Two weeks ago a friends of mine died. She passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in her sleep. Stacy leaves behind 5 young children under 9 years old. She was a friend by marriage. I was friends first with her husband. I had known him since I was 17. I worked on his parents family farm starting right after my father died. Eventually I talked him into being my business partner in a tanning salon of all things. For years after their marriage I wasn’t close to her. The magic of Facebook brought us together. People bash social media. People say everyone is now just on their phones, or computers and not engaging in real one on one conversation…. We are addicted to our phones….people share too much personal information….. kids are getting bullied on line….. blah blah…. What was life like before social media?
For myself it was isolated. I’ve never been able to express myself fully in person to people with actual words coming out of my mouth. At a party, if I don’t know people, it is near impossible for me to start up a conversation with strangers unless I’ve been drinking. I was great at talking to myself… in my head….. If it wasn’t for social media, Facebook in this case, I wouldn’t have connected with Stacy. I would have missed out on knowing this exceptional wife, mother, friend, daughter, human. We had in common the death of a parent by suicide. It brings an instant connection. We just got one another. In the past year we liked or commented on almost every post from one another. She actually thought my youtube videos were funny. She wasn’t just my “Facebook friend”, but even if she was, even if we never saw each other, I would still value that friendship as any other I had. In August when I was visiting Illinois with my kids it was Stacy that spearheaded us coming to the farm to visit. Our kids played together on the farm. They loved going through the corn rows trying to get lost and eating fresh corn. I’ll never forget looking back and seeing Stacy and James holding hands walking and smiling. A treasured memory I would not have had with out being connected via social media. We even messaged back and forth on the “evil FB messenger” everyone hates the day before she died. It is also a great tool to instantly connect to those you are wanting to reach out to. It gives me a little peace knowing that we just spoke…. and she was happy….damn it..
Do I share too much on FB? Yup. So what? What needs to be hidden? I need to bury things deep down in my soul to eat away at it? I prefer to get it out. You don’t like certain peoples views on FB? Delete them or their posts from your news feed. Kids are bullying each other on line? Yes, and they have for decades, but you know now what happens? Attention is brought to the bullying like no other time in history and I believe people are starting to understand the damage it can do. I believe people now are more inclined to disassociate with bullies and stick up for those that are being hurt. This can be said for abuse to animals as well. People are not putting up with those that abuse animals. They are being publicly shamed. I remember as a kid, certain kids hurting cats and other animals. A blind eye was turned. It is becoming very hard to turn a blind eye, because if you do, you are being called out on it.
Are we addicted to our phones and computers or are we addicted to the connection it creates with others and the world? People need people. We crave love and connection. I know I am happier now being connected to hundreds of people then when I was only connected to a handful. I am just sad one of those connections was severed, but I hope she is still getting my posts in heaven…. I believe she is.
Below is a link to donate to Stacys family. Please consider doing so.