One of the hardest parts of losing someone close to us is trying to move on and live life as normal. People have different ways of dealing with grief.
You may find yourself constantly reminded of the person you lost on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. This can complicate matters.
Some people choose to delete their loved ones’ social media accounts, but many others want the profile to be there as a way of remembering them.
Many people continue to send the deceased messages long after their death, even though they are trying to grieve by reading old text messages or other social media posts.
It’s now a common coping mechanism, and experts say it can actually be useful for those to deal with the transition.
When considering why many people do this to cope with their loss, psychologist Ingrid Collins said: “When a loved one dies, we find it hard to adjust immediately to the fact that they are no longer physically with us.
“In the first stages of grief, we tend to become emotionally numb as a result of the trauma of bereavement, often finding it difficult to accept that they are really gone.”
It is in this phase that many find it comforting to ease adjustment to a loss by continuing on a conversation.
Ingrid continued: “Be it imaginary, as some believe, or communicating with the lingering soul of the loved one, as others believe.
“Either way, it is a way of softening the harsh reality of never being in their physical presence again.”
As a culture, it’s no doubt that we are taught to cope well with bereavement, with a “stiff upper lip” approach for many.
To some, that may signify that the individual may not be coping well at all, and bottling up any emotions from others.
When talking about text messaging loved ones that have passed away, Ingrid said: “Any method that enables us to prolong the comfort of the relationship with the deceased or, if the bond was challenging, to go some way to resolving the relationship, is to be welcomed.
“Sometimes people cling on to their loved one’s physical possessions that serve as a reminder.
“This is one way of adjusting. Some take up a campaign in order to bring some meaning to what might otherwise appear to be a random or supposedly preventable death.”
In short, those who choose to communicate with a deceased person are “taking an effective shortcut to arriving at some measure of acceptance.”