I just went through my Facebook feed.
I have to admit that it put me in a bad place. Emotionally.
And look, I’m a big girl. A grown woman. I don’t have to scroll through it if it is too hard. I get that.
I don’t even have to have Facebook if it sometimes puts me in a bad place. All I need to do is deactivate it.
I also understand that people are free to post absolutely anything they wish. I don’t have to like any of it. I can overlook things and ideas that are not like my own.
I’m also understanding that I’m quickly becoming one of those who are in the older generation. It has taken me a long time to get used to all of this “social media” stuff. I don’t have Twitter or Instagram. I have no idea what Tumblr, Flickr, and Vine add to life. In fact, the last three I am completely clueless about.
Oh, I can scroll past all of this political stuff I see infiltrating my feed. I can get past all of the drama and alarm and the many growing articles of what not to eat or it will kill you and the dozens of get rich quick and grow spiritually seminars that are offered. In fact, all I have to do is block them if I want.
But this is America. Posting anything and everything is a freedom.
My son spent years of his life defending that.
So I try to “get with the program” and at least make myself aware of what’s going on in the world…or bypass it by ignoring it.
But what is hard…and I mean painfully hard…is when I see posts from afar with pictures of my son’s headstone in them.
I mean…I have not physically seen it myself.
I have not touched the cold stone of it or put my fingers in the engraved letters of his name. I have not felt the grass under my feet or laid upon the ground above him. I have not yet kissed the top of it like I did the top of his head all those thousand plus times.
I don’t know who is buried beside or near him. I have not seen the view from where he is laid. What is in the distance of it or what lies on the horizon.
And yes, I could fly or drive out there to see it. I could.
But the raw, honest truth is that I can’t just now. It might sound real cowardice and cold to many of you…but I cannot do it just yet. I will. I know I will. When I am ready and strong enough. But for now…the death of my son has settled in bit by painful bit and I am hurting more than I ever, ever imagined I could.
I think that many who post things with his picture or the picture of his grave site have good intentions. At least I hope so.
I certainly hope they aren’t posting these pictures because they hope to gain any kind of attention from it. I pray they aren’t checking to see how many likes each post garners…constantly feeding off of the how many numbers show up in that little red circle on the small, small shape of the earth in the top right corner of their page. I certainly hope their world is bigger than that.
The honest to goodness truth is that they probably have no thought about it at all. I doubt they think about anyone else. I doubt most of them are posting these pictures because they want to include me in their experience. Or any family member, for that matter.
Another hard, hard thing to read are all the articles on how to deal with my grief. Some of them are posted just for me…and some I am tagged in along with the names of other mothers who have lost children (and listen…if you’ve posted this kind of article, please don’t think I am angry or don’t feel uneasy about it). Because look…we are all at such different stages of our pain…and the truth is that none of us grieve the same.
I don’t want anyone to tell me how to do this just now. Unless I ask. Unless I search it all out for myself.
I know that in time, whether it will be a few months or years, I will probably see it all differently. As time goes by, I will be able to handle it all better.
I will someday be strong enough.
For now I want to ask people…I want to say this and I want it to stick…but I often don’t say the following because I would NEVER, ever wish this on anyone else. This is a painful, painful road to walk. It’s a bed of searing, red hot coals. A trail of sharp and broken glass.
What I want to ask is this:
What if it was you?
What if you lost a child? Someone you love more than your own life?
How would you want this done?
Where is the consideration? The empathy? The compassion?
When did we stop thinking of others first? When did we stop being sensitive to the emotions and needs of others?
When, oh when, did we all become such exhibitionists?
And yes, I have posted things about my son’s death. Especially at the time of it all happening. I wanted you all to know. I wanted to have everyone see and acknowledge that I lost and lost something that can never be replaced. I am proud of my son…I don’t want anyone…anyone to forget him or his accomplishments.
But I really believe that there is a huge difference when something is posted by those closest to the loss than others.
I guess it boils down to simple, common courtesy.
I am most grateful for the people who come to me first with it. Who maybe text a picture to me or ask me if they can text one prior to posting on social media. That one small, simple gesture means the world to me. And seriously, I don’t expect everyone to do that. I am not close enough to everyone for them to even have my phone number. I get that.
AND I am not everyone’s Momma. I know that, too.
I don’t expect everyone to answer to me.
All I want…and all I ask from others is a little consideration.
That “do unto others” idea?
When did we forget about that?