Memorializing FaceBook

by Joe Mudd on October 20, 2010

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Richard had a Facebook account. Not too surprising, nearly every college kid does.

It’s sort of a piece of his life, dangling out there in cyberspace.

Debbie was one of  his “friends” on Facebook. I wasn’t.

Facebook started out being limited to students only. Later they opened it up to everyone, and all us old people invaded the young people’s turf. I didn’t request to be friends with our kids or our nieces because I didn’t want them to feel like I was snooping. I decided to let them make the first move. Richard never sent that friend request.

Debbie likes to go on his profile from time to time. His friends leave comments. It’s important to us to have his Facebook profile stay there.

But he hasn’t logged on in a long time. Facebook has made many changes and Richard hasn’t been there to respond.

So we’re worried his profile might be deleted someday. Debbie says that would feel like losing him all over again.

So we looked for some way to protect his account. And Facebook has something.

You can memorialize the profile of a deceased loved one. The “wall” remains active, so family and friends (active Facebook friends only) can post to the wall. The account is secured and locked down.

So we requested to have his account memorialized.

If you need to do this for someone you love here is the link to the Facebook form:

http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=deceased

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Becky November 12, 2010 at 7:03 pm

I also stay on my sons facebook. It makes me feel connected. our famiy and friends check in too. It’s nice to keep this communication tool open

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Joe Mudd November 16, 2010 at 12:40 pm

@ Becky – That Facebook page has our kids personality on it. It really was a part of them while they were alive. The goofy pictures and comments (in Richard’s case anyway) help us keep his memory. I’m glad they let us keep it after our kid’s are gone.

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lowell May 8, 2015 at 6:11 pm

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Articles on Grief and Healing

Time: How Long Will It Take? By Charlotte M. Mathes, LCSW, Ph.D.

Waiting? OK. But will a lightness of heart ever come? Does time really heal all wounds? Mothers who have experienced child death assure us that “it will get better.” Friends and loved ones may tell us that “it is time to get over it and get on with life.” We hear about closure, but researchers say that a mother never ceases mourning the death of her child. The truth is that there is no set chronology for mourning mothers.

In mythology, Father Time is sometimes depicted as helping Truth out of a cave, symbolizing that in time all things come to light. We cannot hurry Truth along. Like the ancient alchemists, we must wait for kairos, the astrologically correct time, or God’s time, for allowing things to turn out right. Our questions about how long it will take to heal may long remain unanswered.

Changes in One’s Sense of Time

The grieving process alters our personal sense of time in several ways. During the traumatic hours after the death, everything in our other life comes to a halt, and our time stops. It takes a number of days before we realize that, although our world has changed forever, the rest of the world continues its usual operations.

At my daughter’s funeral, I was amazed when a friend told me he had to get back to his office. It dawned on me that people were going about their business. The world went on, though my world had ended.
–Emily

After the service I stood at the grave site, holding a rose from the casket. Time had stopped. My sister came up and said I had to leave because other people wanted to go home.
–Annie

For the rest of our life, however, the moment of our child’s death continues frozen in time. We remember every detail of the event as if it were yesterday, and we continue to mark the chronology of our experiences with that dreadful date. Paul Newman, whose son died of a drug overdose said that everything in his life was divided into two periods, time before his son died and afterward.

As we continue to mourn, our normal sense of time alters in another way: we mark time carefully. We count the number of months we have lived without joy, since the light of our life has been extinguished.

Dear Andrew,
It’s been nine months. It took me nine months to bring you into the world and now you have been away from this world for nine months. Today the grief washes over me and I hear myself crying ‘Mama.’ I am a child myself, and I long for comfort. I don’t know if comfort exists when you are gone.
–Kate

Part of our altered sense of time arises from knowing that the death of our child also means the death of part of our future. Holidays and family traditions will never be the same. Now we will always remember the birthday of the one who is gone, and the anniversary of her death is forever branded in our heart, marking our time. We mourn not only losses in our own future but the unlived future of our child. When we attend a graduation or a wedding, we ache for our child who was deprived of these rites of passage. How can we attend these ceremonies without feeling victimized? The way out of victimization I know is this: we must eventually come to see our own mourning process as a personal rite of passage. We are being initiated into a different life with new perspectives.

Excerpted from And a Sword Shall Pierce Your Heart: Moving from Despair to Meaning After the Death of a Child by Charlotte M. Mathes, LCSW, Ph.D. Copyright © 2006 Charlotte Mathes. Published by Chiron Publications; September 2005;$19.95US/$23.50CAN; 978-1888602340.
Author – Charlotte M. Mathes, LCSW, Ph.D., is a certified Jungian analyst, a graduate of the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland. She received her doctoral degree inpsychoanalysis from the Union Graduate School in Cincinnati and is a clinical member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Counselors as well as a board certified supervisor for clinical social workers. Dr. Mathes has been in private practice in New Orleans for twenty years. She lectures and leads seminars in Jungian psychology, family therapy, and bereavement.

For more information, please visit charlottemathes.com.

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