Thursday, July 7, 2011

LAFB #17: Memorial Profiles

At the time I deleted FaceBook, at least three of my 1600 friends had died.

And they still had accounts.

Some of them were active, maintained by a grieving relative; others remained just as they were the day the person passed from this life to the next.

Something interesting happens, though: you always get their final tweet/status update, like their last words.  You also get the last activity they were involved in, usually adding someone as a friend.  If no one knows their account password, the profile stays just as it had been the last time they logged on.  One girl I knew was engaged when she died. Her grieving fiancee (widower just isn't the right word) changed their status to "married" for a little while, then eventually deleted it with only the words, "Sorry, babe, I just had to."

In the FaceBook age, many people grieve by posting on the deceased's wall.  It's usually something to the effect of "I miss you so much" or "Thank you for all the ____________."  Then someone comes in and pulls a Jesus Juke: "You know __________ is in Heaven and can't hear you now, right?"

Yet something still compels us to post on their wall.  This is the same something that has us visit grave sites to talk to the person as though they still lived.  We humans just don't like this idea of complete and total loss.

But we still have to move on with our lives -- even when something digital and technological will remain forever unchanged.  Grieving is good and necessary, in its time, but we can't stay there.

And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. 
 -- Luke 9:59-60.

Have you ever had a FaceBook friend die?  How did you deal with that?


  1. Agh. The very thought of this makes me cringe. I heard an NPR story not long ago on "willing" your log in/passwords to social media, banks accounts, blogs, email, iTunes etc. to family members or friends. It's something people are considering in the "digital age".

    I haven't had a facebook friend die. But a distant family member of mine did go to prison (for doing some very stupid things in a very drunken state) and his facebook has remained unchanged since he was arrested. Almost as though he died. The wall posts people have left him would encourage that idea. There are lots of "We miss you." and "Praying for you." messages by his immediate family and friends. It's kind of eerie.

  2. I have one or two people who might know my passwords, but no clue where they'd be on the finding-out-I'm-gone priority list.