Facebook has become a major channel for your friends to share and mourn the death of their loved ones. Unlike obituaries that follow an established format, there are no standards or rules for Facebook death announcements. Friends might write an actual death announcement, a tribute message, or share the obituary of a deceased family member or friend. Or, they may share the news discreetly by adding a photo of their deceased loved one to their status update, or even a subtle replacement of their profile photo to one of them with the deceased.
In a society that is still uncomfortable in discussing death, Facebook has become an outlet for our grief. We not only share the news of a family member or friend that has died, but our beloved pets as well. The messages Facebook friends write have become a source of comfort as the bereaved mourn their loss.
Writing a message of support on Facebook is different from writing a sympathy note. Messages are usually short and are confined to expressing your sadness for the loss. If you knew the deceased and have a memory, you can share that and make your comment more personal.
Here are some guidelines for Facebook condolences:
Comforting comments to share:
Facebook comments do not replace sympathy notes. It’s still appropriate to write a handwritten note.
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.