A woman on TikTok wasn't afraid to show her death. In the process, she helped others live.

Kassidy Pierson shared her hope that August 25th would be a great day in a TikTok video. She had used the platform to record her terminal cancer journey. The previous day she was nauseous and sweaty, and lethargic. She felt better this time, and commented on how beautiful the weather was, and how she wishes others could experience it. She assured her followers that she would not be posting every single day. She said that this was no longer possible.
This was Pierson's final video. Pierson's older sister Kasey metzger posted on her account, September 9th, telling more than 200,000 followers she had lost her 27-year-old brother.

Metzger stated, "I can't count the number of times she would just cry because she couldn't believe all the people she loved from this platform." "Thank you so very much for all you did for her."

Kassidy Pierson used TikTok for spreading awareness about melanoma.

Pierson was diagnosed six years ago with melanoma. She used her fame to spread awareness, but her sincerity, her quirkiness, and vulnerability made her account more than just advocacy. Pierson (@ohhkayypee) offered insight into the pain and regret of dying, as well as the determination that it's not over yet.

Intimate videos were posted by her of the cancerous tumors that protruded from her body. She also shared her decision to enter hospice and how she spoke to Hunter, her son, about the inevitable. She created a community of people who watched her live the last days of her life with wonder and amazement.

David Kessler (grief expert and author of "Finding Meaning": The Sixth Stage of Grief) stated that "We must know that our lives matter and that we want our death, our life and our grief to be witnessed." "Dying alone is our worst fear. To be able to rest at night, we always wanted someone there. The Internet is something new.

TikTok for mental health is very powerful. Is it therapy?

Continue the story

People want to be seen, in both life and death. TikTok, a short-form video app that allows users to share their experiences with terminal illness and to create a narrative about them, is an unassuming space that grief experts claim offers many benefits for both the user and the viewer. Nearly 40 million people have viewed the hashtag #terminalillness on the app.

Scientists have shown that people who post can develop a sense of social connection which may help them live longer. The audience is encouraged and supported to face existential fears and to develop empathy.

"We don't really deal with death very directly."

According to Pamela Rutledge (an expert on the psychological, social, and technological impact of technology and media), people deal with the unknowns of death in many ways. Fear is exacerbated by the invisibility and unpredictability of death.

Kessler stated that death was visible 100 years ago. Grandchildren witnessed their grandparents dying at home. Kessler, as a boy, recalled seeing hearses in the streets while he was walking to school.

He said, "Now the dead travel around our cities in white unmarked vans." "If you want death to be seen now, then you need to see it in a movie, online, or on TV."

Learn more: How to deal with death abroad: What should you do if an American is killed?

Many TikTok accounts, like Pierson, offer a raw view at death, the way it nearness clarifies its preciousness, and are reminiscent of Pierson. Many of these accounts encourage their followers to take good care of themselves. Some accounts are more intimate than others.

@solelenaq shared her view on appreciation of each day. "If it doesn't make me happy, I just want you to live your life." @kora_the_herbivora shared an account of how overwhelmed by the warm sun on her skin, something she may not have noticed before her cancer diagnosis. @pheovsfabulous shared a video of how she spent her savings after being given one year to live. However, she outlived the prognosis.

Pierson's mother, TK, stated that she is glad her daughter opened up about her experience with death, particularly how traumatic it can be. Pierson didn't realize how much time was left.

"There was this rollercoaster of, "Am I going to be dead now?" What does this mean? Who do I turn to?'" Dunn stated. "Our culture doesn't normalize conversations about death. It happens. It happens, but we pretend it doesn't. These events might not be as traumatic if we could start to demystify it.

"Personal connection is one of the greatest ways that people matter"

While the Internet might be making death visible once again, it also gives the dying an opportunity to connect. To make a difference.

Rutledge stated that personal connections are one of the best ways to make people feel important.

Research has shown that people who have strong social networks live longer and are healthier. People who live alone are at 50% higher risk of dying young.

Rutledge stated, "The ability to communicate with people and have that level feedback and support can be very beneficial emotionally."

Both sides of the desire to connect are present. Rutledge stated that Pierson's audience was probably captivated by the desire for connection. Pierson shared that gratitude with her followers, often telling them how grateful she is for their support and how much it meant to her.

"If the person going through this, or the person who is dying, than you are creating... a parasocial link in the sense that they don't know each others but become emotionally invested just as you would with any story."

People who fear death have an alternative to their most frightening story about how they will cope. Everybody creates stories about what to do when death is near, whether they are conscious of it or not.

Rutledge stated, "You wonder what you would do with your erasure."

"It psychologically feels as if it prepares me"

Kessler stated that he believes all fear is connected to fear of death. However, fear of death is not productive. He said that fear doesn't stop death. It can stop life.

People can confront their fears by keeping track of terminal illnesses. To observe and be safe at the edge.

He said, "It psychologically feels as if it prepares us or it lets us understand when our worst fear occurs, it might be OK for us too."

Pierson died in the last weeks of her life. She spent time with her family, wrote to her son in journals, rode along with the police, and sat in a private plane. She reminded her followers to not "be stupid" as well as to have their skin checked. She encouraged those who followed her advice to cheer on her.

"I would love to take you guys as far on this journey as possible with me. She said it in a video posted on August 11th. "You are not alone. "... We are doing this together."

More: Terminal patients deserve dignity and death. New Mexico's aid-in dying law sets a new standard.

This article first appeared on USA TODAY. TikTok terminal illness helps demystify dying, hospice and death