What happens to a person’s Facebook page after they pass away? A friend of mine asked this recently, following the death of someone she cared about. If any of you readers care to look into the policies on Facebook, LinkedIn or Myspace after someone passes away, can you please tell us what you learn here at Body Aware Grieving? Could social media be used after someone has died so that mourners stay connected and can help each other recover?
My friend mentioned how strange it would be to see her deceased companion still listed as a “Friend” on Facebook without any new posts being generated. The situation got me thinking about what a perfect tool a page like this could become for the surviving community of mourners to console one another.
When a person dies there is often a huge flurry of activity. The primary grievers are trying to plan a memorial and figure out how to reach everyone who knew the deceased person from the various parts of their lives: family, work, old friends from high school, hobby groups etc. In many cases it is impossible to connect with everyone who would like to participate in remembering someone, especially on short notice.
It can be difficult then, especially for people who were not able to attend a funeral or memorial of any kind, to adjust to the loss of someone they cared about. Even for folks who make it to a ceremony or two of commemoration, there are times over the next months and years when it would be nice to share memories as they continue to resurface.
What if after someone’s death, the survivors could sustain a person’s page or profile? Potentially difficult dates like a person’s birthday, wedding anniversary or favorite holiday could be improved. Friends of the deceased person, who may not even know each other directly, could post their memories, photos and updates on their own grieving process. They could even post videos of themselves, perhaps from different parts of the world, lighting a candle in honor of the friend they have in common.
Remembering someone is often a series of small moments that can pass by at random times. It could be seeing a movie or hearing a joke and thinking, “Wow, I miss my friend right now, they would have loved that!” Wearing a necklace or shirt that was a present from them, returning to a restaurant they frequented or smelling their trademark cologne or perfume on someone else can be very moving. It would be nice to have a common place to mention these tiny, yet meaningful, wisps of memory that can help a person seem ‘real’ again for a moment.
What do you think readers? Should we look into whether social media accounts can be sustained after someone has died? Could that be useful as an on-going form of commemoration and healing?