Consider the following step-by-step guide from grief counselor Erica S. Kim when deciding how to best memorialize your loved one online.
1. Notify Family and Close Friends In-Person or Privately
Make your best effort to notify family and friends of your mutual loved one’s passing on the phone or face to face. If this is too difficult at this time, ask another person for help calling and spreading the sad news, and let traditional bereavement etiquette be your guide when responding to those who have reached out to you. It is important to establish trust in your conversations. Because these conversations can be difficult for all parties involved, clarity of communication is a necessity.
2. Ask for Help Writing Your Posts
If you don’t consider yourself a writer—or you don’t feel that you can adequately honor your loved one who has passed in a post—ask for help. You may be able to outline what you want to include in the obituary and work with someone else to create an appropriate and respectful post that conveys your love and intention without having to write it yourself. If there isn’t a writer in the family, use this resource from Cake to aid in writing the announcement and choosing appropriate wording.
3. Avoid Blunt or Triggering Language
According to Mental Health America, grief is a complex and stressful emotional condition expressed in a number of ways. Your pain may be raw and at the forefront of your mind, and you might be tempted to write a death announcement that reflects that pain. While this is up to you, consider that certain friends and distant family members may discover your loved one’s passing through social media. Smilebox suggests writing an announcement that includes non-triggering wording, such as “it is with great sadness that I announce” at the beginning to decrease the unintentional shock value of the post.
4. Turn Your Deceased Loved Ones’ Social Media Accounts Into Memorials
Many social media platforms give you the option of deleting your deceased loved ones’ accounts when they pass. You may also wish to memorialize the page so that others can leave comments and well-wishes to the family. If he or she had family and friends who lived far away or cannot make it to the funeral service, memorializing social media or setting up an obituary page specifically for this purpose would be appropriate. You can also update social media with pictures from the grave site when it is decorated for holidays or important days of memorial.
5. Tend to Your Loved One's Assets
Consider whether your loved one's belongings will be distributed to family members, sold, or donated. Get in touch with professionals if you wish to hold an estate sale or put a house on the market. Employ a real estate agent who has experience selling the homes of the deceased in a thoughtful, caring manner. Ask your agent how to tactfully advertise the sale on your social media accounts.
Notifying others of your loved one’s passing can be difficult when you, too, are struggling to process the news. Be kind to yourself during this transition and consider delaying any non-essential account creation or posting until you have had time to grieve in your own way. It’s also a good idea to consult with a professional grief counselor like Erica S. Kim to process the challenges you’re facing.
Certified grief counselor Erica S. Kim’s passion is to help those in need, including the poor in Cambodia. She also volunteers to help out at a school in Cambodia every year. Reach out to find out more! (303)710-9002.