The picture posted on the Facebook page shows a CD leaning against a car dashboard with the following handwritten message written with a Sharpie: “To KissyFace – From Your Number #1 Fan.”
On a different Facebook page, a male friend enthusiastically writes about a recent Washington Nationals baseball game, what the score was and the important plays of the game. He then ends his post by saying how much he misses his friend. On the same page, a different friend posts a story that was in that day’s newspaper and says, “I know you would like this story. It’s your kind of reporting.”
These Facebook pages belong to people who have died but that doesn’t matter to the people who knew and loved them best.They continue to connect with the person’s page by posting pictures, comments, messages and stories and continue to do so because it helps them feel connected to their friend or loved one. It helps them heal.These postings represent the sorts of things they would be talking about to this person, if they were still alive. They continue to post on the person’s page because they don’t want to let go of the relationship they had with this person and posting on their page almost feels as though the person at some point will actually read it.
The posts are tributes, in a way, to feelings of friendship, memories of good times and the camaraderie of people who share the same sense of humor or the same interests in life. Those thoughts that immediately pop into your head when you see or hear something you know the other person would love to know about.
You can’t help it. Even now, nine years after my husband’s death, when I see something in the newspaper or on television, or I run into a person I haven’t seen for awhile, I think to myself, “I’ve got to tell Tommy.” But then I realize I can’t, so sometimes I just say it out loud to myself.
My husband died before Facebook ever came to be so I am not faced with the question of whether to delete his Facebook page or not. I probably would let it stay up because I think I would find it comforting to log on and read what others have written or write something myself.
For those who feel it is too painful and want their loved one’s Facebook pages gone, here is a helpful story that Liz Crenshaw, NBC Channel 4’s consumer reporter did on how to delete a deceased person’s Facebook page.