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Likes, Shares, and Loss: How Social Media is Changing the Way We Mourn

Grief knows no timetable and is a complex experience filled with both setbacks and moments of breakthrough.

Grief knows no timetable and is a complex experience filled with both setbacks and moments of breakthrough. In recent times, we have seen a significant shift in the way people navigate grief. This is partially fueled by the reach and influence of social media. In this article, we will delve into how social media has impacted the grieving process. We will also explore how it gives a sense of connection, provides solace, and leaves a lasting digital memorial.

Social Media Connects Us in Grief

We live in an era where social media has become an integral part of our daily lives. After losing a loved one, individuals can find solace in sharing their grief online. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow for the sharing of obituaries, heartfelt messages, and cherished memories. These spaces remind those who mourn that they are not alone in their pain.

Personal Accounts of Healing

Countless anecdotes highlight the significance of social media in the healing process. One individual's experience serves as a good example: 

“When my father passed away, I was paralyzed with shock and felt as though I was sleepwalking when we planned his funeral. However, when I shared his obituary online, I was astonished by the outpouring of condolences and stories about my dad, some of which I had never heard before. The support and love from our online community helped alleviate feelings of isolation and reminded me that my father's impact extended far beyond our immediate family."

Another testament to the power of social media comes from a person who honored their aunt's memory: 

"After my aunt's passing, we decided to honor her passion for animals. By posting about it on social media and providing an option for online memorial donations, we were able to raise thousands of dollars for her favorite Milwaukee animal shelter. It was incredibly fulfilling to know that her legacy would continue through the financial support of those who loved her dearly."

These are only two examples of people who found solace in sharing their experiences on social media. There are many more out there - you might even know someone who has experienced this. Don’t be afraid to ask around for the honest opinion of your friends and family if you want their input.

Virtual Memory Walls

Social media not only allows for the expression of grief but also serves as a host for virtual memory walls. Families and friends can share photographs, videos, and stories of the departed. This ability to revisit memories, messages, and tributes provides a sense of continuity. It keeps the memory of a loved one alive in a way that few other things can.

Many platforms also have designated “memorial accounts” for individuals who have passed on. Instead of deactivating their account, the platform memorializes it. It remains visible to keep memories alive for family and friends.

Find Your Own Balance

While social media gives support during the grieving process, families must find a balance between online and offline engagement. Funerals and memorial services are still a source of in-person support. Gathering with family and friends is essential to find closure and healing. It's best to use both digital and in-person resources to your advantage when you’re navigating a loss.

Navigating Grief in the Digital Age

As we continue to embrace social media, its impact on the grieving process cannot be understated. Social media platforms have transformed into poignant virtual spaces of healing and remembrance. However, it is important to use both online and offline resources when navigating grief. For help with offline resources like funeral planning, memorialization, and after-death checklists, find a nearby Afterall location for help.

When you're not spending time online, here is some advice about how to take time for yourself during the grieving process: Navigating Grief? Here's Why Giving Yourself a Timeout is Essential.