So I do a lot of thinking about grief lately. It's true -- it's reflected in my social calendar. Grief is complicated and I don't think we, as a species, do a good job with those who are grieving. A friend, who checks on me regularly, said during a recent exchange, "Humans can indeed (sadly) be the most horrible of species especially when it comes to the very thing that [they] claim to be the strongest in... they simply fail in giving genuine love." That was powerful. I don't think any of us don't want to give love during a time of grief. I think we fail because many of us simply don't know how to do it. Grief makes us uncomfortable, so we shy away from it. It's awkward, so we avoid it. But by doing that, we fail to learn how to fully be human.
Being human requires that we make a connection, a direct connection with someone else -- otherwise the power of what we want to share falls flat. We are emotional and social creatures (despite how much I hate to admit that.) While the power of the written word has it's place, we long for that direct connection. Social Media has made us socially stupid. It allows us to abdicate being human when it feels uncomfortable. We post a quick "thoughts and prayers" for whatever the tragedy of the moment is and we feel like we've "done our job." Moreover, others can see we've done our job and that we're a good person.
The next time you feel the urge to "post and run," pick up the phone instead. Whether it's to your grieving friend, the friend who is going through a divorce, the friend who just lost her job, or a friend who's been dealing with illness, a direct connection to them will be so much more powerful.
I post a lot about my grief. It's how I process it and work through it. The intense emotions I feel one day may subside the next. The broken parts I cobble together one day may not be cobbled together to look the same the next. I'm just trying to keep my promise to my late husband and live again. Never assume any single post defines me completely. That's just how my grief works and I try to be as open, authentic, and vulnerable as I can with it. But posting isn't what brings me comfort. Comfort certainly didn't come from the church. Comfort didn't come from the gay community. Comfort didn't come from Facebook. Instead, comfort came and still comes from the constant love of both sides of my family. Comfort came and still comes from the neighbors I barely knew yet who showed up on my doorstep with their phone number and a hug. Comfort came from my late husband's physician group who surrounded my little family with love, food, and support. Comfort came and still comes from the old friend who checks on me regularly without fail. Comfort comes from the friends who keep inviting me over despite the fact that I may weep at any moment. Comfort has been by connection. No one has shown up with answers or solutions. They've just shown up. Is there someone you should be connecting with today? Be a human.