It does not matter how long it has been, the date a loved one died is a sad day. When that date occurs, however we choose to spend it, eventually we all remember and reflect on our loved one and the void their death created in our lives.
Grief is a lonely experience so it is very comforting when others remember our loss; even better when they share their memories. In another time I would have suggested we send a note acknowledging the loss. But in this day of social media and Facebook there are easier ways to communicate our loss and engage others.
When the anniversary of my dear aunt approached, my cousin posted a wonderful photo of her and her mom and mentioned that it was the anniversary of her mom’s death. My cousin explained, “Most of my Facebook friends are either relatives or old friends who would have known my mom. So sharing a picture of us together, during a very happy time was a way to honor her memory in a happy way.”
Friends and family members immediately wrote loving messages on my cousin’s wall, detailing fond and specific memories of my aunt. Some posts acknowledged the loss and others reflected on personal qualities. My cousin found it all comforting and it eased her sadness on a difficult day.
Old photos trigger memories for all of us and Facebook makes them easy to share. I loved the photo of my cousin and aunt and it made me smile. It reminded me of the time I used a photo of my mother holding me as a baby to illustrate a Mother’s Day blog post. In my case a Facebook friend from high school wrote, “I remember your mom” and it made me feel good to know that she was remembered.
Not everyone is a fan of Facebook and mourning; the raw emotions connected to death can be hard to read. If a post of this nature makes you uncomfortable, it’s okay to ignore it. Or, you can simply connect by liking the post.
Whether you “like” it or not, Facebook is changing the way we mourn our losses.
Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now at a reduced price for e-books for "Illness & Death," "Suicide," "Miscarriage," "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store.
Photo courtesy of Elyse Ribbler