When Facebook Friends Pass On

Etiquette-Book_webHere’s another Facebook problem. I don’t want to trivialise this but I’ve got to an age where sadly I have Facebook friends who are no longer with us.

So what do you do in these circumstances? What’s the etiquette? Is there even any etiquette?

I have two such friends – or three if you count the ex-friend who I’ve blocked rather than ‘unfriended’ under the premise “keep your friends close…” but I think you might know that story and if not its in the archives!

No one wants to hit the ‘unfriend’ button; it seems so disrespectful and anyway just because there are dead doesn’t mean they aren’t still your friend right? For a while after their passing these pages are peppered with messages of condolence or simply old memories but now, a few years hence they are frozen in time, a sad testament to the departed. I imagine that notifying Facebook of bereavement is not high on anyone’s agenda and so we are left with a bizarre digital graveyard, a cemetery without either boundaries or a Caretaker.

It’s not just Facebook of course; the dilemma of voicemail messages and texts from beyond the grave has been around for quite some time. Although normally I keep my inbox scrupulously clean, I have a text on my phone that is nearly four years old now. It is from a friend in Gaucín arranging lunch for the following week and was sent not 24 hours before she dropped dead of a heart attack on her driveway, at the age of 55, whilst unloading her day’s shopping from the car.

I can no more delete her message than I can text her back to confirm. I still miss her.

I guess in the end you just go with your gut and whatever seems the right for you is your way forward?