You’ve read the online comments on your bereavement post, noted the care emojis, the likes and read all the messages. You’ve even shared photos and videos with family and friends. But all that fades and soon, it’s just you and the screen and the desire to scroll.
My advice is to avoid doom scrolling and instead, find out what’s next for you on social media to comfort you in your grief and maybe even give you a giggle.
Let’s start with my favourite picks from Instagram. By far the most refreshing is an unexpected Instagram account @thegriefkitchen by Alex Locker offering food memories, recipe sharing and special moments. By the time Alex was twenty-five she had lost both her parents. She says, ‘I started the Grief Kitchen to give grievers a place to find each other and access positive memories (food and loved ones go hand in hand).’
And the bright, sunny images mirror that sentiment. In one post she encourages people to say hello, name who they lost and the food that they associate with them. She leads by example identifying her father’s signature risotto and her mother’s fresh croissants with Seville orange marmalade and a frothy coffee.
Also on the ‘gram is Good Grief Festival, a free virtual event taking place on October 30 and 31. I have been following this account for a while and it’s sleek, informative and mind-blowingly good. Every second post is an amazing array of one hundred diverse guests speaking on the uniting topic of grief.
Speakers include @drkathrynmannix a retired palliative care consultant, who talks about hope. There’s also writer @cloverstroud who lost her mother and sister. She says ‘Grief is a huge, huge part of my creative drive. I really feel that understanding that loss is part of the human condition…I almost feel possessive of it and I’m quite proud of the loss I have been through. I’m incredibly proud of the imprints the people I have loved and lost have left.’
The account also offers panels discussing everything from HIV/AIDS to the effect of Princess Diana’s death ‘pulling the plug’ on collective grief in the UK and the similarity to the collective grief about COVID.
Megan Devine describes her comforting Refuge in Grief Instagram account as grief support that doesn’t suck. It has a whopping 74.5k followers. She is the author of ‘It’s OK that You’re Not OK’ and ‘How to Carry What Can’t be Fixed’.
Her account is full of visual reminders of grief and she engages so beautifully with her audience, speaking from her experience, expertise and with heart smarts. In one post, on early grief she writes in a lengthy comment ‘In my own early grief I wasn’t worried that I would always be in so much pain. I was worried that one day I wouldn’t be. How could life possibly go on? And how could I live with myself if it did?’
She truly connects with her audience asking them pertinent and sometimes funny questions such as ‘What’s one thing that you keep losing or misplacing?’ The answers are bound to make you feel better and even have a laugh. Not only have her audience posted the predictable: phone, car keys and memory — one follower writes ‘I found a zucchini in the sandwich bag drawer’.
Switching the socials now to Facebook – there are tonnes of groups you can join specific to your loss for example the Parent Loss Grief Support which has twenty-four thousand members, the Sibling Grief Support Loss of Brother or Sister with twelve thousand members and the Widow and Widowers’ Grief Support with six thousand four hundred members. When deciding if you want to join a group consider the number of posts per day you will get and make sure you know how to turn notifications off in case you start to get too many posts.
Facebook pages have some real treasures such as the Community Coffin Club. They provide a space for people wanting to make their own coffin and have an interesting mix of photos, videos and education. The Death Literacy Institute page provides simple and clear information about dying. My final recommendation is Grief in Common which, just like the name implies, connects people with the same grief.
I hope you enjoy my recommendations and when you want to get off socials but stay online you can read Good grief’s piece about the more about the Kiwi Coffin Club, where the community coffin club movement started. Make sure you watch the hysterically funny and very talented Kiwi Coffin Clubs’ video which we’ve popped in the feed for you. (See also Community Coffin Club.)
Or revisit our interview with Instagram’s doodle-a-day-diary-guy Gary Scribbler.