlackBerry was lying face down in my usual parking spot. It looked like it had run over an IED in Tikrit or Basra. The unit had pancaked. Gravel was embedded in it like some journalist traveling with the 101st Airborne division. The battery cover had been blown out and was lying some five feet away. And, yet, the darn thing was still flashing its red beacon. Talk about ‘taking a licking and keeping on ticking.’ Wow!

Sadly, though, the BlackBerry needed to be euthanized. It was replaced by Kel, our crack IT manager.

In analyzing my reaction to the BlackBerry’s loss and ultimate demise, I realized that my emotions closely paralleled those of the terminally ill patients chronicled in Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s seminal work: ‘On death and dying.’ In the book, she identified five stages that one goes through when learning of a terminal disease. They are:

  1. Denial. When I first discovered I’d lost the BlackBerry, I went into denial. ‘I couldn’t have lost it. It has to be in my pocket. Or under the car seat. Where are you!’
  2. Anger. As the hours mounted and my search efforts became increasingly fruitless, I became more and more upset: at myself, at the BlackBerry and at life in general.
  3. Bargaining. I started bargaining with myself. ‘Please let me find the BlackBerry and I’ll go to Church this Sunday. I promise.’
  4. Depression. I found myself staring blankly at the television screen. I’d hit rock bottom. Even the dogs picked up on my mood and tried to lift my spirits with a quick game of fetch. I told them what to do with their ball.
  5. Acceptance. By the following morning, I’d accepted the fact that I was no longer in instantaneous contact with the critical and the mundane. And, I was OK with that.

Now that I’m fully wired and living in a 24×7 world again, have newfound respect for, and admiration of, my BlackBerry. The new ‘guy’ looks exactly like the old one. but, he’s dramatically different in a fundamental way. He’s like a raw recruit who’s just sent to the front lines. My old BlackBerry had been part of the frontline invasion. It had been severely injured in the line of duty but, like a true soldier, it never deserted his post.

Readers: a moment of silence, please, as I play ‘Taps’ for my dearly departed BlackBerry.

7 thoughts on “The death of a BlackBerry and the five stages of grieving

  1. Thanks Julie. And that’s a great question to ask: was there life before b’berries, Twitter, etc? As for my deceased Blackberry, I’d like to think he survived the initial shock of being run over and had an opportunity to make peace with himself before passing to that great technology junkyard in the sky. The little fellow experienced my highest highs and lowest lows over a two-year period. I’m pleased to think his memory lives on in the blogosphere and am hopeful some of his fellow Class of ’07 Blackberries might post comments in his honor.

  2. The photo of your Blackberry’s carcass would make the NY Post proud…
    Being disconnected, even momentarily, is a scary thing. How did we ever survive without these little critters… or without Facebook or Twitter?

  3. Point taken, Syd. I see the image every night in my dreams. I can only imagine the impact on others. That said, I’m hoping the graphic violence will inspire others to treasure the moments with their blackberry. Life is precious.

  4. Gruesome photo of the victim, Rep. This post should be preceded by a warning that it contains graphic images that may not be suitable for children or CrackBerry addicts.

  5. I can relate to your story. I was in Las Vegas a few years back for a trade show and I had my Blackberry in my lap. When I got out of the car, it went flying and, sure enough, the cover went flying somewhere. I never could find the cover and really didn’t have time to look. I have gone back to Verizon stores where I purchased my PDA, called customer service etc. and never could get a replacement cover. So I had wrapped it with a rubber band to keep the battery in place.
    Since then, I have switched to their Tour.

  6. Thanks Lunch. It’s only been a few days, but the raw recruit is maturing rapidly. That said, we’ll see what happens when the bullets really start flying.

  7. I truly hope you have no errors in synchronizing during this time of change, Rep. I also hope the new recruit shows a fair amount of mettle through the battles it will face.