Deactivating Social Media After Death
Dear Annie: As we live in an electronically connected world, there is a downside that bothers me. I have had a couple of friends die and their Facebook and LinkedIn accounts have remained active. On their birthdays, I receive notifications. I find it creepy. In my mind, LinkedIn is for connecting with others for work reasons. That said, there are some people who are only connected in that way. I understand why a profile might be kept active. Facebook makes that connection in our personal lives. I suggested to one friend that he turn off the birthday notification for his deceased wife, which he did. But he's going to leave her account up for a while. I'm not sure what the right answer is to this. I would like to add that I'm adding my passwords to my file of things that need to be done upon my passing. What are your thoughts? -- Live Profile
Dear Live Profile: You're wise to set aside your login information, and I encourage you to document your wishes for all of your digital assets after your death. AARP has a helpful article available on their website titled "Prepare a Digital Estate Plan for Future Caregivers."
Regarding your friends' profiles: As someone who has grappled with deactivating a dead loved one's social media accounts, I have to tell you that it can be tough. It really can feel like cutting one more thread connecting the person to the living world. Facebook and Instagram offer options to "memorialize" someone's account when they pass away, which some families might prefer to do, and LinkedIn will deactivate a profile if contacted about the owner's death. But leave that for the families to decide. And in the meantime, if a late friend's profile shows up on one of your social media feeds, take it as an opportunity to pause for a moment and think of a memory of that person.
Dear Annie: Please recommend to "Still Hurting" -- and others who are coping with the long-term effects of being abused as children -- that they look into Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings. Despite the name, these meetings are open to anyone who is suffering from the effects of growing up in a dysfunctional family, regardless of whether there was substance abuse present. As you mentioned, having a community of people who understand you because they've been there and done that is vital to recovering from trauma.
Know that there is help, and you can get better. Thank you. -- Linda
Dear Linda: Thank you for recommending this lifeline. Readers can learn more at https://adultchildren.org.
Dear Annie: I'd like to address a few words to "Feeling Jealous," who was putting together a birthday party for her 13-year-old stepson and was upset that her husband's ex might come.
My parents divorced back in the 1960s, after 25 years of marriage. I was a freshman in high school. As you can imagine, life around home was upside-down, especially for holidays and birthdays when we kids had to choose a parent. Their love had always been unconditional for their children. Being outspoken, an uncommon occurrence for a kid in 1962, I made a heartfelt request to both parents to have all the family together for celebrations. They did it... for us. For their sacrifice, I will be eternally grateful. My two half-siblings referred to my dad as "Uncle." My dad and stepdad were always cordial and friendly. Sometimes, what seems impossible can be made real through loving and caring. -- Grateful Daughter
Dear Grateful: I have a feeling that the rest of your family was grateful to you for advocating that kind of relationship. It sounds as though everyone's lives were richer for it. Thanks for sharing the wisdom.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.