Erasing the Deceased QUESTION

(Weird – I scheduled this particular post for this day a couple weeks ago, before vacation. Didn’t know I’d be writing so much about dead people this week.)

I still have a print address book; you know, the kind made of paper. And when someone dies, I never know when to erase that person’s name. It seems that doing so means they are REALLY dead. The only time I’m likely to drop someone is if the book falls apart, I buy a new one, then rewrite the names in the new book, but only the living.

It’s no easier for me in my electronic address book. Deleting someone, especially someone I cared for, is tricky. I suspect that my mother’s still in the system, and she passed away over a year ago.

When Albert Wood from my choir died on Ash Wednesday, his logo picture kept showing up on my Facebook home page. But I didn’t want to “unfriend” my late friend, especially since people keep writing “to” him. A side issue: Are Users’ Facebook Profiles Are Part Of ‘Digital Estates’?

How do you handle the written records of a deceased friend or loved one? Do you purge them right away, or is it a gradual process? And should relatives be able to get access of their loved ones’ social media after they die?
***
In the non-human category, SamuraiFrog says goodbye

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7 thoughts on “Erasing the Deceased QUESTION

  1. I deal with that very spontaneously…in other words, I don’t delete until the day that it feels OK to do so, which may be years down the road.

    Same with dealing with physical objects. I’ve inherited various things that I don’t particularly want to keep, and yet to put my mother’s things on ebay or sell them at a yard sale just doesn’t feel right. Some day it will feel OK; in the meantime they sit in the attic. If it never feels right, my stepdaughters will inherit vintage glassware that they have no emotional connection to and can deal with it however they choose.

    And on the social media question, I’d say yes, relatives should inherit access, if for no other reason than to let the deceased’s network know the news.

  2. I have a church friend who is dealing with MS and has worked out a way with her family to have her Facebook page taken care of.

    It’s hard, both from an emotional standpoint and from and etiquette standpoint. You don’t want to lose all the pictures etc. of the person and you don’t want to do it too soon.

    If the family is involved, they can set up a memorial page for people to “like” so they can still see pictures and contribute comments, as well as taking care of taking the old page down. If they’re not, after an appropriate length of time – maybe six months or a year depending on how well you knew the person – I agree with Claire. If you’re ready, unfriend.

  3. I only have an electronic contacts book and have done for some years. I don’t delete anyone who may have passed away, in fact I don’t delete anyone at all. This has more to do with laziness on my part in keeping my contacts up-to-date and why I have people in my contacts who may or may not have died, but I don’t know because I haven’t spoken to them in years.

  4. Like Mr. Parrot, I’m also all-electronic and don’t delete people, including those I haven’t had any contact with in years. In fact, I still have one friend included who died suddenly a couple years back. It’s a little off-putting when I type an address and it wants to auto-complete with her name, but that just gives me a chance to remember her, however briefly. I kind of like that.

    In general, though, my attitude would be delete names or get rid of stuff when it feels right, or never, if it never does. But, then, I’m a pack-rat by nature, anyway, so I’m probably not the best one to give advice on that!

  5. Now that we’re deep into the digital age, these are things we all need to think about before we leave this earth. Who will take care of our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blog, email, etc. accounts once we’re gone? For years, whenever I transferred birthdays from one printed calendar to another, I would include my dad’s birthday even though he’d been gone for years.

  6. I haven’t had to deal with such a thing, but I would think I’d hold onto the contact information for a long time. Just as a reminder to see their name there while I scroll through looking for someone else.

    I, too, think Facebook and other social media type pages should be accessible to family to do with it what they want. The Facebook page for a guy I went to high school with who died a couple of years ago is still up. It seems to be a comfort to family and friends to still be able to post things on his wall.

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