As we sat in the hospital after learning the reason for Brad’s passing, the immediate feeling was that there would be no mention of this on Facebook. We are private people. We do not want this put out there. But just as I have decided to write this blog, I also decided that day to make a Facebook post. I knew my idea would not get Sarah’s approval immediately. Of the two of us, she is more private. I had my reasons though and I knew it was the only option we had. I went to her bed side and I explained to her what I wanted to do. As suspected she was not on board at first. I told her that if we did not use the Facebook platform as a means of displaying the answer to so many people’s questions, we would end up having to explain the details of what happened to everyone. This was only being posted to save us from having to keep explaining and reliving the moment. Our phones were already seeing signs of what was to come. I would not be able to ignore the messages and phone calls. This post was a delivery method. It delivered the news that most knew, but many still had not. I knew there were going to be multiple people who would ask, “How is the new baby?” Hopefully this post would stop some of those. What kind of response would it get? My mind could not process that.
I had no idea what was to come. I put people in a tough position. How do you comment on a post like that? One of the things I hate the most about social media is the burdens it carries. You feel like you have to comment on some things for fear of what others may think of you. This post made me realize that so many people were saddened and heartbroken for us. It made me realize that even the toughest folks were taking this hard. I learned so much about people by their words. The simplest of phrases or the shortest set of words carry such an impact. One stands out to me and has since the very day it happened. A guy I went to high school with, who I had not spoken to in years, posted simple two word comment, two words that broke me down: “With You”. What exactly was his intent in the message? I do not know, but it felt like he bear hugged me right through the screen. I never told him of the impact he had, but I should have. I read every comment so many times. I started feeling comfort in it. For months I would go back to it and read the post and the comments all over. I could not understand why I was doing it. There was something therapeutic about it. It made me realize that I needed to talk more about it. It changed the way I saw people and how just the smallest comment could help so much. It restored some of my faith that there was still compassion inside of people.
I have since decided to stop using Facebook. There were good and bad things about it. Unfortunately, the bad largely out-weighed the good. I have been social media free for over six months now. I still keep an Instagram account so I can see pictures my wife post and promote the blog. I do not go any further than that. My life has less negativity in it now. Since removing myself from social media, I have had a lot of people ask me about it. Most of the ones that ask are asking because they too want to do it. They all feel the same way I did. They clearly see it as a source of negative energy, but can not let go of the few good things it gives them. I am not trying to push this on anyone. I am only telling you that it gave me peace. Technically this blog post is one big contradiction. Here I am telling you how I used social media to help me and my wife deliver news that we could not deliver ourselves. It was a huge tool for us. It made me see so much good in people through such a heartbreaking post. However, I am also telling you that it was the biggest source of negative energy in my life and I removed it. I guess it is ironic, but just know that you have the ability to make your situation better. In my situation, I have been searching for inner peace. If there is something in the way of that, it gets removed.