Death to Facebook

The RingTechnology and the internet are crazy, especially the way social media has invaded our lives – for better or worse.  When my sister died, my resolute decision was that it was “for worse”.

She died while I was driving to the hospital (an hour and-a-half away from where I lived).  My parents didn’t tell me…they were waiting for me to arrive.  They didn’t realize, though, how quickly it would spread when they decided to let others know.  My dad sent one text to about five people when I was still around 45 minutes away.  On the drive, I got a text from my cousin: “I don’t know what to say, other than I love you.”  And, I knew that it had happened, that my sister was gone.  I pushed it away, though.  Told myself that I didn’t really know.  Told myself to wait until I got to the hospital.  My parents had hoped to tell me when I arrived.  Instead, I was implicitly told through a text.  Neither of my parents have embraced the technology take-over.  I can’t really blame them for not understanding that the minute you send a piece of information out into the mysterious realm of wireless connectivity and 3G networks that you have thereby forfeited all rights to said information.  It is now owned by the masses – do what they will.  And do what they will – is exactly what they did.

Because it didn’t stop with this one text.  That isn’t the end to the technology sucks story.  It even invaded her hospital room.  This most private and intimate of spaces – where the initial reactions of a family are taking place – where we’re hugging her, talking to her, breaking down…technology invaded Room 257.

This one text got sent out…and within a couple of hours – our phones started to ring.  We were in the hospital room, mourning the loss of my sister…and it occurred to me that something much worse was about to happen….and I said: “Oh god…Facebook.”

We realized that someone was bound to post on her page and that we had lost control.  It was awful – in a powerless situation, to realize that there was even something else you could lose…something so personal was about to be posted publicly.  I realized that my close friends – friends that grew up with my family, friends that I wanted to tell in a private phone call – were now going to find out through Facebook.  Our family members were going to find out through Facebook.  So, we did the only thing we could to gain any power back and decided we would post on her page.

Do you understand the insanity of this?  We are in the room with her body discussing how to handle FACEBOOK!?  And, guess what?  When I posted our message on her wall – I was four seconds behind someone else.  We didn’t even end up being first.  And the GALL of the person who posted that…………I know.  I know.  They probably didn’t realize how recent it had happened or…whatever…makes me so mad.

And to all those people that I had wanted to tell individually, I sent them a mass text, thinking that was a little better than being shocked with the news on her wall.  Because, it was shocking.  My sister was in the hospital so frequently that we didn’t always spread the word (my parents didn’t always even tell me).  Some people knew, but a lot more didn’t have a clue she had been in the hospital at all, let alone that it was so serious!!!


I might have some pent up anger about this…just a little…

So, yes, right around the time of my sister’s death – technology and all it entails was a definite “for worse”….but almost 8 months out…I also see the “for better”.

Over 300 people came to my sister’s funeral, despite the fact that we had it four days after she died.  I’m not sure that we could have spread the word so quickly without Facebook.  On the other hand, I don’t use Facebook like I used to…  I don’t post status updates.  I definitely don’t whine about my day.  …after using it to let the world know about my sister…I just can’t get back to posting about working out at the gym…  Facebook isn’t fun like it used to be.

Crap…this was supposed to be the “for better” part…let me try this again…

Voicemail…  I have two messages from my sister.  They aren’t particularly special in what they say…but good grief…to hear her voice!  There is nothing that can touch my soul like listening to her voice.  Thank you, Voicemail.

Text messages…  I have a couple years of texts – mainly about Grey’s Anatomy or how we’ll try not to fight next time we see each other.  Again, not crazy interesting, but so incredibly precious to me that I have them backed up in a kazillion places.  Thank you, Text Messaging.

Facebook…  People use her page now to say that they miss her and are thinking of her.  It’s a little memorial page for her and it’s nice to read.  But, really, it’s nice to go back and look at what we wrote to each other or to see her comments on pictures or posts that I made.  …thankyoufacebook…

Etsy…  This is an unexpected one for sure, but Etsy lets you follow people and you can see what their favorite items are.  When I realized this, I immediately looked through all of my sister’s favorite items.  Today, I decided to buy one of them.  The ring at the top of this page.  I feel a little silly.  I’m not entirely sure why I did it….just trying to find a way to be connected to a non-existent person.  Makes complete sense.  Her favorite color was black and she had become obsessed with filigree rings before she died…  I’m guessing she didn’t buy this one, because her fingers were ginormous.  But, it’s my size.  And now it’s my ring.  Thank you, Etsy.

Look at me, trying to see the positive in something I despise.  

Very uncharacteristic.

Admission of Guilt

…and I’m not talking about the guilt-grief kind.  I made this blog with one intention…giving me an outlet to express my feelings about my sister’s death.  In less than two months, I have somehow strayed from this.  I wasn’t supposed to worry about whether people were actually reading the blog or how my writing sounded to anyone else, etc.  The blog was supposed to be complete narcissistic devotion to myself.  Ha.

But, I started reading online about how to make your blog’s readership grow (already, straying from this blog’s purpose!)…and that inevitably led to the dreaded Facebook page.  Now, I already have problems with Facebook (the blog on death and Facebook is a comin’ – watch out, Facebook), so I don’t use my personal FB page that often anymore.  And, originally, I thought having a “Room 257” page would be good, as I could update it when new posts were up for any readers that I did have.  BUT – IT TOOK OVER MY LIFE.

Alright, not quite, but FRICKIN’-A.  FB is the most horribly addicting thing ever.  And, my page doesn’t even have 30 likes.  So, all-in-all, it’s not like there was that much new going on!  Even so, I started checking it a lot and exploring/liking other grief pages.  Some pages I connect with more (Remembering Our Lost Siblings and Death of a Loved one) for my own personal reasons…others, not so much.  There are so many pages, though, that anyone could find at least one page that he/she finds helpful.

To be clear, I’m not saying that this is at all bad…finding a FB community…I’m saying that I got carried away with being in charge of a page and trying to get “likes”.  I started with just typing up the quotes from poems that I like and posting pictures of them (also can see in “Quotes” section) on my FB page and on others’.  This, I like doing and will continue to do…but not with the pressure of thinking I have to do it often!  Because, I did start feeling this weird pressure to post something at least every couple of days…and that’s when it really got bad.  Because I started checking to see if people liked it or shared it or commented on it………and yesterday, I made an image to share (below) based on a FB conversation with someone…and today, it has been liked and shared and re-shared over 1,000 times.  Whoa.  It’s not that I don’t agree with what I wrote (duh, I wrote it), but I realized this wasn’t how I wanted to express myself.  Or, rather, this isn’t how I feel comfortable expressing myself.  I feel comfortable typing, right here, right now, on my laptop in Room 257 (my mental space for sister thoughts).

I do think that there is a weird sense or belief that grief is some sort of process and, eventually, you get over it.  But, I think – like the quote says – it’s really – that you learn to live with it.  So, if you seem better, it’s that you’ve figured out how to manage your loss to a certain degree – learned how to live with it (not that you’re over it or that it doesn’t affect you).  Since this image exploded on FB overnight, it seems many people agree.  And, I’m glad (and a little shocked) that I helped so many people express this feeling and I really do think it’s a topic that needs some good discussion.  But, I need to back off of the FB page obsession before I’m posting pictures of puppies and angels all day long.  LOL.

So, I’m apologizing for taking the focus from my blog to the FB page.  I like the page, I’ll still use the page to talk to people and occasionally post things…but I now officially vow to be addicted no more!  And, there are some really great FB grief sites, but I’m not equipped to be one of them.  I’m still a mess of emotions (that recently I’ve been doing my best not to deal with), so probably not the healthiest person to give any credence to at the moment.  Anywho…I’ve got to pee.  So, til the next blog…  (Oh and feel free to yell at me if I do start posting a plethora of puppy and angel images on FB!)

Proverbial slap on the wrist.  Done.Grief is not a Process