This morning when I opened the FB app on my phone I had two notifications. One was a 'like' someone had given on a photo I posted, the other one was to let me know it was my FB friend J.'s birthday. Only J. is no longer with us.
The weird thing was that I had actually thought about her when I woke up. I don't know why because besides being FB friends, we weren't really friends in real life (and I didn't know today was her birthday). We had met once a few years ago, when we were living in the same city and she was looking into daycare/babysitter options for her baby girl. We had some things in common as new mothers and expats - the need to have some 'me-time' again but the struggle of handing our baby over to a sitter when we didn't have a real need (ie work) for it, and the feeling of being a bit lost in a new environment/country/culture. My sitter did have an opening, but J. didn't take it. She moved back to the US with her baby and French husband a few months later.
Her FB friend request came this Spring, which I accepted because I had a nice memory of that one time we met. I didn't post anything on her timeline or send her a message, but I did scroll through her posts and I saw funny stories and happy photos. Until two months ago, when my newsfeed showed something that had been posted on her timeline by a friend. J. had taken her own life.
I went back into her posts and realized that social media can paint a completely different picture of someone than what's actually going on in their life. I felt bad for not writing something after accepting her friend request (not that I think it would have made a difference - but maybe it would have if all of her 254 FB friends had reached out somehow instead of thinking it wouldn't matter). And it breaks my heart when I think about her beautiful daughter, who turned 4 just three weeks after her mommy died.
Happy birthday J. - may your soul rest in peace.
#MicroblogMondays is another great idea from Mel at Stirrup Queens. Join in!