Everyone tackles grief in different ways so there is no right or wrong answer to this as what feels right for one person will often not feel right for the next. But a common question we often get asked is what to do with a loved one’s social media accounts when they’ve passed on?
Do you delete the account and move on like a wardrobe of clothes? Pack them up and say goodbye? Or do you keep the page alive serving as a memory as their life? A couple of our amazing Celebrants came forward with some useful advice…
Ellen Bower a member of The Celebrant Directory brings to light that we have a real taboo in our culture about how things need to ‘cease’ where there is a death, usually inspired by our culture’s discomfort with death on many levels. However, Ellen suggest the use of social media can be a lovely way to still feel connected with them. Social media such as Facebook contain photos and memories that you’ve created with that person and the process to reliving those happy memories and reminiscing over the good times they’ve had in their lives can bring an enormous amount of comfort.
Belinda Clark, another one of our special Celebrants, reminds us that not so long-ago people would keep photo albums, diary’s, and some personal belongings in order to keep their loved ones’ spirit present and these days social media is such a massive part of people’s lives, so by keeping those photos online is just a modern take on storing memories.
It might be easier to turn their Facebook into a memorial page which eliminates the strangeness of their profile still popping up on ‘suggested friends to add’. Users are able to nominate someone to manage the account and then they have the option to delate or turn it into a memorial page.
These days we invest so much time into our online presence and with travel and moving abroad becoming more and more popular, social networks are key to keeping in touch with family and friends. So for them, a memorial page can be a wonderful place to leave messages on anniversaries, wish them happy birthday and stay connected. They are able to express their thoughts and feelings, share memories as a way to keep their spirit alive. To be able to look through lovely messages left by others can be positive way to help with the grieving process not only for you but for friends and wider family.
Keeping an account active can also depend on whether their Facebook pages were used that often. This is perhaps more relevant with generations who grew up with Facebook and other social media platforms who use it regularly but what about those who didn’t? There can be a variety of reasons why you would want to delete the account, one of them being if their Facebook was never used much and there wasn’t much activity on it. Or quite simply the memories might just be too painful.
Margery Bambrick, also a member of The Celebrant Directory, offered some great advice and suggests before deciding whether to keep it up perhaps go through some reflective questions before making any rash decisions. Your emotions are high, and you will often feel very different on a daily basis.
So, ask yourself, how would I feel if I deleted it? Would it affect anyone else that might be grieving? Use these reflections to come to a rational decision in a time where everything feels so…irrational. Remember grieving is such a personal journey and you’ve got to do what feels right for you. There is no right or wrong answer, no rule book telling you what to do.