January 2, 2011

When Death Becomes Public

Words. They can be so beautiful. So powerful.  So heartbreaking.

Just when I think I’ve wrapped my head around the reach of social media, it surprises me yet again.

Around Thanksgiving an acquaintance of mine posted her very own goodbye on her wall on Facebook.  She’d been battling cancer for a couple of years and it became obvious that her war was almost over.  The responses from her family and friends were eloquent and touching. Each word written was the most beautiful word I’d ever seen.

As the year closed its door, this beautiful woman closed her eyes.  Neither will be experienced again. Both are now only memories.

Today I was browsing through statuses in my news feed and froze.  I blinked a few times, sure I wasn’t seeing what I thought. Yet, I truly was.  I slowly guided my mouse over to the name on the screen and clicked.

There on her wall was a goodbye note from her husband.  His message was simple and true. He stated it clearly. He chose beautiful words filled with heart and meaning. He loved her and he’s going to miss her. And in that short, well thought-out post, we all get to experience the depth of his love and the magnitude of his loss.

It is like a eulogy that never ends because I can go look at it whenever I feel I need to.  And if the messages of goodbye and the posts of support for her husband mean that much to me, I can imagine what comfort they are to those who truly love them. 

It is so heart wrenching and so magnificent all at the same time.

Words. Can tear you down. Can hurt. Can destroy.

But they can also empower us to say goodbye.  They can communicate the volume of love we hold inside. They can heal.

R.I.P Monica.  You were truly, truly loved.

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