Covid-19 has cut short a lot of lives way before their time. Well, at least we have memorialized accounts on Facebook, which help commemorate the dead. They are a place where loved ones can visit to find some comfort and happiness. However, is this all there is to it?
What is the mental health impact of memorialized Facebook accounts? Are they good or bad for us?
According to therapist Silvi Saxena, it’s a mixed bag. She says,” A memorialized account can have a positive or negative impact. It all depends on the context of the page content and the relationship between the deceased and the bereaved.
I think people who have those accounts for a loved one want everyone to grieve and remember them. While social media has its flaws, it can help bring people together. Seeing memories, writing messages, and sharing thoughts can give some comfort to those who are in mourning. Because all of these things are what bereaved people typically do.”
Do these accounts make death seem like an illusion?
When you can read the deceased’s posts, see their photos, tag them, and send messages to them, are they truly gone? Can we delude ourselves into believing that maybe they are still alive in some form? Silvi thinks otherwise.
“While writing a letter to a deceased loved one and journaling are healthy ways of coping with grief, writing on a wall or messaging is not much different. The important thing is that the intent should be the same. The act of using a digital version of a journal–sending Facebook messages to a deceased individual–is not harmful in itself.
However, if sending these messages is causing surmounting grief, it is a problem. Likewise, seeing old photos and posts can be triggering for some. Such persons should seek professional help so they can learn healthy coping mechanisms.”
And the verdict is out
Ultimately, is a memorialized account harmful to your mental health? Does it make it harder to accept a person no longer being alive? Or do the pros outweigh the cons? I believe they do, and so does Silvi.
“Having something online that makes you remember things is a lot like seeing an article of their clothing, an old photo, or even smelling the perfume they used. Having evidence is comforting during the initial stages of grief when one is trying to live without someone. I’m personally comfortable with digital memorialization. And I have seen them bring together estranged families and friends.
Memorializing someone can be a reminder that life is short. But it can also offer us hope that no matter what, there are positives to remember. It helps celebrate a deceased person’s life. It also keeps the spirit of joy, compassion, and happiness alive. I think this is a positive and beautiful way to remember a loved one.”
Having a digital afterlife helps family and friends grieve
The pandemic caused millions of unforeseen deaths. Considering this and the fact that death is inevitable, I’m curious about your opinion. Are you for or against memorialized accounts? Do they cause more good than harm or vice versa? Remember: there may not be an afterlife in the physical world, so there is no guarantee that we can meet our loved ones again. But at least we can see them in their digital afterlife.
To memorialize an account, visit https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/228813257197480.