Social Question

GloPro's avatar

Is it hard for you to delete media contact when someone dies?

Asked by GloPro (8210 points ) February 17th, 2014 from iPhone

Text chains, emails, instagram accounts, twitter, I can’t keep up with all of the ways people declare his/her place in the world. And then they die.

And I know he’ll never call again, but I hesitate to delete his phone number. His email, his proof that he existed.

Do you keep them all active, delete their phone in yours… You know it’s silly to hang on. But do you?

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21 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

You can memorialize his Facebook account.

Judi's avatar

My best childhood friend died a couple if years ago. I find it comforting to go to her Facebook account. Her birthday would gave been valentines day. Several people wrote on her wall saying how much they missed her.
It can be healing for those of us left behind.

GloPro's avatar

@Judi. Does someone maintain that page, or is her last post her last post?

Sorry to be so selfish. I’m sure she crossed your heart, and I’m sorry she isn’t living in the present with you.

jonsblond's avatar

Hang on as long as you want. I don’t think it’s silly. I have my parents phone number listed as Mom and Dad Jonsblond on my phone and my mother passed away this past December. I have no plans on changing it to Dad Jonsblond just because she’s no longer with us physically. It puts a smile on my face when I see the word Mom.

I think of media contacts like photo albums. Are you going to burn a photo album of someone you cherish just because they died? I wouldn’t.

Judi's avatar

It just the way she left it. I’m sure no one has her passwords. People just post memorials on her wall.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I saved the cassette tape from my telephone answering machine because it held a couple of messages from my Dad before he died. It is here someplace, buried in a box in the basement.

I like @jonsblond ‘s idea of equating media posts to photo albums. We keep them until they stop mattering or they get damaged and become unreadable.

hug_of_war's avatar

I had a friend die 2 years ago and people (including myself) post on there occasionally, I find it nice and comforting. She was young (24) so it was the first death that deeply affected me and I can’t imagine deleting her.

The situation will likely be different for someone who was less impactful on my life.

livelaughlove21's avatar

After my cousin died unexpectedly, it took about a year for her number to leave my contacts in my phone. The only reason it did is because I got a new phone and my contacts couldn’t be transferred. Email is how we kept in contact. The night after she died, I sent her an email. I knew she couldn’t read it, but it made me feel better to “talk” to her one last time.

zenvelo's avatar

A good friend died in 2010, he was one of the first I knew to connect to a lot of people via Facebook when he got sick. And a lot of us still consider him a nexus for keeping many people together. His kids still post on his page every once in a while, it’s touching.

My mom kept my dad’s voice on her answering machine for about two years, but finally moved on. She never heard it but people who called did, and it was difficult for her to rehash why she still had it.

Taking phone numbers and connections out of phones, for me, is best done when I transition to new equipment. It’s time then to re-evaluate and move on.

Cruiser's avatar

It’s been just over a year and I still have a voice mail from my dad. I am not sure I will ever erase it either.

jonsblond's avatar

I’m kicking myself for not saving any voicemails from my mother. I miss hearing her voice and her telling me that she loves me. I’m sure I have an old videotape somewhere with her on it, but a voicemail is easier to access.

I was just reminded of two former Fluther users who may have passed away. They were both very ill when they stopped communicating on social media. There are many of us who still write short greetings on their facebook timelines. We are reminded of their birthdays each year and it’s a nice reminder of the good times that were shared online.

keobooks's avatar

I think this is common—to want to save incidental pieces of someone after they die. I had a friend lose her daughter and she didn’t want to vacuum the floor because it had her footprints. The windows had her fingerprints, so they stayed dirty for a long time.

When you keep that stuff, it can give you a minuscule illusion that they aren’t really gone.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Voicemail wasn’t around when my Dad died ~20 years ago. That is why his messages are on a cassette. It seems like they should be saved. I probably should rerecord them digitally one of these days.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

I’ve never been able to erase a decedent’s information from my (physical) address book. It just seems too final, as if I’m “erasing” my last, remaining evidence that the person existed and had been significant in my life. I just leave the information there, until my address book becomes so beaten-up and dog-eared that I need to replace it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

After reading the answers above I think it’s nice that most of us want to hang on to a little bit of someone special. It shows we care about the person.
If we hated them (or had a restraining order) we would gladly delete.

It is far better to have an address book filled with cross outs than to be the person who no longer needs one.

janbb's avatar

I just came across this situation. An online friend died about six months ago. I was surprised to get a FB message that her birthday was coming up. When I went to her page, some people had posted “miss you” messages but a few posted “Happy Birthday” as if she were still alive. It kind of creeped me out.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@janbb There is no reason for FB to delete accounts. In fact, there is actually financial incentive to keep accounts around – even if the owners are not. Every account adds $35 to FB valuation.

janbb's avatar

@LuckyGuy Sure – but I wonder if a friend or family member can or should delete.

Seek's avatar

I still have my grandmother on my friends list on Facebook. She was never very active on there. As far as I know she just logged in to look at pictures of the grandkids and great-grands. But I don’t have any compelling reason to delete her.

Phone numbers get left behind when transferring to new equipment. Again, no compelling reason to make a point of deleting the contact information otherwise.

LornaLove's avatar

I erase them as quickly as possible. It’s all just too painful. My ex husband died a year ago and he had the loudest most busiest FB profile there was. Like him, it was cheeky, full of nonsense and he had loads to say. He would comment on my sons profile, making funny or sarcastic comments.

He would post interesting things and he lived abroad all of his adult life so his profile was full of interesting photos.

When he died suddenly the shock to all who knew him was just too much. His then wife had his profile removed. For a while when I searched him it said ‘This person does not exist’. I see now it has his name and RIP. It just hurts so much. All his comments have gone, even the ones he shared with others.

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