Keeping in Touch with Our Dearly Departed

By KBJR News 1

August 10, 2012 Updated Aug 10, 2012 at 10:15 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - Krystal Brandstatter isn't afraid to admit it.

"I like Facebook," she said. "Some people might call me addicted."

She's connected at all times.

"If I'm not at work I'm checking in with my Facebook friends."

Brandstatter says she doesn't want to lose connection with those friends, even if they no longer can log in.

"Sometimes it's calming, sometimes it helps you have that good cry."

Brandstatter lost her best friend nearly two years ago. April Oles Madgez and her daughter were shot and killed by her husband before he took his own life.

April lives on in Brandstatter's heart.

"Every birthday she's had, I wish her a happy birthday," Brandstatter said. "Sometimes I go on her fan page, I tell her I miss her and I love her and I wish she was here still."

Comments psychologist, Doctor Dan D'Allaird, says are an extension of what people have always done to remember deceased loved ones.

"Just like keeping a photo of a loved one on a wall, keeping dad's favorite thing on the mantle after dad dies," the doctor said. "It's a way to maintain a sense of contact."

Doctor D'Allaird says it's healthy. He says it's a human impulse to stay connected, even if in reality it's a one-sided conversation.

"Grief, communication, connection, loss, memory. Those are fundamental issues they are just working on a new medium.

It's a medium filled with more than just thoughts.

"I can see pictures of her daughters, herself, old things she's posted to me and things I've said to her," Brandstatter said of a special Facebook tribute page created for her friend.

Experts say the ability to communicate with a deceased love one via social media may, in some cases, bring more closure than attending a traditional memorial service.

Kevin Jacobsen
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