John died almost a decade ago. His ghost haunted us for years, on Facebook. His birthday was the worst. Each year we would receive an automated announcement, followed by happy updates on his timeline from all the clueless well-wishers. Eventually Facebook changed their account termination policy to ease the pain of those tasked with laying their loved ones to rest online.
Which is why I was startled last week when I stumbled across the profile of a deceased client on LinkedIn’s People You May Know page. Not startled because he died, but because his profile had not yet been laid to rest.
Those who have lost a loved one experience many seasons of grief. At first, we want to hold on to everything that was a part of their life, even their social profile. As we move on we learn to let go. If you or someone you know is facing this modern end of life dilemma, here are some ideas that may help.
Celebrate Their Life
The rites and rituals surrounding end of life are mostly for the living. Not everyone can participate in person. Consider memorializing their Facebook account. Invite their online community of friends to post remembrances including images,home movies and what they learned from or gained by knowing this special person.
Ask What You Can Do To Help
Baking a casserole is often our first instinct. Once the daily influx of visitors subsides, a random bag of groceries demonstrates your continued concern. If like me, you become startled when you stumble across a ghost in the machine, offer to tie-up those online loose ends. Use the links below to learn the process for letting a loved on go.
Keep Their Memory Alive
For many years my main password was HelloJen. One day I changed it to something cryptic, more secure. Not to feel more protected, but because I was ready to let go. Even with all the vast knowledge available on the net the answer still isn’t clear. If you’re not sure if it’s time to close an online profile, consider this. The best way to honor the loss of a loved one is to keep their memory in your heart, not on Facebook.
- Removal of a Deceased Member’s LinkedIn Profile
- Facebook – Special Request for Deceased Person’s Account
- Facebook – What will happen to my account if I pass away?