About death (of a child) and friendships (across the web)

How do you survive the death of a child?

(No worries, all is well here.)

I was sitting at my laptop last night fooling around with WhatsApp on my desktop (because my phone is still showing symptoms of not having dried out completely after I dropped it in water) when a message showed up from Australia.

A blogging friend I’ve gotten to know quite well over the summer months via that chat app texted me she had some difficult news to share. Her just recently turned 19 year old son died in a tragic accident.

My heart broke into a million pieces, and that doesn’t even begin to describe how she must be feeling. 💔

omg

It’s not my story to share, so I will stop here, and share one of my own stories.

My maternal grandmother lost a child to an illness.

My mom is the oldest of four girls and it was the third one, Regina, who succumbed to complications from Polio and Leukemia.  She was 7 years old, which incidentally was the same age I was when I developed Meningitis and ended up in the hospital, in a coma, for several weeks. (This is the reason I struggle with hearing – I have deteriorating hearing loss due to illness.)

So, my mom, who was in her early teens at the time, lost a sister. The youngest sister, who was close in age to Regina, likely suffered the most emotional distress because she was only around 4 or 5 at the time. Her mom morphed into a completely different person than she was used to after Regina died.

Things were different back then. Today we are much more in tune with what is needed, how to support, what to do, what not to do…

I learned later that the way my grandfather dealt with his daughter’s death was by being more absent. He withdrew and this likely impacted my grandmother more severely than she ever admitted to. At a time when family should have pulled together and dealt with this horrific loss as a supportive unit, each went about their own thing to try to dull the pain.

Does the pain really dull? I have my doubts, frankly.

All I know is that no one was ever the same again after Regina passed on. By the time I came along and was old enough to understand some of the stories both my mom, her remaining sisters, and my grandmother told us, I got a more intrinsic understanding of what must have gone on during that time.

My heart is very heavy today. 😪

This is not the first time I have learned of a death from a blog-friend. There was an elderly lady from Down Under who began to blog at age 80, chronicling her love for her boyfriend (who was her junior by some significant years), whose blog I followed. She eventually reached out to me a few times via email and we started a more personal conversation that way. I really enjoyed getting to know her (and by default her boyfriend).

One day, I received a text from another blogger who also knew them: the elderly lady had died and the boyfriend was absolutely devastated. Apparently they were on a trip and she fell and hit her head, ended up in the hospital, had a stroke, and passed away.

I went looking for her blog to see if I could reach out to her beloved, but he had taken it down.

It’s all so very surreal.

It enlightens me just how deeply invested one can become when making friends over the internet.

There are many of you I count as close friends. We talk outside of the blog, we share personal tales about family and life experiences, we enjoy each other’s company through some of the many apps that are available, and I have to say, I take it seriously.

I take you seriously. 💗

I know not everyone is as avidly devoted at keeping the two-way street alive as I am. Maybe I’m crazy, but I love the blogging, the engagement, getting to know people this way. At the same time, I realize the ‘real’ connections one makes when meeting in person is more authentic, what with all the nuances one misses out on over the internet – body language, facial expressions, touch, scent – but to me, these internet connections still mean something.

You mean something to me. ❤

Do you hear me?

Don’t let anyone tell you that the internet is a bad thing, that real relationships can’t be formed over an electronic device.

The blog relationships are real enough (to me) and anyone who dismisses them as fake or superficial, especially during covid time, is missing out on something special that could be, that is, for some of us.

Yes, all friendships requires nurturing.

I’m doing my part.

Are you doing yours?

Death comes so suddenly. We all deal with it at one time or another. Let’s not forget, shall we, that life is precious (and short).

🍁 This weekend marks Canadian 🇨🇦 Thanksgiving. 🦃 🌻

Also, a whole bunch of birthdays are going to be celebrated. It’s time, I think, to give thanks for all the things we still have despite this raging covid pandemic.

Thank you for your friendship, and for reading this blog.

As always, see you in the comments.

 

 

31 thoughts on “About death (of a child) and friendships (across the web)

  1. There is no silver lining, but if a remote loss resonates, and with that, you reach out with appreciation and gratitude, there is hope for us all. The internet gives us new channels of communication–not better, not worse, just different. Some of us are really 19th Century corresponeders and writers, trapped in a 21st Century world. We’re still real. We still connect.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Like you, I feel the same about online friendships, especially when someone like you has a deeply personal blog. My blog slightly delves into “me” but for the most part it showcases my art. What I also love about this community unlike say, Facebook no one that I follow here is as fixated on politics as my offline/FB friends are.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My condolences to your friend. I lost a child last year and I can assure the grief never truly goes away. You simply learn to live without them but every single day, they cross your mind and you miss them like crazy. Sending so much love to her! The words of encouragement I have received from the blogging community has saved me in so many ways. Blog friendships will always hold a special place in my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I sometimes talk about blog friends as if I know them in real life and don’t always explain that a conversation was through the written word. Just as when I listen to an audiobook, I say I’ve read the book. The form communication and friendship take isn’t what’s important.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, really. Everything I say to you online is genuine. Kind of like when you were looking for escape time from the puppy & kids, and I said if I was in Canada my door would be open. Everyone should have a friend like that. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I mean in general. But right now, no. I’m not sure how strict it is though, a lot of American license plates on cars up here in Toronto…I see almost all eastern States, and some Midwest. Lots of Florida for some reason… Americans are getting in somehow. I’m not sure how it works the other way though. No offense, I have no desire at the moment to head south, not this year anyway. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I can answer your opening question: You do not. My first child (previous marriage) died before leaving the hospital after birth. That was in 1980. There is always some pain in the bottom of your heart. I was lucky to be blessed with two healthy children after that, which goes a long way to removing some of that sting, but not the little hole reserved for that moment.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Wonderful post. Although I’ve become increasingly distant from the internet maelstrom over the last few years, I completely agree – the friends we make online are every bit as real as those we make in the “real world”.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. After having two former girlfriends die from cancer at tragically young ages (39 and 45), and losing another close female friend to liver damage at 41, I’ve dealt with more than my fair share of death when it comes to people I once (and still) cared about. It’s especially difficult to know how to acknowledge your very complicated feelings in these matters, and I’m sure you are experiencing much of the same in regard to your blogging friend. My condolences.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I could not imagine her loss and I all I can hope is that she has the support she needs and is able to find a way to live with this tragedy. I’m relatively new to blogging but I hope to engage with more people. This was a lovely supportive post to read (despite the melancholy surrounding the subject) and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Holly, thank you very much. You’re doing the right thing! Commenting (and reading others) will get you more involved in the blog world, and if you’re like me (I think you are) you count engagement as more important than statistics. Keep writing! I see you and read you as often as I can. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  9. How awful. I can’t even imagine her heartbreak…
    And yes, I agree. Blog friendships can be just as real as any other. Heck, there were times I’d pour my heart out to virtual friends before my real life ones. It’s all about connection.
    ❣️

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sorry to hear about your friend’s son. That is heartbreaking. I’m so grateful for the friends I’ve made through blogging. Some of them have been a real support when I’ve needed it without even knowing it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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