How Facebook Is Helping Me Grieve for My Sister

FacebookA few months ago, I lost my little sister, suddenly and terribly. I'm still in shock -- typing those words just now was a surreal experience. I see them there in black and white, and tears spring to my eyes and the familiar lump in my throat returns, but there's also a part of my brain that doesn’t believe it -- maybe I never really will. These three months have been unequivocally the worst of my life, but there have been many bright spots in the darkness, bright spots of love, support, and friendship, without which I couldn't have made it through. And one surprising source of light and brightness for me has been Facebook.

Every time I post a photo of my sister and someone "likes" it, every time someone comments on my "I'm hurting" status, I truly feel the connection and support. It’s amazing, really, how much of a difference it has made to me, how much these tiny, instantaneous actions resonate through and bring succor to my aching heart.

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Of course nothing replaces the necessity and value of spending time in person with the people I love, and every time I get a card in the mail, I’m so moved and grateful, but I'm truly astonished at how the virtual support I get from my Facebook community also helps carry me, keeping me afloat when I feel like I might drown. People I haven't really been in touch with since high school have reached out to share their own stories of loss, friends I've only met online have sent me words of incredible comfort, and people I see frequently (and who must be tired of my gloomy face!) still find the time to give me virtual love in the form of a few sweet or funny words, or a simple "like."

And then, of course, there is my sister's Facebook page. The pictures she chose to represent her profile, the status updates she made over the last several years, the articles that she liked and shared, the photo albums full of memories -- all of it offering painful, wonderful snapshots of the life and the person I miss so much. They break my heart all over again (and over again and over again and over again), but they mean so much to me to have, bittersweet drops that both nourish and stoke the thirst of my grief.

I find myself clicking over to her page just about every day. Now and then I'll see that someone else has left her a message, an "I love you," or an "I miss you," or a funny anecdote, or a photo. Seeing those posts brings me true joy; somehow I feel a little bit better knowing someone else misses her too, is thinking of her too, loves her too. Sometimes I’ll just scroll though her photos again, clicking "like" or commenting just because I can, and because it makes me feel a little bit closer to her. And when those comments or photos show up in my friends' feeds, and they in turn comment or like them, it feels good.

I can't express how grateful I am that Facebook exists right now. In this terrible time, it helps me feel closer to my friends far and near, to my family far and near, and to my sweet sister, so far, but also always near, right here in my heart.

Have you ever found Facebook to help you in difficult times?

Image via the author's Facebook page

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Claud... ClaudiaLynn

Wow. This is me. I lost my little sis in October (gulp, choke) and there is still a hole in my heart. I too love the support I get from my FB family. It hurts to look at her page, but also comforting. It's amazing to see how much she was and still is loved. Thanks for sharing. It's nice to know someone out there going through the same things!

LostS... LostSoul88

Hugs! There is no time line for grieving. Just keep remembering all the wonderful memories of her and she will always be alive in your heart. 

jalaz77 jalaz77

So sorry for your loss. I can't imagine.

Yes FB has actually been amazing for things like this. What I like about this is that it still feels like a connection. I know it's weird but when my closest friend lost her mom to cancer I went to her page often to see what everyone had to say, it actually helped grieving for me, it would of been harder had it been my mom but it helped. We still go to her page to say happy birthday, miss you, thinking of you...things like that.

Net1957 Net1957

I'm so sorry for your loss. Yes, Facebook support can be very comforting.

bills... billsfan1104

I love this article. I am so sorry for your loss. My friend lost her 15 year old son to cancer, and what has helped her as well is seeing the comments on we sons page, te birthday wishes, the miss you and pictures. It has also helped me understand her pain and grief a little better as well, so I know what better to say to her.

Again, I am very sorry for your loss.


I am very sorry for your loss. We are coming up on 18 years since my little sister died, and there are moments when that lump in my throat still forms out of nowhere. I am glad you are getting the support you need through social media.

heydo... heydooney

<3 love to you.

I lost my great-aunt and uncle in a car crash just two weeks before we were to go visit them (we moved across the country 3 years ago and were planning a trip home for Christmas). All my family lives back there and I felt so alone here, but seeing all my relatives' profile pictures changed to their picture, all their words of support and grief, I could almost feel us all together. It really helped me make it through until I could be with my family again.

Cynthia Anderson

I think this is incredibly insightful as to the good online media can do. I am so glad FB is offering you even a tiny comfort in this period of such sadness. As always love to you and your family April xxoo

Jane Farrell

am so happy you get support from your FB buddies. What a heartbreaking story. Hugs to you.

Sharon Patenaude

We feel the loss of an loved one daily we miss them all the time and we try to be grateful for the good times we shared with our loved ones .FB can do some wonderful things to help us in our time of need .Try to remember her smiles and laughs like and dislikes in time the pain will lesson and you will be able to understand until you see her in heaven .My solace of loosing 2 daughters to death is there in a better palce than I am and I will be untited again in God's time not our s .Be patient and be kind to others now you know how bad it feels to have this happen in your family No one knows until they walk a mile in you shoes either .Be strong good things will happen to you as well .My one wish in life would be to heal all the broken hearts because of death to their love ones .God bless you too .The sun will shine again and you will be able to be yourself with all the guideness you get here .

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