September 17, 2015

Dear Facebook - We Are Now Friends Again

Dear Facebook,

You were not my friend after Pat died.
I couldn't login.
When I did for the first time months after he died it took my breath away.
50+ friend requests from people I didn't even know.
Why the hell do you want to be my "friend"?
Because you want to support me?
I don't know you.

I hated you Facebook.
I felt violated, uncomfortable and strange.

A "friend" request because my husband died?
I'm done.

I didn't login for over a year.
When I tried again it was different.

The requests didn't bother me, rather the images.
Images of families, of dad's with their kids, couples on trips drinking margaritas, normal life I had had that was now gone.  It hurt. I couldn't look.

Months later I tried again.
Every time I logged into my account Patrick's name and image would be in my sidebar.
"Stay Red and Never Walk Alone" is the image.
He loved Liverpool Soccer.
He would wake up early every Saturday morning with the boys to watch it live.
English soccer. They would cheer and scream. Yell at the screen.
Trash talk our English and German friends after a win.
I can't see it.
It is too much to bear.

I'm done with you Facebook.
Delete my account.
Wipe away the memories so the pain is gone.
Pictures and posts I can't stand to look at.

The same day I deleted my account I memorialized Patrick's page.
Yes, Facebook. You made me call customer service and tell you he died.
His name.
The date he died.
How I am related and more.
The business of death is unbearable at times but it has to be done.
I understand but you hurt me.

I sobbed in bed.
I ate a full sleeve of Girl Scout cookies...I hadn't had much to eat in a year.
Thin mints, a computer and tears.
I will never forget.

I never want his page to disappear.
Pat was funny, positive and full of sarcasm when he posted.
I read his posts and comments now and belly laugh.
He mocked our children and loved them unconditionally.
He was so proud.
He praised me and loved me unconditionally.
He was so proud.
He supported his friends and loved them unconditionally.
He was so proud.
His wit and love for those he cherished is always on the screen.
You have captured his words and wit for us and I thank you for that.

Two years after his death and after our move to the East Coast I thought it was time.
Time to join life again.
Time to connect with those who love and support us.
Time to celebrate with those who are celebrating and support those who are suffering.
A new Facebook account.
I'm back.
Old friends. New friends. Friends of Patrick's.

I welcome you.
Yes we are okay.
The boys are growing.
We are happy again.

And now Facebook, you have become my voice.
You are my friend again.

With one simple post you gave me the chance to tell my story and help raise money to support the counseling center who saved us.

You have given people who are quietly suffering the loss of a loved one to suicide the courage and confidence to say "I hurt too. I loved him/her. Let's talk about this."

You have offered those who don't know what to do do something to support a friend and community of people who are hurting by creating awareness with a simple click.

You have given us a voice.

Thank you Facebook.

With love,

P.S. I have created a fundraising page to show my thanks and support the counseling center in Menasha, Wisconsin who saved the boys and I.  Help me honor Patrick, those you love who you lost to suicide, show support to survivors of suicide and raise awareness and acceptance of mental health issues and suicide by purchasing a "Be Brave" bracelet to support The Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley, Inc.

Click this link to buy your "Be Brave" bracelet and $10 will be donated to Samaritan Counseling Center.

Thank you to all who have shared my post, bought a bracelet and support the cause. I am grateful.