“We change privacy settings so only friends can see the profile,” said Brandee Barker, a Facebook spokeswoman. “If [a deceased] person has entered a birthday, you are going to get the notification.”
“Every year?” I asked. “It’s going to pop up when I’m not expecting it, for the rest of my life? And then after I die, I’m going to haunt my Facebook friends, too?”
Not necessarily. At a family member’s request, Facebook will delete a deceased person’s account. But, Ms. Barker added gently, “Many people who have somebody they’re still mourning find it very comforting and feel it keeps them connected to a loved one.”
Did it comfort me? At first I didn’t think so. ... his birthday will sneak up to surprise me with the loss all over again.
But maybe that’s O.K.
“We’re all haunted by our losses,” said Dr. Susan D. Block, chief of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. “It’s just that Facebook reminds us of that in a very in-your-face kind of way. I know it’s an idea of popular culture that you get over a loss. But the reality is, you don’t.”In fact, most survivors don’t want to, Dr. Block said, because getting over it means memories dim and you start to forget the person. ...
“I guess it’s safe to take him off restricted access on Facebook.”
Later that night, I visited Steve’s profile — of course he’s grinning in the photo — and I gave him a poke. I think that will make a nice birthday tradition.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if this family knew how to go to Mass on their friend's birthday, or the anniversary of his death every year, and pray for him, and be close to him there?
Or, if only the Church in Her wisdom had appointed a day when we could "remember" all those who had died, remember even the "forgotten," (quote marks, because no one of God's beloved creatures, made in His own image, is forgotten by the only One Whose memory matters,) remember those we never knew.
Oh, wait, She HAS.
But we as a society have turned All Saints and All Souls into Super Bowl Sunday with masks.
I think much of what the Ephemerists decried, and tried to do away with or at least deemphasize in the Deform after VCII were not useless accretions, and meaningless gestures, and excessive ornamentation, and superstitious devotions -- but organic answers to timeless human needs.
The Preservatives knew what they were doing.
*Saint Monica to her son, Augustine, enscribed on her tombstone