Victoria Noe

Award-winning Author, Speaker, Activist

Friend Grief and Facebook Memories

download (10)If you’ve been on Facebook for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed the daily “Facebook Memories” that pop up.

Your comments, photos and shared posts are resurrected by Facebook every day. I find them mostly fun reminders of where I was and what I was doing a year or two or six ago. I enjoy seeing other people’s memories pop up, too. But sometimes, the reminders are not so pleasant.

Facebook doesn’t discriminate. The reminders can be of natural disasters or violence. They can be of joyous occasions. Sometimes, though, the reminders are bittersweet at best. Because sometimes they remind us of the friends we grieve.

For one friend, a birthday memory he posted a year ago popped up, the memory of a friend who died long ago. Not that he needed a reminder of her birthday. Few of us are likely to ever forget the day our best friends were born. But the reminder brought his grief back up to the surface.

Who need that, right?


Sometimes, in the crazy busyness of our lives, we forget the friends who are gone. It’s not that we want to forget them or that they weren’t important to us. But we’re human and we forget.

I have no idea how Facebook chooses the posts that pop up in Memories. Obviously, they don’t include every post you made on that date through the years. Sometimes their algorithm seems…odd.

But what I’ve seen time and again from my Facebook community is a heartfelt gratitude for those reminders. “This popped up today,” their posts begin, and they reaffirm the love they had for those friends:

“I miss her every day.”

“I think of him every time I…”

“I liked who I was when I was with him.”

“I wouldn’t be here today if not for her.”

I know some people are annoyed to see Facebook Memories pop up in their newsfeed. But take a moment to consider which Memories people choose to share. It’s not photos of the food they ate on a vacation, or a snarky comment they made about a politician. Their Memories are often of people, of family events and children’s milestones.

And always, always of the friends long gone who shaped their lives.