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Support is support no matter where it comes from

standard December 16, 2009 15 responses

Yesterday a 2-year-old boy fell int a pool and drowned and, if that weren’t tragic enough, today insensitive people attacked the poor child’s mother, accusing her of faking her son’s death for attention.

The basis for their attack?

She tweeted that he had drowned.

That’s right. Her crime was that, as the paramedics were trying to revive her baby, she tweeted asking people to pray for her son.

Apparently some people, even heavy twitter users, cannot fathom that, faced with a personal tragedy, someone would hop online and share it with their followers.

It infuriated me that people would make the blanket assumption that the fact that she was even online meant that she wasn’t really grieving, was in fact faking.

Now I’m sorry, you might hate Twitter and Facebook and all that they stand for. That’s your prerogative. But you can’t ignore the fact that some people have a real network of friends online. People they turn to to share their joys and their frustrations. And yes, people they turn to for support in times of great tragedy.

Shocking as it may seem, for many people Twitter and Facebook offer a real support network, far beyond what most people can imagine. Being a mom is an isolating job. You can’t always go out and meet up with people to get the grown-up interaction you crave. You’re often at the mercy of tiny little irrational dictators. This is even more true for moms who live in rural areas. So we turn to the Internet and to social networks to vent or share our triumphs, we joke with a mom we’ve met here or there, and slowly real friendships develop. Because the mom on the other side of the computer is living a parallel life she understands that you might pop in and out of the conversation. And because she’s always there, it’s easy to talk to her and update her in snippets.

That’s why, when something happens and we need emotional support, we turn to our online friends. They’re there. They’re accessible. And they are amazing when it comes to the instant support that a terrible tragedy calls for. Tweeting out that something bad has happened – a car accident, an injury, anything – and getting a slew of supportive responses makes you feel less alone. It makes it less scary to pull your shoulders back and deal with the situation. Simply knowing that others, even people who have never met you in person, are thinking of you as you struggle makes it possible to go on.

Just because it’s virtual support doesn’t make it less real. The invisible hands holding you up are just as tangible as real hands. And that’s why mothers who have lost their child in the most tragic way imaginable might come tell their followers. Not because they don’t care. But because they need their friends.

The blogosphere is a magical place of love and support

standard June 25, 2009 3 responses

Sometimes you come across a blog that tells a story that makes you stop and think. The blogger’s story strikes a chord, sparking a slew of “what ifs” or “oh shits.”

The story and the circumstance draws you in. Fascinates you. You want to just dip a toe in, but you find yourself wading in, deeper and deeper.

Most of the time you’ll read until your curiosity has been satisfied. I mean, let’s be honest, part of why we read blogs is because we’re all a bit voyeurs at heart, right?

But sometimes it goes beyond morbid fascination. Sometimes you get pulled in further. The writing is amazing, mesmerizing. The chord keeps getting struck. You can’t tear yourself away, no matter how much work or life beckons. You find yourself going to the beginning of the archives and working your way through the whole story, getting more attached to the characters and more invested in the story as you read through the posts.

By the time you’ve caught up, you’ve already put the blog in your reader, or you’ve signed up for the email updates. You don’t want to miss the next post. You’ve cried and laughed along with the blogger. They have no idea you’ve been along for the ride (even if a bit belatedly), but you feel as close to them as you are to your “real” friends. You know you’re not the only one who feels like this, and that’s more than OK.

That closeness and that investment is what makes the blog world so unique and wonderful. The strangers who reach out and become friends make this space magical. Complete strangers stop by a blog on their way to some other Internet destination, get pulled in, stop, pull up a chair, and in the process stop being strangers and become part of a support network. It’s a community of people who for the most part have never met, but who will move heaven and earth to help each other. Amazing.

Whenever I discover one such blog and witness that blog magic all over again I’m moved and thrilled. I’m a part of that world. I reach out to bloggers who need the support and I’m comforted by the knowledge that should I ever need that support my community will be there for me. It’s a good feeling. No, it’s a wonderful feeling.

Matt, Liz and Madeline is the blog that inspired this post. Before you click through, please be warned that you’re going to need tissues. Lots and lots of tissues.

Thank you to everyone who has voted once or more in the BlogLuxe awards! There’s still time to vote! You’ll find It’s my life… in the Blog I’ve Learned The Most From category where you can cast your vote once a day.

Writing really is the answer! That and the people in the computer.

standard October 1, 2008 2 responses

You know how people always say “Write it down, you’ll feel better.” We’ll it seems that they’re right. Maybe sitting down and putting what had been bothering me into words helped, maybe putting it out there for the world to read made it tangible and therefore fixable, or maybe the support of my Internet friends telling me I wasn’t alone comforted me. Whatever it was, I feel exponentially better today than I did yesterday.

I’m pretty sure at this point that I am not depressed, just as I said, extremely busy and overwhelmed. I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, and if things don’t settle down I have a couple ideas about how to take control of the situation. And no, it doesn’t involve hiding under the bed until everyone leaves.

For those of you who might be worried that I’m ignoring a potentially bad situation, I carefully pondered the questions that Mihaela left in the comments yesterday and decided I wasn’t at risk.

It’s OK to feel overwhelmed, but do you feel like that for weeks at a time?
Well yes, but it’s pretty recent, and there are, as mentioned yesterday, real reasons for being overwhelmed right now.

Have you lost interest in things you’re usually interested in?
Still want to write, read, watch TV, spend time with my family, and eat. Check.

Is your mind slowing down, are you finding it hard to focus, and not having thoughts/ideas – or having repetitive thoughts (brooding)?
Most definitely not. Lots and lots of ideas. Even an idea for a new novel!

Are you having thoughts that you don’t recognize as your own (such as thoughts about death and dying)?
I’m having more nightmares, but no other scary thoughts.

See? See? I’m going to be just fine. But you know, if you’re extra worried and you want to come clean my house for me you’re more than welcome. What? No? OK, fine. The place will stay messy, I’ll keep plugging away at my to-do lists, and soon, really, really soon, I think I’ll feel on top of everything again. And if I don’t? I’ll just write about it some more until I can see clearly again.

New The Lemonade Stand post up! Check out the love child of Sesame Street and K’NEX.