Let's face it, we all love Facebook. If I need to see a video of a cat swimming in a pool with a bathing cap on, I know right where to go. If I want to say Happy Birthday to a friend but am too lazy to go to CVS for a birthday card, it comes in really handy. When I want to show off my kids at Thanksgiving, the one time they are for sure all together, because my sweet potato pie can work miracles, it's the perfect go to. But today, Facebook left me feeling empty and sad, because though words are written and things are said, it just isn't enough. Let me explain...
Yesterday I got home from work, ate my dinner of left over chili, which please don't tell M, he thinks it is homemade, it is Wick Fowler's Texas Chili mix and I have been making it for 6 years and hiding the wrapper in the outside trash. Anyway, once that was done and I had a spoon of coconut ice cream, you know, just to cool things down and it's only a spoonful, doesn't even count as calories or anything, I prepared myself for bed and was nicely tucked in by 8:30 per usual.
And of course I went to my Facebook page because though Facebook is my job and I am on it all day for professional reasons, I knew there was a new video out with a talking dog and I needed to see it. I get to my page and what do I see? My friend has had her baby! He is gorgeous, and I look at the picture and remember what it was like holding a newborn body close to mine, the smell of that sweet little head once the nurse has cleaned him and brought him all wrapped up in a blue blanket. I can almost FEEL him in my arms. And I look at the pictures and at her gloriously happy face and for a moment I am jealous. So much in store for her, for them, pre-school pinups on the fridge, t-ball games, a room full of dirty gym socks and sports gear, and the kind of laughter that fills the house when a bunch of young boys get together, plotting, planning their next escapade.
So of course I had to add my comment to the other 115 and I write "OMG OMG! Can't wait to meet him!" (and I cant, a new baby!) Then I found the dog video and that was that. On to Netflix.
And then this morning, in a stunning turn of extremes, I get word of a horrendous tragedy. A child that my children went to school with has died. And I, like everyone else, am stunned. And I, like everyone else turned to Facebook to learn more.
There I see photos of this beautiful kid, and words of condolence. I stare at the photos, and tears come to my eyes. I see all the comments, and this time, I cannot bring myself to add one. Because I don't want to leave a comment to this child's mother, "So sorry for your loss." I want to grab her and hold her and wail with her and rail against the world and ask why, why, why even knowing we will never have an answer. We were not close, I have not seen her in years, though of course we connect on Facebook now and then. But we are mothers, and her child used to drink hot chocolate at my house and he loved my vegetable soup. And it is horrible, unthinkable that he is gone. It is not fair, it is not right, it is beyond human suffering.
How will she go on? How will she face every day knowing he is gone? I don't know, I cannot imagine and I can't bear to think of it. He was a beautiful kid, I will think of him often as I watch my children embrace their adult lives. I will always remember him, leaving the gym carrying 4 basketball trophies getting into my car for a ride home, my little guy crying because he only got a participation ribbon. Perhaps this is the best thing I can do for her, remember her son now and then, and pray that somehow, she finds peace until they meet again.
I am glad that people from all over are sharing memories on Facebook of this young boy gone much too soon. Of course I look at the photos, the third grade pool party, the high school graduation, the latest with a pretty young girl I assume was his girlfriend. I am touched and cannot look away, but I cannot bring myself to LIKE the page. Because I don't like it, I wish it didn't exist. And in time, I will send words to this grieving mother, but they will be hand written on a page, and though they won't take away the pain of such a loss, surely, won't even make a dent, they will be heartfelt and sincere, from one mother to another.
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