Widowed in a Facebook World

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Why do I plan to leave Facebook? Mainly for the fact that I have to answer that question for people in the first place. Facebook has become a way of life. After losing my husband, I have struggled with living that way of life. I don’t want to feel that at the end of my life I clocked so many hours behind a screen. My late husband used social media, and loved that silly snapchat. But he had balance. He wasn’t drawn to his phone and I am so thankful for that. When he was alive, I had accountability in that. An adult to plan life with, to say I’m here, I’m community, to connect with. I miss that. I have heard many stay at home moms talk about isolation, using social media as a connection to the outside world. It wasn’t until Fareed passed that I realized what a false sense of community it is. It’s a great tool to keep up with other moms and relatives, encourage each other, and have grown up talk. I started to realize that I knew all of my friends activities, milestones, and know how’s through Facebook and not our everyday conversation. We weren’t made for that. We were made for conversation, play dates, sharing recipes while cooking together, talking over coffee while our children destroy our homes. We were made to be present in our lives. Because of Facebook, I am only present with my children, in my home, watching others do the same thing.
Writing and posting is therapeutic for me. Google “grief and Facebook” you will find plenty of articles on how mourning looks very different in a digital age. Both better and worse. Where there once was a widow who felt isolated, she now feels like she has support of community, and lots of it because her friend list is bigger than her call log. I have blogged for a while now and am choosing this route instead. I can write, and get support without the added stresses of my feed.
I read a quote today “Facebook, where the deceased can never die.” It’s true. With pictures, his words, and memories at the tap of a screen- we share and remember. The thing is I remember every day and always will. I’m starting to see that grief has its timeframe. How do you accept someone’s passing when they are still alive in your “screen world.”
You see, saying those things may make me sound like a terrible wife. It’s quite opposite, I’m not trying to forget Fareed, I’m choosing to let his memory be eternal for me. I didn’t know him 7 years ago, so those photos don’t portray the love and life we had. He would have wanted me to be happy, that is the best wife I can be. No matter how many times I scroll his page, he isn’t coming back, no new memories will be created. It is the present memories that will be lost.
It was on the nine month mark of his passing that I posted nothing. All day I was aware it was the 25th, but I just chose not to post on Facebook. Some people made it seem like there is something wrong with that, that I must be over him. It’s quite the opposite. I’m learning that when it seems like I should have posted on Facebook, things are pretty twisted in the first place. If you know me, you know I am still devastated. If you know me, you know my character, and how much I loved Fareed. The problem is for the people who only know my Facebook.
See that is why I’m leaving Facebook, because it is a world of its own. A world I don’t want my children to be obsessed with like we are, myself included.
Facebook makes pressure for us to be the best. This year I have accepted that I am the best. I am a survivor, I am strong. I am the best me I can be. I am the best mom to my children. Will the perfect birthday validate that? No. More people love me when I show my weakness and my struggle through this crazy thing called Widowhood. That is freeing! There are select people who think they need an opinion. You post too much, you’re grieving to long, you’re not grieving long enough, you need more alone time… The list goes on. While the support is great, anyone who doesn’t support me doesn’t need a say. Facebook gives them just that.
I was one of my last friends to get a smart phone four short years ago. I remember sitting in a room with three close guy friends as they typed on their screens; I swore that would never be me. Here I am. While they have their benefits, they also have many negatives. The world at our fingertips. But again, the digital world. I didn’t have cable for 4 years before I met Fareed. I loved that season. I was busy, life was full. Facebook feels like it has become TV to me. Just a filler and distraction for the life waiting for me. I want to start living life with all five senses. Not just sight and touch. I want to play and not think “I should share this photo on Facebook.” I want to have my quiet hours before bed involve prayer, journaling, blogging- not my feed. I think I have balance right now. What bothers me is that I have to wonder what balance is in the first place. This isn’t the real world. I want people to call or email me because they remember me, not because my name showed up in their notifications. I want to live. I want to live honoring the moments Fareed was unfairly robbed of. That means in this world, not the digital world.
I have collected my story and memories inside of Facebook for 9-10 years, which includes the love story of Fareed and I. So I’m taking a couple weeks to save the memories. To unravel the digital life I have created. To write down my loved ones birthdays, who deserve a handwritten card. I am taking time to pull the few benefits that can from this life draining app.
When my first son was born, my husband called me out on how much I scrolled my news feed while I nursed. He wasn’t upset about Facebook or my time. He was upset how much I knew about other peoples lives that we weren’t a part of.
I want to start having conversations again. I want to remember birthdays because they are on my calendar and not my events page. I want people to text me and ask me how the boys are doing. I want to play without the back thought of Facebook photos. I want to live a life where my soul doesn’t have to be crushed changing my Facebook relationship to Widowed. I want life where there isn’t Facebook drama on top of my grief. I want to live.
In this beautiful, messy, breathtaking and crazy non backlit and unfiltered world.

The picture above seemed very fitting of a “real life” photo. It is a printed 4×6, taken on a camera (not a smart phone), of Williams first bath. Our house was a mess, we are both in pjs, my hair wasn’t done- BUT we were living. These are the memories I hold dear.

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