Living and Dying on Facebook


Many of us live online. So many memories documented with just the click of a smartphone. That digital footprint doesn’t just vanish, when someone dies. Pamela Enno’s mother Lenora passed away on June 12, 2016. Her Facebook page is now a memorial.

“She was on Facebook every day, sometimes for hours. Sometimes it was a quick peek,” said Pamela Enno.

Pamela’s little sister decided she wanted to do something with her mom’s page 5 days after her death.

Enno stated, “We had to contact Facebook, we had to actually either send them a copy of the obituary or give them the link to her obituary proving that she has passed. And it was actually pretty simple.”

And it wasn’t long before Facebook got back to them – 12 hours to be exact. There wasn’t a question whether or not to keep Lenora’s page active.

Enno explained, “Cause it was who my mom was. Like, she didn’t want anything changed. Just, it was who my mom was. Although we know that she’s not there. She’s not physically reading it. She’s not accessing it, but it’s still my mom’s.”

A memorialized Facebook account, almost like a digital gravestone, is what many mourning families are turning to.

Tech expert Marlo Anderson said, “It is, you know, the past 6, 8, 10 years that a person lived. And, you know, all the photographs, all of those things are available to their friends and loved ones after they have passed. So, it’s actually a pretty cool thing.”

There’s even a feature for those who are still alive and concerned about what will happen to their memories once they’re gone. It’s called the legacy contact.

Anderson explained, “You can actually add that to your account so that person, after you pass on, would actually have the ability to go in there. And maybe you have something in your will that you would like to, you know, tell everybody, you know, and that person has some control over your account after you’ve passed on.”

One feature of a memorialized Facebook account is especially important to Lenora’s family.

“The nice thing about a memorial is you can send a message and nobody can read it. So, you can be personal and private and express your thoughts and feelings and nobody will ever read it,” said Enno.

Pamela also mentioned that her brother has passed on as well. His wife chose to keep his Facebook open and active as if he hasn’t passed. She finds comfort in reading the messages people send. If you don’t want to memorialize your loved one’s account, you have the option to delete it or leave it open and active.


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