Last month we shared tips for what to post on Facebook when someone dies. That article was focused on sharing helpful information for loved ones and family who are responsible for sharing the news of the loss of a loved one.
In this Part Two, we’re going to look at posting on Facebook from the perspective of a friend or family member who sees an announcement and wants to offer condolences.
Learning of a Death on Facebook
In our modern world, it’s not always possible to deliver the news of a loved one’s passing personally. Often, families take to Facebook because it’s a way to share information with as many people as possible with the least effort. And when someone is dealing with the death of a loved one, time and energy are both precious commodities. (Part of what we do here at Bateman-Allen is to take as many of those logistical issues off your plate as possible, so you can be with family when you need them most. If we can help you in that manner, please call us at (610) 876-5237).
The first thing to remember is that if you learn of the death of a loved one or friend via Facebook, is to not take the public announcement personally. Try to remember that the people responsible for sharing that information are dealing with both immeasurable grief and the demands of planning and attending a funeral or end of life service. They may be having difficulty keeping tasks straight. They might also be too overcome with grief and sadness to talk to many people. Their desire to share the news in an easy way is in no way an indication of how much they value their friendship. Rather, it’s an indication of just how much they are handling at one of the most difficult times a person can experience.
We are here for the families during this difficult time; but we’re also here for you. If you have questions or need information about a service, please reach out at any time.
Facebook Post About the Death of a Friend: How to Respond
The choice of how to respond to a death announcement on Facebook is a personal one that will vary from person to person. Some people are comfortable posting their feelings and condolences as a comment on the post.
Others might not want to share their words publicly. In that case, Facebook Messenger can be utilized to share private messages. Remember, though, that not everyone uses Messenger and some people do not download the additional app to their phone; so they may not see your message.
If you have the email of the person you want to share your thoughts with, emailing might be a more reliable way to communicate. This isn’t because the person you’re emailing can respond sooner, but because you can be more confident that your message will reach them.
If you have that person’s mailing address, you can mail a greeting card or letter. Or, if the funeral home has been included in the original Facebook post, you can find your loved one’s online obituary, choose the “Condolence” tab, and enter your message. Family members will be able to see what you’ve written there, just as they would a card or Facebook message.
Facebook Post When Someone Dies: What to Say
An important thing to keep in mind when sharing your condolences is that you are writing to (or talking to) people who are grieving. The focus should be on sharing your condolences or memories of your deceased loved one.
One option is to keep your message short. A simple “This is such sad news. We will be thinking of you all.” conveys concern and thoughtfulness without demanding anything of the reader. Similarly, offering a longer message with a positive memory can be comforting to the deceased’s family and friends. Something like “I’ll never forget the time we got lost and wound up in the wrong state; he really made me laugh, even though we were all a little scared. He’ll be truly missed.” can offer those reading not just comfort, but levity.
The thing you shouldn’t do is confront anyone on the post. Don’t ask why they didn’t call you to tell you the news or why they chose the type of service they did. Not only are those questions better asked in person (if at all); but asking questions on a Facebook post about a loved one’s death requires the person (or people) responsible for sharing that news to be available to answer those questions when the truth is, they will likely be occupied by other things.
Remember that the Internet Lasts Forever
This advice applies to every online post: once you’ve posted, it’s out there forever. Even if you edit or delete later, there’s a chance someone took a screenshot or that the original can be recovered. For that reason alone, it’s always best to use your best discretion when posting. That’s especially true when the topic is tender, which the news of the death of a loved one certainly is.
We understand that this can be confusing. We’re always happy to talk about these things, even if you just see us out in the community. Please never be afraid to ask a question or share an experience. It’s what we’re here for, and it’s why we do what we do. We are here to serve you. Please reach out at any time, if communicating online is easier for you.