In between the cheers and the beers for NCAA Basketball Tournament and St. Patrick’s Day, Facebook was pretty grim over the weekend. There was mourning for two young ladies who died as passengers in a car driven by someone who was drunk and whose license was already revoked. A high school peer’s wife (whom I didn’t know) died suddenly. And there was the suicide of someone I’d met through a professional organization.
Facebook is an odd, unmanageable place for those of us who love technology but struggle with letting go of privacy. It’s like writing about personal issues for all the world to read. For me, my Facebook usage is more personal than Twitter or Google+. I have a lot of real friends and family connected on there. I’m more careful now about who I add. But when I joined this particular professional organization, I added several of the women I’d met who were fun and interesting. This woman was one of them. We shared a love of LOST, the TV show, and small dogs. Through her posts I could sense an internal struggle. I remember thinking at one point that she seemed to be stuck in that dark place. If you’ve been in it, you know what I mean. Some are blessed to get help or relief to once again find the balance and come out of it. Others just can’t, no matter how hard everyone around them might try.
Eventually she drifted away as casual connections do. It wasn’t until I saw a post from a mutual connection that I realized what had happened. With a couple of clicks I was witnessing the after effects of someone unable to fight their way back out of that darkness. I felt for the sibling left behind doing what was asked of him even as he was in the midst of experiencing his pain and trauma. Even though I genuinely feel sadness for someone I barely knew, I also feel a bit like an intruder after reading her last post and seeing what she selected as her profile pic. Facebook is a strange place we “live” in.
I don’t know what lessons can be pulled from this. We all tend to say we will stay in touch with people better, love harder, be a better friend, etc. after a tragedy happens. And we honestly mean it. But our busy lives always return to derail our best intentions.
Here’s help if you need it: Suicide and Crisis Hotline.