Coping with Grief via Facebook

We like to give big thanks to Tom Kihl who has helped enormously to build this website – (well he’s done the whole thing really).

We first heard about Tom in the days after Josh died when we were alerted to his blog   Coping with Grief via Facebook.

Tom was on the train to work when he read about Josh’s accident on Facebook and wonders whether social media with all their trivialities are the best place to be dealing with death and grief. But  he also suggests that “for all the scare stories about social networks eroding cultural values, they equally offer a very traditional form of support during difficult times. And if they make speaking about – and therefore coping with – death a little easier for us collectively then that is surely only a benefit to society, however we end up redrawing the lines of etiquette and media behaviour.”

I find this a fascinating idea – if only because our friend Jessica Nathan (she of wonderful voice at Josh’s funeral) also commented – “people don’t really die on-line”   – discuss!



1 Response

  1. I recently read Tom’s article relating coping with grief via facebook.
    It was quite interesting and thought provoking to think about the careful but clear need for many to express their feelings, condolences and memories of my brother Josh on his facebook page immediately after he died.
    It made me think back to how I felt when I first saw the posts come through on his ‘profile wall’ that day.
    Tom touches, very delicately, on the sensitivity of any response, and I agree that in a time where communication comes from so many different and immediate sources, it can (especially when formulated in text, without the emotive company of eye contact, touch and tone) often be mis-perceived.
    However, from remembering back to the days shortly after our Josh died, I do remember reading 99% of those posts and them filling me with pride for my brother in amongst the excruciating pain and loss.
    There was a strength we received from hearing from so many, so quickly and the stories, however short or detailed about people’s time with Josh were and still are treasured. I see them as symbolising the impact that Josh had on people that were touched by his life. Posts from people all across the world that I have never met but have now made a contact with others through Facebook that also knew Josh.
    I believe that like with many other modes of communication, social networking sites allow the ‘author’ the opportunity to show their respect and I think that from my experiences, people’s understanding of the sensitivity around dealing with death via sources such as facebook still remains 100% respectful.
    We have decided to keep Josh’s facebook account open due to the fact that we still benefit from sharing the love with other people that knew him. I often pop onto his page to see what memories, experiences people want to share with him and pictures, stories people want to tell. I suppose in that sense, facebook has allowed many people to continue to remember and share Josh with others.

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