ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Social Media and Grief

Updated on November 23, 2011

When a loved one passes away, there are a number of things that must be done. Social media helps to deal with the practical aspect of notifying others of the death, funeral arrangements and subsequent other affairs. Social media also aides in the grieving process by offering support and serving as a reminder of the life of a loved one.

Notifying Friends and Family

When my mother passed away a few months ago, I didn’t have to tell many people directly. My brother posted a Facebook status minutes after my mother took her last breath in the middle of the night, which allowed friends and family to find out almost immediately. By the time I woke up the next morning, people began writing on my Facebook wall, sending messages, e-mails, texts and calling me to offer their condolences. It was extremely touching and helped tremendously during that sensitive time.

I don’t think I informed people anyone directly for days. Dealing with the grief, the exhaustion and heartache, I didn’t have the energy to constantly tell people the story of my mother’s passing. Social media, specifically Facebook, helped with the process.

To keep it professional, I did have to call and speak with my employer and my mother’s employer. Other than professional matters, social media and e-mail was the method of delivery I preferred. It would have been far too hard to say the words out loud each time.

It was easy for myself and members of my family to cut and paste addresses and details of the funeral services and post it on our Facebook pages. Using the primary communication medium before social media, phone calls and regular mail, would be far more tedious and time-consuming.

Social Media as a Coping Mechanism

As I navigate through the odd world of grief, sometimes I update my Twitter feed or Facebook status with how I feel. It’s comforting to hear kind words from others who have experienced the same thing. People can choose to respond to my updates if they want to, but if they prefer not to, there is no pressure.

Social media also serves as a passive and indirect way to alert those in my social circles to be aware of how I am feeling. It’s like a friendly reminder to say: “I’m going through rough times so please, kindly, leave me alone and have patience with me as I have with you.”

Sullivan, in the article “When Lucky died: A grief observed on social media," describes similar revelations and solace from social after the death of his dog. I found his observations and feelings about social media to be closely in line with my findings after this experience.

The Loved One’s Social Media Presence

After my mother passed away, I found comfort in looking through the photos she posted on Facebook. I looked at our “Friendship” on Facebook, where it says that we have been “Facebook friends since January 2009.” I saw the messages we posted on each other’s wall, so full of love and support. I looked at our photos together and even our common interests in television shows, movies, music, and celebrities. It is a way to remember our connection in a different way.

My mother’s friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances write on her wall in memorial to her. It consoles, it reminds and it helps with the grief.


There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Everyone grieves differently and every situation is different and unique. Some people are not as understanding as others and may prefer a phone call or more personal avenue to hear about a death rather than an “impersonal” status update. Most will understand and, from my experience, those who are offended still understand in some way. Coping with death is difficult for everyone.

Although I don’t find many downsides to using social media as personal expression, some family members may disagree. The loss of privacy and the constant reminder of the departed may be too hard for some. It’s important to remember that everyone has their own way of dealing with things and there may be disagreements.

My mother’s ID comes up on Gchat, Facebook Chat and other social media mediums on which we used to communicate and that has been unsettling at times. I have not been able to bring myself to manually delete or “hide” her avatars or ID.

There may be legal concerns with a deceased loved one’s social media identity. This article, current as of 2010, addresses these legal concerns.


Social media can have a very positive purpose during the difficult time of grieving the death of a loved one. Throughout the grieving process, social can help with practical matters, personal concerns and simply remembering the loved one by looking back at their photos, messages/posts and interests.

My mother embraced technology and social media whole-heartedly and often knew more about various aspects than I did. As such, I am sure she would be happy (and not surprised in the least) with the role social media and technology has served in helping her loved ones cope with her passing and to celebrate her life.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)