The Facebook afterlife, Part 4

Hello again and Happy Mother’s Day!

What’s below is a story about my mom that covers a few things, namely, my mom, her death, Facebook and finding happiness in memories after a loss.

If you are just joining me, read or listen to The Facebook afterlife in parts. Here is Part 1. Here is Part 2. Here is Part 3. This is the last in the series.

The below post is a turning point in the story – the point it finally ceases to be so darn depressing. You just can’t sugar coat a loss that big.

Listen below or read my transposed essay. The subject matter is bittersweet, but the recording makes me giggle. I resorted today to hiding in a closet to talk to my phone for 3 minutes. That’s why Laila is in the background howling “Mommy! Mommy!” She was looking for me, poor darlin.

The Facebook afterlife, Part 4

Juliana again talking about my mom in advance of Mother’s Day. She died of cancer in 2010.

After she died, my family left her Facebook profile page up.

We thought at first we needed to decide what to do with it.

Almost three years later, what I’ve discovered is, we don’t actually have to decide anything, on any timeline, other than the time line of our own grief.

In Italy, with olives.
In Italy, with olives.

Grief sets its own clock.

We like having her there online.

We like looking at her pictures.

It’s a place where my mom had made a scrapbook of her own life.

She shows the world the life she wants people to see.

Most of the pictures on her page were taken while she had cancer.

What she shows people is that she’s alive.

She’s alive. She’s alive and she’s in Ireland. She’s in Italy. She’s riding a horse. She’s spending time with her friends, her family, my Dad, my sisters, me, my daughter Laila, who was 6 months old when she died.

It’s a real comfort for us to have her there online.

We’re just not going to do anything with it.

Mom with my sister, Emily, and brother-in-law, Kyle. Riding horses!
Mom with my sister, Emily, and brother-in-law, Kyle. Riding horses!

My sister wrote her a message after she had died.

I logged into her page once and saw my sister’s message there and read it.

I only told my sister about that today. I planned to mention it here so I thought she better know beforehand.

On her birthday, my mom’s friends write her little notes.

If it brings comfort to us, if it brings comfort to other people, we’re just going to leave it up.

A loss that big doesn’t go away.

Someone has described grief as being kind of like waves, which I think is a very good description.

I think of it more like an ocean.

It’s an ocean that magically fits inside your body.

You carry it around.

It’s calm sometimes. Other times it’s stormy.

It’s felt calm for me lately. But it’s there, just like my mom is always with me.

If she’s online as well, I think that’s fine.

The Facebook afterlife
I’ve got my own kids now. It’s almost Mother’s Day.

I’ll think about my mom. I’ll smile. I might look at pictures of her online, or just look at pictures I have of her.

It will bring me a lot of happiness.

I’ll feel very happy having my own kids, and having the time that I did have with my mother, who was a wonderful mother.

She taught me everything I knew about being a mom.

I’m sure wherever she is, she’s got WiFi.

Coming at you mom, from the Internet.

Love you.

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While I have your attention, I wanted to spread this message from the Esophageal Cancer Action Network (ECAN), an organization started by a friend of mine, Mindy Mordecai. Her husband died of esophageal cancer and she started a nonprofit to help others.

The organization’s goal is to spread awareness about this fast-growing cancer – and it’s link to heartburn, something that is not well known. My mother died of esophageal cancer and we believe it could have been related to chronic indigestion or a condition called Barrett’s esophagus. It was incurable by the time it was detected.

Check them out on Facebook and give them a “Like.”

This is her organization’s message:

The most important action you can take to help ECAN reach its goals is to pass along our message to those you know.

Tell them that persistent heartburn, or a cough or hoarseness you cannot explain is reason enough to ask your doctor if you need an upper endoscopy or one of the newer technologies to determine if you have Esophageal Cancer or its precursor, Barrett’s Esophagus.

If you liked this post or feel motivated to spread the message about esophageal cancer, please consider sharing it on your social media channels! xoxo’s, j



The Facebook afterlife, Part 3

Hello again!

I’m talking about my mother, Gayle, who died in 2010.

My goal is to get through the sad stuff and get to the happier parts by Mother’s Day! I don’t want to depress anyone – but the fact is, these holidays are bittersweet for a lot of people.

I’m a mom and get to be with my family, at the same time, I do miss my own mother. Perhaps that’s where the below creative energy has come from. Grief. It’s a particularly motivating emotion. It’s a byproduct of love, the stronger of the pair, if you ask me.

Oprah told me to say that.

If you are just joining me, read The Facebook afterlife in parts. Here is Part 1. Here is Part 2.

I’m talking about my mom, her death and social media – Facebook. It’s almost Mother’s Day, so I’ve taken a diverting, open-ended mixed media journey from the day-to-day to talk about my mama.

Here is Part 3:

Continue reading The Facebook afterlife, Part 3

The Facebook afterlife, Part 2

Me again.

Here is the Facebook afterlife, Part 2.

And I have to apologize – this is really a sad section of the story. I’m trying to get through the sadder parts so by Mother’s Day it will be a little happier!

I also want to write a nutritional update on sweet boy Eli this weekend. I learned a few things this week. I don’t plan to write about Eli in sections or parts. My buddy has had enough drama.

Before you read what’s below, read Part 1 first.

I”m talking about Mother’s Day and my own mom, who’s not with us any more. She died, in 2010.

Before she died there was something we needed to do.

We needed to get her Facebook password.

My sisters nominated me to talk to my mom about this, along with some other matters.

You want to to respect someone’s wishes after they’ve died.

To be able to respect their wishes and do what they want you have know what they want.

To know what they want you need to ask them what they want.

No one wants to do this.

It’s admitting death is there.

It’s just really hard.

I’d never faced it. Anything like this.

My mom and I had the conversation in her bed. She was really sick.

She was weak at that point. She could barely talk.

But we needed the information.

She gave me the password.

I gave it to my sisters.

That was that

We didn’t discuss anything else after we had the password.

That would entail thinking further ahead than the moment we were in.

No one wanted to do this at that time. It was hard enough just dealing with the fact she was so sick.

My sisters made a decision and they didn’t include me in it. We ended up getting in a fight.

They tried to delete her profile before she had died.

For whatever reason, I had no reference for comparison or anything like that, but this just horrified me.

I had strong feelings about this, this deletion of the profile while she was still alive.

I didn’t care she had a foot in either world. She’s here.

So, to, should her Facebook profile be here.

So we had to have a discussion about what to do next.