Saying Goodbye to a Loved One on Social Media

Whether you're a friend or the next of kin, making sure you honor a deceased loved one appropriately can be really difficult. You want to show how much you cared, and you want everyone to know about your loved one's qualities; however, social media can sometimes be difficult to navigate when handling the passing of a family member. Here are some tips that can help you on your journey.

Ask Family for Permission First
It's always best to check in with family members first to see how they feel about you posting online. This is important if the deceased was private about their personal life.

Be Authentic
It's okay to express your sadness. It's fine to mention a name, especially if that person was close. Be open, authentic, and compassionate and others will better understand your grief.

Be Sensitive
Don't simply post a few words about how sad you are. Instead, think carefully about the post you're about to make. Make sure you pay attention to word usage so you don’t come across as rude or uncaring, or that nothing is taken out of context. Think about how you'll feel years from now when you're looking at the post about your loved one's passing—in particular, how they passed.

Search for an Inspirational Quote
If you're unsure how to best express your emotions, search for inspirational quotes. They can be a great source of words to help express how you feel.

Memorialized Facebook Accounts
If you're on Facebook and a loved one has passed away, you can request that their account be memorialized. A Facebook memorial is a page that memorializes a person after they pass away. Below the header photo, the memorial shows a "Remembering" tab with a list of the decedent's friends who contributed messages of condolence, shared memories, or posted photos. As a result of this change, you will no longer see memorialized profiles in places such as suggestions for "People You May Know" or birthday reminders.

Take Your Time
Finally, don't rush to post something just because it's on your mind. Take your time, consider your audience, and wait until you're ready. Grieving is a hard process, and there are many steps along the way. You may discover that attending a support group and connecting with others will help you find the words for your post.

Sharing the Love
While there's no easy way to deal with the loss of a loved one, social media can often help grieving families express their feelings. Facebook has become a haven where friends and family can come together and share their love for those who have passed away.

Contributed to Ellie's Way by Camille Johnson
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