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‘We do it to keep him alive’: bereaved individuals’ experiences of online suicide memorials and continuing bonds

Kennedy, David; Bailey, Louis; Bell, Jo

Authors

David Kennedy

Louis Bailey

Abstract

This paper presents draws on interviews with individuals who have experience of creating, maintaining and utilising Facebook sites in memory of a loved one who has died by suicide. We argue that Facebook enables the deceased to be an on-going active presence in the lives of the bereaved. We highlight the potential of the Internet (and Facebook in particular) as a new and emerging avenue for the continuation of online identities and continuing bonds. Our study offers unique insight into survivors’ experiences of engaging with the virtual presence of their deceased loved one: how mourners come and go online, how this evolves over time and how the online identity of the deceased evolves even after death. We discuss how Facebook provides new ways for people to experience and negotiate death by suicide and to memorialise the deceased, highlighting the positive impact of this for survivors’ mental health. Finally, we describe the creation of tension amongst those who manage their grief in different ways.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Oct 2, 2015
Journal Mortality
Print ISSN 1357-6275
Electronic ISSN 1469-9885
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 4
Pages 375-389
Institution Citation Kennedy, D., Bailey, L., & Bell, J. (2015). ‘We do it to keep him alive’: bereaved individuals’ experiences of online suicide memorials and continuing bonds. Mortality, 20(4), 375-389. https://doi.org/10.1080/13576275.2015.1083693
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/13576275.2015.1083693
Keywords Facebook; Suicide; Memorialisation; Internet; Continuing bonds; Grief; Bereavement; Online identity
Publisher URL http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13576275.2015.1083693
Copyright Statement © 2015 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis.This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons....icenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Additional Information Copy of article first published in: Mortality, 2015, v.20, issue 4.

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Copyright Statement
© 2015 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis.This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.




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