By Carol Kasujja
I log into Facebook almost every single day, just to see what others are doing and to let them know what I am up to. But, occasionally it is a sad experience.
Sometimes I log in to find that someone is ill, has suffered a set-back, or that someone near to them has died.
Once in a while, it is the Facebook friend themselves who has passed away and this is my dilemma.
What do you do when a Facebook friend dies suddenly?
So far I have lost three good friends, we became friends on Facebook, and then they died.
One was murdered on his way to his home and the other one died of Tetanus and Facebook always notifies me to suggest friends for them.
Three weeks back I received a notification that it was one of my late friend’s birthday, many people commented on his wall wishing him a birthday as if he was going to read the comments, but I did not know what to say, will it be rude if I unfriended them?
Jackie Naggayi also experiences the same scenario when she receives notifications that someone has posted on her late sister’s wall.
“It is disturbing and upsetting when someone posts on my late sister’s wall nice words about her.
Whenever I see such posts, I can have a bad day, what is worse whenever I open my Facebook page, I always end up opening her facebook page and go through her pictures. I sent a message to Facebook to block her account but nothing was done,” she said.
Naggayi also said that she has tried to truck her late sister’s former friends who are always posting things on her wall to stop because whenever they post, and she reads, she breaks down.
“When a Facebook friend dies, they are gone. Obviously you can no longer maintain the normal social connection that Facebook was designed to create, so why not unfriend or block them? She asks.
For Noeline Koch, a student at Nkonzi University who has just lost a child hood friend at the age of 24 years, says that the moment she got the news that her friend she used to fetch water with back then had died in an accident, she blocked him.
“I feel bad whenever I see post on dead people’s pages but when my friend died, I was the first to post it on Facebook page announcing that he was dead, and after that, I blocked him. I always prefer to leave the dead rest,” said Koch.
Patrick Nantajja, a lawyer at Kasirye and Kalyango appreciates Facebook for creating memorial profile pages, which allows anyone to visit and stay connected with their dearly departed friends and family.
“Whenever I miss any of my departed friends, I just open their page and post something nice I miss about them. It also comforts you when you open a dead friend’s page and read nice things about them written by their friends. Even where they are, they rest peaceful seeing all the good things being written about them,” said Nantajja
Sarah Nakalyango says that she has lost many friends but she does not mind them as her friends because they were friends.
“When someone dies, it does not mean you should delete their account, actually leaving them as your friend shows that they meant a lot to you,”
Nakalyango argues that leaving the page up there as a “memorial” gives people who do not visit Facebook regularly a chance to pay their last respects and read the messages of condolences.
James Ssekatawa, a counselor at Nyango Healing center says that being a creation of and for young college students, it is unsurprising that dealing with the death of a Facebook friend was not considered but if you lose a loved one and you do not feel like remaining friends, just unfriend them to avoid reminders.
“It depend on how someone handles mourning, some people take long others mourn for days, if you feel like you cannot stand the notification on your late friend’s birthday, just click block,” he said.
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