Happy stories, sad stories
Happy or funny stories compel people to “Like” and “Share” them. Inspirational, uplifting and amusing stories sometimes go viral. That’s the incredible thing about the internet. It can inform, inspire, entertain, and connect us.
But, it is counterintuitive to “Like” mournful stories much less “Share” them. Isolating further the one who is sharing from the most desolate and lonely place.
The following quote is from Why I Want You To Like That My Baby Died: Supporting Grief Through Social Media by Devany LeDrew, which I found here.
“When I post about my grief, your like is a silent nod of acknowledgement. I understand that you may have no words. While a heartfelt sentiment is best (even a ❤ or typing my daughter’s name is comforting), I know that you may be pressed for time or struggling with what to say. Clicking like makes me feel less alone.
“If I say I miss my daughter, you can like that. I give you permission. I know that you don’t “like” my grief. Instead, you are letting me know that you remember her instead of just scrolling by.”
Stories of death, especially the death of a child, are dark, taboo even. And have been, since…well, always. It is the scariest notion any parent can fathom. My child died and I am still afraid of this unfathomable idea. Afraid it could happen again. But being afraid doesn’t help, or keep us safe, does it?
Sharing the deepest sorrows with others humanizes us all. It keeps us alive. Slows us down. Reminds us of the need for compassion. Helps us imagine another’s experience, which then helps us to understand our own experience. We’ll all suffer loss and grief. Being afraid to participate in stories of loss and grief doesn’t spare us, but keeps us from knowing the deepest things.
In her poem, Kindness, Naomi Shihab Nye tells us: “Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. You must wake up with sorrow. You must speak to it till your voice catches the thread of all sorrows and you see the size of the cloth.”
To speak to it till… Yes, this is why I write about sorrow.
Think of the “Like” button as a “Support” button
See the “Like” button as a “Support” button. Think of that thumbs-up as a way of saying: “I’m here. I hear you” or “Wow” or “I am with you” or “I can’t imagine” or “Welcome back to the living” or “I am so sorry” or “This is an important story, thank you for writing it.”
A parent grieves to death after their child dies. And grief is an unsocial animal that takes one down and away from humankind. And part of the painstaking process of returning to life and accepting death is being accepted by “friends” and communities again. Part of the process of returning to the human race is through the connecting and sharing of words.
It’s OK to “Like” another’s story of loss or grief. Really. It’s more than OK! It’s helping another to see the size of the cloth they are a part of. It’s the other deepest thing. Kindness.