Facebook is one of those things that can be a double edged sword. It can enhance communication and connectedness to one another, but it can also damage these, too. Particularly in the dying and death spaces.
Here’s my top tips for effectively using Facebook at this time.
Be VERY clear about what, if any, information is to be shared. Some people prefer to keep their life private and may not wish to have anything shared on Facebook about their journey. Others are happy with a little information that doesn’t provide in depth detail, while others again are happy for the whole story to be out there. If you’re not the one dying, know very clearly what is and isn’t OK with the person who is dying.
Know the differences in privacy settings. The same applies to within groups as well. Like with the details above, is the information to be available for the whole wide world, just your friends or just a few select people?
Consider appointing one person to do the communication on behalf of the person who is dying. For example, if Jane Bloggs is the person dying, perhaps her grand daughter could do the posting on Jane’s wall on her behalf. That way it’s only one person sending out the information. Also consider getting agreement from the key people on what is to be said.
Have a list of everyone who needs to be contacted privately BEFORE information is made public and then ensure that no Facebook posts are made BEFORE this happens. This is where information sharing has the most chance of going pear-shaped and causing hurt/distress. I’ve heard of too many occasions where someone has found out about the death of someone precious via a Facebook post when it was appropriate for them to have found out prior.If doing a list, make sure that it is prepared in advance, and if possible, and that several people look over the list to ensure that no one is forgotten that really should be included.
Be gentle with yourself. Know that whether you are the person dying or a loved one of someone who is, there is absolutely no obligation on you to share anything/everything…despite what some other people may think. This is about you and your experience. If you feel supported by sharing, then do so. If it’s something that’s too draining, either don’t do it or get someone else to if need be. If it could make something worse for you, don’t do it or be selective about your audience.
I know for me, when I was sharing my Mum’s end journey, the comments/messages etc that I received absolutely made the journey just a little bit easier. Particularly at times when I felt incredibly alone.
I’ve also seen first hand with one of my clients in particular how much love, support and appreciation she has received for her sharing her journey and the difference that has made for her.
Facebook Account Memorialisation
Facebook have the capability for a person’s Facebook page to continue after their death as a memorialised account. The word ‘Remembering’ will appear before their name. You can find out more details here about how it happens and the process. https://www.facebook.com/help/103897939701143
Done poorly, posting on Facebook can cause hurt at a time when emotions are raw enough. Done well, it can absolutely enhance the experience. The choice is yours.
Do you have any other suggestions or experiences of this? Please feel free to share.
Peace & blessings, Sharon