Social Media and Grief

November 13, 2019

Social Media: The Best Thing Ever Invented

– Sharon

The best thing ever invented: the internet. How has it changed all our lives? I am a grandmother of three amazing grandchildren. My two youngest grandchildren live out of state. How awesome it is to open Facebook and see their shining faces. I get to now see their daily lives and all that I am missing out on. Thank you, social media, for changing the world.

But we live in a 50-50 world, my friends. It is 50% positive and 50% negative. We would never know the good without the bad. The internet, with all its social media sites, can be a real source of pain when a loved one dies.

Like anything in this world, there are certain rules that we must follow out of respect. Period!

RULE # 1

You are never allowed to post about someone’s death on any social media platform until someone from the immediate family has posted first. When Donovan died, the first post went up on Facebook exactly 40 minutes afterward. We did not even get a chance to tell his grandparents by then.

RULE # 2

Whether you are grieving or know someone who has just died, think about what you are going to say before you post it. Remember that many of the family and friends will be finding out for the first time through Facebook. It does happen. And that can be very jarring. Be kind and respectful.

Think about these: What details are you comfortable sharing? Is the immediate family ok with you posting?

RULE # 3

Allow the immediate family to decide what they would like to do with the deceased person’s social media accounts. You should not have a say there. Some families choose to take them down. Whereas, other families choose to memorialize them. You should be ok with whatever they decide to do with the site.

Understand that it is also very important for all family members to decide whether or not to take down a loved one’s site. Remember, do not make any major decisions in your own grief. When you decide to remove a page, the consequence will be forever. You can decide to just block the page so you do not see any of the posts that are still made on the page or memories that pop up.

RULE # 4

If you, as the griever, choose to post about your loved one from now until eternity, it is 100% ok. However, if your friends and family do not like it, they have the choice to block you. That, my friends. is their personal choice.

Something happens when a friend or family member dies. We, in the society, decide that we know the exact amount of time it will take for the wife, mother, husband, or son to get over the loss. But if they continue to post after the allotted amount of time, then we think they are being dramatic.

RULE # 5

Do not create a memorial page without the family’s permission. Once you have their permission, know that this is an amazing way to put out all the information about the celebration of life or address all with special instructions for the services. The most important thing is that you must assign someone to oversee this page for the whole time that it is active. It can be extremely overwhelming for the family to have to deal with all the outpour of love and condolences.

RULE # 6

Do check in with grievers often. Whether that be on social media, phone, or through text. Many grievers get to a point where it feels like everyone has gone. After the services, it is not uncommon for everyone to return to their normal lives. Personally, we know that it was nice when someone would send a text or post a great picture of Donovan or Austin. A grieving person in such cases may also be less likely to reach out, feeling pressured to “feel ok” and scared of burdening those close to them.

RULE # 7

When responding to a post by a friend or family member who may be experiencing grief, it is perfectly ok to say the following:

  • There are no words…
  • If I were near you, I would give you a hug.
  • I can’t even begin to imagine what you may be experiencing at this time.
  • My heart is breaking for you.

DO NOT SAY:

  • I know how you feel.
  • I know, man, my grandmother died 3 years ago.
  • You will feel better soon.
  • Hang in there, friend.

Before you post, I encourage you to be mindful and aware of your language and word choice so that your message conveys your intended sentiments.

 

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