All of the political views posted lately have me reflecting on my love/hate relationship with social media. I remember not being able to go on Facebook for days when Nash first died . I knew there would be apology after apology, and I didn’t want what happened to be real. I didn’t want to face that I was now that person, that mother, that family that tragedy struck…I didn’t want to see the posts we’ve all seen a thousand times, but this time on my page. On the other hand, I wanted to see them. I wanted to know my friends and family knew…I wanted the reassurance that I was loved and that Nash was loved.
I remember the first day I got on and saw 99+ notifications and over 100 friend requests, not to mention countless private messages. I spent an entire day going through them. I cried, but I also found solace in the fact that so many people cared…that they were going through some of the emotions with us, the disbelief, the anger, the sadness. It was like having 1000 best friends on hand at all times. It became my sounding board. The place I went to to vent, not for attention, but to know I could express my feelings without judgement. That’s where the ugly side of social media can rear its ugly face. With the good, there is always bad. When you put yourself out there, a few sour apples will always try to ruin the pie.
It never bothered me before Nash. If you don’t like me, block me, it’s that simple, but some people can’t just leave well enough alone. I first started receiving bad messages the day I posted the picture of Nash and I at the hospital. A girl sent me a message saying she didn’t think it was in good taste to share pictures of your dead baby on Facebook. How it’s attention seeking and disgusting, that she would report me or other mothers for sharing such disgusting pictures and to let my baby just Rest In Peace. Another private message explained safe sleep and how to protect my next baby (mind you, this was before anyone even knew how or where he died). It went on to say that most baby deaths are preventable if I abide by the recommended guidelines.
I also saw happy posts from friends who had posted earlier about how sad they were for me. Minutes later, they were posting how they were at the best concert of their life. Reality struck that although they are sad for me, it’s fleeting. They are not living my pain, and I can’t expect them to. I remember deactivating my account immediately. Those few messages wrecked me. How powerful some people are when behind a keyboard. How knowledgeable someone is when they see something online. How cruel some people can be to a grieving mother they have never even met. I didn’t care if I ever got on Facebook again!!!
It was in that time that I realized I wanted to write my story. I wanted no speculation or misinterpreting anything when it came to Nash. I also wanted to share my story to all who had been so compassionate to my family. Who wished their condolences and never once asked what happened, no matter how much they wanted to know. I wanted those people to know, not to wonder, not to hear rumors. I wanted them to know straight from me how I was doing and what had happened to my family. When I activated my account again, it was to share my blog posts. I didn’t plan on reading anything, just sharing. I couldn’t help it though, I read the comments, and the encouragement I got was overwhelming.
Soon after that, Nash day exploded as well, and I saw the positivism social media can spread in the matter of minutes. Over 10,000 people reading what I wrote . Thousands of acts of kindness being spread…it was amazing. Social media has been good to me, to say the least! Do I still get bad messages? Unfortunately, yes. Just recently, a friend told me that I’m avoiding dealing with Nash’s death by writing, changing my profile picture to Nash every ninth, and still throwing him a birthday party. She said it was out of love that she was telling me this, that I needed to move on and these things weren’t letting me.
If there is a any positive that has come out of Nash’s passing, when it comes to me personally and how I deal with things, it’s that I have developed tough skin. I no longer care if I’m sharing to much, if my friends may think I’m attention seeking or dwelling. When you lose a child, things like that become trivial in the grand scheme of things. It’s not on my radar of importance. I don’t ask people to like me or what I share. I don’t ask them to like what I have to say. As easy as it is to belittle or judge me, it’s even easier for me to hit the delete or block button.
After the election, social media has become a war zone of its own, and I find myself holding back from many posts and caving on others. I’ve seen both sides of the spectrum. I’ve seen hate fill my feed in seconds, and I have seen kindness do the same. There truly cannot be one without the other. The same friends who are posting some of the most negative comments I have ever seen have also posted some of the most positive, on days when I needed them most. Sometimes I have to take a deep breath, remind myself that these are in fact my friends, and hold back the judgement that they have so graciously held back from me. Just like the world, social media can be a dark place and a good place to be, it just depends in how you choose to see it. Is your glass half full or half empty? Are these your friends or the enemies? Do you choose hate or choose kindness? I know what I choose, do you 😉