The Death Hierarchy

I really didn’t want this to be an angry post. I tried to make it a bit more bubbly, but with every rewrite and change, I realized something— I am angry.  

In the age of social media, we are pretty much in unchartered territory. With everything just a thumb scroll away, we are used to having instant access to other people’s lives.

That access, comes with a sense of entitlement, whether we notice it or not.

That doesn’t change the fact that when it comes to the death of a loved one, the grieving family OWES YOU NOTHING.

Let me clarify, if you are a member of the family, a close friend, or even an associate who is actively in someone’s life, chances are you have been made aware prior to social media even catching wind of someone’s passing.

Before you fix your fingers to ask what happened on a public forum or even directly message a member of the family…stop to consider these things:

  1. Is this the first time I’m reaching out to said person in “x” years?
  2. Am I contacting them on social media because I do not have their phone number?

Finally, the one question you should be asking yourself before reaching out:

Is satisfying my curiosity worth asking them to relive one of the most traumatic life experiences they’ve likely ever dealt with?

Spoiler alert: Regardless of what the answer to that question is, the correct course of action is to just not do it. Offer your condolences and if they feel comfortable enough to share, they will.

Respect their space.

In another post, I’ll go over appropriate ways to show support, because I truly believe that most people have the best of intentions and just don’t know how to help.

I know this is hard. As human beings, we have the inherent need to find meaning in things we don’t understand, especially when it comes to death.

Really dig in to how you’re feeling, then remember, it’s nothing compared to what the family is dealing with.

…and please, please, PLEASE don’t post about someone losing their life on social media before the immediate family does.

If you’re offended by this, it was for you.

Not sorry.


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