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Hospice of the Chesapeake & Chesapeake Supportive Care
Paying Your Respects On Social Media
Hospice of the Chesapeake & Chesapeake Supportive Care
. https://www.hospicechesapeake.org/

Paying Your Respects On Social Media

In the era of the telephone, there was an implicit understanding of the hierarchy of grief. Those closest to the loss would call a loved one or close friend to share the news of a death and receive comfort.

Unlike social media, no one else was listening in on the conversation.

Today, the news of a death can be shared minutes after their passing to hundreds, even thousands of people, before those closest to the deceased have had a chance to wrap their heart and minds around the loss.

Think of our family, friends and acquaintances in concentric circles. Those who are closest to the loss are the nucleus. The next ring may be friends and family, but not as close. The outer ring may be neighbors, acquaintances, co-workers, etc.

It is always those in the nucleus who have the privilege and burden of posting an RIP message. The nucleus gets to decide the language to use and the details to share – or not share. Those in the outer rings must be patient and give those deepest in the grief circle the time and grace they need to deal with their loss. We should hold off from speculating and resist the temptation to share before the time is right. Once the inner circle has shared, we can offer condolences and comfort to those in the center.

If you are part of the nucleus, take your time. While a quick post can deter misinformation, sharing the message that you want to share is just as important. The Emily Post Institute suggests family members should turn off the comment capability on their social media accounts to give them time and space before crafting a message. Those in the nucleus can also create a private group in order to send pieces of information to a specific group of people. This can give the family some sense of control in the timing of the messaging even if certain information may have already been released by other sources.

Families can often experience a sense of betrayal if they find out about the death through social media from a stranger or mere acquaintance. If you’re not part of the nucleus, hold off sharing and wait for those closest to the loved one to take the lead.

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