Life is not easy. Especially when you are in a family of invisible illnesses and disabilities. It can be serious, funny and downright hard! But we make it. Just like everyone else. We just do it in a different style.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Online Loss

This week I realized how deep the relationships I have formed online can go.

On Twitter this week, I read about one follower who had surgery. In another tweet, one mother wrote in that a fellow "TwitterMom" lost her little baby girl. In my company, I received a thank-you card from a grieving family, whose daughter died suddenly in a motorcycle accident. And, then finally, I received news from one of my social communities that a woman I had welcomed into the group had passed away yesterday.

That was the straw that broke it for me.

I know I belong to a invisible disabilities community. I know that many of the members struggle with diseases and disorders, some treatable, some incurable. Some deadly. But what caught me completely off guard was the realization that I have never laid eyes on any of these people.

Every one of them were connections I made through the technology of our present age. Through screens and text. Through digitized pictures and personal online journals. Through little 140 character messages sent from one geographical dot on the globe to another.

This won't be a long post today. My heart is so full of emotions. I wish I could be there to wrap my arms around family members. I wish I could stand by as they lowered little caskets and tossed flower petals. I want to come by the next day or the next week with a casserole and leave it wordlessly in the fridge. I want to do someone's laundry; weed someone's garden. Something to show I care and am nearby.

But, I can't.

I can only text back my condolences.I can send a card. I can leave memorial pictures like the one above on personal profile pages. It may not be what I want to do, but it is something. When words are not enough, any action can convey love and compassion.

That's all I have for today.

Oh,no. I do have one more thing to say.

If one more expert and guru tells you that Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and even MySpace are a waste of anyone's time, just tell them about all the mothers supporting a mom who lost her baby. Talk about the family that received cards from complete strangers as they buried their daughter, surrounded by her teenage children. Tell them about this blog; send them to this post.

I just have one thing to say to them. If it connects people, it matters.