Imagine for a moment that a member of your family has died. Maybe a child, a spouse, or a parent. You are in the midst of so much uncertainty, sadness, anxiety, and of course grief. Now imagine getting text messages or phone calls or possibly even knocks at your door from people wanting to show their sympathy and support. But, you’re confused. How in the world do all of these people know about your loss when you haven’t announced it to the public yet? Two words. Social Media.

At the same time you want to say your farewell on social media, remember there may be family that doesn’t know about the death yet. Even if there is the sweetest intentions, it just isn’t right to do it until the family does.

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You know there are unwritten rules when it comes to posting on social media. And one of those rules would be this: Never post anything before the family of the deceased has a chance to post something first, especially if the family has social media accounts. If the family isn't active on social media, then ask them for permission before you post about their loved one's death. You may even start off your post by saying something like,"I have permission from the family to post about the passing of...."

Not only can it be upsetting to the family because someone shared their news without their permission. But, it can also be upsetting to close friends who have to hear of the tragic news on social media instead of hearing it from the family.

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It might seem as though you are doing a thoughtful gesture, but for some family members grieving, it may be the one thing that will put them over the edge.  If you do feel the need to announce a death on social media before the family, at least wait until the obituary is published.

People grieve in different ways. What's upsetting for some people can be comforting for others. Knowing what is and isn't appropriate can be extremely hard to figure out.