Social Media Makes Strange Friendfellows

Written By: Kim - May• 01•13

About four months ago, I received a call from a woman that I did not know while I was making dinner. She was looking for someone with the same name who lived in my area. I kept sifting my memory as she was telling me her story, catching up. I wondered if early senility was setting in. I could not remember who this woman was. Donna. School, past jobs, where did I know her from? When she said something about working for a four star general at the Pentagon, that’s when I knew I did not know her. I’ve never worked for either.

© Mihaylova 2013 courtesy of stock.xchng

© Mihaylova 2013 courtesy of stock.xchng

When I politely stopped her with, “I think you have the wrong person,” she was completely flustered. She apologized profusely. I told her that I wish I were the woman she was looking for because she was trying to make amends and repair a broken relationship. I was touched by her honestly and her story. I wished her luck and we hung up. A few minutes later, Donna called me again. She asked if we could become friends on Facebook. I said yes.

I have a few friends whom I only know through social media or whom I became friends with on social media first. I know that it seems odd, cultivating a friendship with someone you have never met. But, we did as children. Remember pen pals?

Growing up a military brat forced me to make new friends every school year. This didn’t necessarily mean that I was the new one in school. But it meant that I had to be more open to strangers. I had to find a way to fit in when I was the new kid. Or, I felt compelled to help the new kid fit in. Being the new kid in school often sucks. It just does and there’s no way to get around it but to go thru it.

That said, I don’t accept friend requests from just anyone. But, I have found great joy in all my friends, no matter the source.

How Facebook Helps Us Process Grief

Written By: Kim - Apr• 13•13

It’s been a sad week in my Facebook world. Last Sunday evening, a high school friend passed away after a short, three-month battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). In for foot surgery one Facebook post, diagnosed with ALL, then dead in less than about three months. Not only has it been a roller coaster for her family and close friends, those of us waiting for news were praying for it to be good. I had never even heard of this aggressive form of cancer until now. Her death impacted me despite the fact that I was not a close friend. She was a mom, a wife and a US Air Force Airman. That tender spot I have for military folks never really goes away.

©Mike Howard, 2011

©Mike Howard, 2011

Then, later in the week, another friend flew across country to be with her dying mother. The only good news out of this story is that all of her siblings and grandchildren were there when her mom passed away. We should all be so lucky.

The final sad event was when another friend’s dog passed away. This is the dog that my friend had since before she had children of her own. Honestly, after that post and the other events of the week (including a friend’s scare when they could not locate his wife’s EMT crew after an emergency call), I was afraid to look at Facebook. I just didn’t think I could process any more sad news in the space of a week.

If I were a country song writer, I would have the next hit on my hands.

Before online capabilities and then social media sites, we had to learn the news the old fashioned way: letters or phone calls. Now, you go to your Facebook page and you never know what you will find.

So, like everyone connected to these friends, I am processing the information, sharing their grief and trying to be of some comfort. I can only hope that the outpouring of love from friends help ease their burden of grief just a little.

Hug your loved ones and family a little tighter. None of us never know how long we truly have. Here’s to seeing our loved ones, including our pets, on the other side.