Guide to Facebook Obituaries
In our age of social media, it is no longer sufficient to simply publish an obituary in the newspaper. Because so much of our time is spent online, we have friends, acquaintances, and even colleagues whose primary point of contact with us is through Facebook or social media. Publishing a Facebook obituary after the death of a relative not only gives people the closure they need, but it also ensures that your loved one’s legacy is preserved exactly the way you want it to be.
What to Write in a Facebook Obituary
Because you are working with online rather than print media, there is a little more leeway in terms of what you can and cannot put in a Facebook obituary. You can simply cut and paste the original obituary, or you can add more personal details that bring your memories to life.
Details to consider including:
- Important dates (birth and death, marriages, etc.)
- Cause of death
- Personal and professional achievements
- Surviving family members
- Time and date of funeral services
- Options for sending flowers/condolences
- Links to charitable organizations in deceased’s name
- Links to crowdsource funding for the funeral/family
- Images and picture slideshows
- Online memorial websites
- Support phone numbers and grief resources
- Heartwarming stories
- Offers of clothes/furniture/keepsakes from the deceased’s estate
As long as you have the authority to post these things and you do it in a manner that is respectful of your loved one, there’s very little you cannot include.
Facebook Obituary Options
The easiest and least-hassle way to post information about a death on Facebook is to link to or create a unique obituary from your own page. This is ideal when your loved one did not have a Facebook page of their own. You can spread the word about the death in a thoughtful way, especially if you open the post/obituary to be shared online. It can be as involved as creating an entire memorial website for your loved one and posting a link, or as simple as stating the information about the death and funeral so that others can attend.
If you have access to the deceased’s Facebook account, you have several options. One way to handle their death is to keep the Facebook account open and active. This will allow you to post pictures, thoughts, prayers, and memories for those who knew and loved them. Although some people will likely unfriend this account (since it can be painful to get regular reminders of their loss), others might find it comforting to have access to this shared grief.
You can also close to close the Facebook account altogether. This requires that you know your loved one’s password, but once you access their page, you can easily choose to either memorialize or close the account. Memorializing the account will freeze it as-is so that it exists as a legacy for friends and relatives, while closing it will remove it entirely. To accomplish this, you will need to visit the help section and go through the steps included for a “deceased user.”
If you don’t know your loved one’s user information, you will need to be a verified family member. In this case, you can request that a page be memorialized. If you are not verified, you will need to contact Facebook directly and go through a more lengthy process of proving your identity and relationship to the deceased.
For more information, click here to visit Facebook’s Memorialized Accounts page.
A word of caution: No matter how you approach a Facebook obituary, it is absolutely essential that you have the family’s permission before you state anything publicly. Sharing intimate details about the death or being the first to announce it before the family has had time to contact people on their own is not only rude but potentially devastating. Unless you are the next of kin, wait until you have seen other public notices before you post anything on social media.