On my parenting board this weekend, we found out one of the longtime members had died. It’s hit the board overall very hard. She was a much-loved member, and it was unexpected.
I didn’t interact with this particular person all that much. It’s not that I disliked her, but that we had different areas of interest, and because it’s such a large and active group, our paths seldom crossed. So I’m sad for her and her family, and I’m heartbroken for those who’ve lost a friend, but I’m staying quiet there to respect their mourning.
It got me thinking to other internet boards, and the losses I’ve seen there. On the anencephaly support board, of course, we saw death all the time. We united because of death, and death kept us there until it became familiar like a shadow. It wasn’t a good thing, but we made it into something good.
But in those cases, we weren’t notified of member deaths, if there were any. (There’s one woman I always wondered if she took her own life after her baby died, but I’ll never be able to find out.) In over ten years online, I can only thing of three times when the member of a board has died.
OmniCindy from EtiquetteHell died shortly after Hurricane Katrina. She was kind-hearted and generous, and I always got a giggle from how she referred to her husband as “Mr. Cindy.” That was why I began referring to my Patient Husband as Mr. Tabris, but that wasn’t nearly as funny. Others did the same, using their own screen name for their spouse.
I belonged to a due-date group when pregnant with Kiddo#3, and we organized a “baby shower in a box” for one another. Adele was the woman who sent me a box: some Burt’s Bees products and a cute pair of yellow socks. Adele died during childbirth of an amniotic fluid embolism. Her death hit me harder. I went that morning to my prenatal appointment and sat numb as the midwife came in. I told her what happened, and she looked drawn, sad too at the thought of a motherless baby. Sometimes I think of that child, within days of Kiddo#3’s age, growing up motherless.
We touch people online and don’t realize how many, how often. We cast our nets wide and we learn about one another, share bits of one another. It’s good. I’m not disputing that. Even in death, the community tightens up behind you and they cling together, and it’s good they have each other.
A while ago I got a panicked thought that if I died, you guys wouldn’t know, so I gave my Patient Husband access to post here. Not that I anticipate it, but at least you’d be notified.
In the meantime, I’m thankful for one another, for the online friendships we’ve forged, for the prayers and support we give one another. Please say a prayer for Shelly and her devastated family, and thank you for being here.