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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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