Now 'last words' on Facebook
Facebook has launched a new application through which a user can
post one last message on his "wall" after his death. But there is
a catch -- three "trustees" have to confirm the person is actually
New Delhi: Like most
people on social networking sites, 27-year-old Aditya Yadav's
profile is an active one, with a regular flow of messages and
photographs. The only difference is he is no more in this world.
For his family and friends though, this is a desperate attempt to
keep his memories 'alive'.
Psychologists say beyond three to six months, such a practice
could indicate depression, but sites like Facebook and Orkut
abound with such accounts.
The only son of his parents, Yadav was an IT professional in Delhi
who met with a fatal bike accident on his way home from work. His
sudden death put the family in a state of shock.
"Bhaiyya (brother) was a person you would like instantly, after
the very first meeting. And I am not saying this because I am his
sister...you can ask any of his friends. His laughter was
infectious, he was lovable and empathetic," his sister Shruti told
"His death was untimely...and for a very long time we could not
come to terms with it. When I visited his social networking
profile, I found a barrage of 'miss you' messages from his
friends, as if they could still connect to him. I believed them
and decided not to delete his profile," she added.
Thus, over the past one year, Shruti has been updating her
brother's profile - even accepting friend requests on his behalf -
as if he were still alive. On his birthday, she baked a cake and
posted the picture on his profile. His friends too regularly post
messages on festivals and other occasions.
For 28-year-old Malini Sharma, the live profile of her late
husband, Pawan, is now her companion in difficult times.
"Pawan and I were childhood sweethearts and after a courtship of
nine years, we got married two years back. However, fate had a
cruel plan for us...we met with a car accident last year. I came
out of it with injuries, but he...," Sharma left the sentence
"He was my best friend and I thought I wouldn't be able to make it
without him. The only thing that still made me feel that he was
around was his profile on the networking site. There was no update
on that to stress the rude fact that he was no more...so it became
like a comfort zone for me," she said.
"When I miss him, I write to him there. I wish him on festivals.
It feels as if he can hear me. Some of his friends keep posting
their old pictures with Pawan, reminding us of the happy times
around him and to keep his memory alive," Malini said.
"Miss you darling. You will always be in our thoughts. Be happy
wherever you are, see you in another world," read a message on
late Gunjan Shah's wall. Her best friend, Ramya, posts on the late
20-year-old's wall regularly.
"We were on a college trip to Pune. We lost Gunjan when we were
walking on the sidewalk, and a car rammed against her from behind.
She didn't make it to the hospital...that image will forever
remain in our minds, especially mine, because we were best
friends," Ramya said.
"Some say that I need to move on. But Gunjan used to always say
how sad it was that a loved one's memory fades away in time after
their death, and I will not let that happen to her," she said.
While heart-rending it is, doctors say such a trend could be a
sign of depression, and the person may need help.
"One needs to be careful about such behaviour because it is not
normal. When someone loses a dear one, the accepted period of
bereavement is three to six months when the person tries to cope
with the loss. But beyond that it's dangerous," Rachna Singh,
lifestyle management expert at the Artemis Health Institute in
Gurgaon, told IANS.
According to Singh, such behaviour could indicate depression.
"If a person keeps posting messages to someone who is no more on a
social networking site, it means that others know about it. The
support group - family and friends - should realise that the
person is in a state of denial and should help him or her accept
the loss," she added.
Said psychologist Samira Verma: "Death is painful. But for the
people of the dead to move on in life, it is important to attain
closure. If a wife does such things in memory of her dead husband
for some time, it's ok because she is still in the phase of denial
"However, beyond a certain period, others should step in and help
her accept the loss. It is equally important to allow her the
space to grieve after that," she said.
(Azera Rahman can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)