My journey of how the Book of Face can be the source of all good as well as the source of all evil after D day…it is my Facebook through the ages of widowness
Phase 1: The Social Media Shield
When Colin died my phone went into overdrive. Good friends with good sentiments. But I couldn’t cope with speaking to people. So I put so many at arms length by communicating how things were through Facebook. It was easier to post a few photos of the wonderful man he was and say I know we all miss him and thank you all for supporting me than it was to actually have conversations with people. Conversations with people made it real. I didn’t want his death to be real. Facebook in a sense is not real. Hence it was easier to communicate through the realm of social media than to speak.
Phase 2: The Proof We Still Exist
A few months in and Facebook became a way to tell people, through pictures of me and the girls, that all was ok, a place where I could say “we are still here – I know I haven’t phoned you but I just don’t phone people but here we are on Facie still existing and finding our feet. Oh and here’s another pic of the girls and they look pretty cute and normal…daddyless but cute and normalish all the same.”
Phase 3: The Black Widow
And then a new era dawned. I had empty evenings ahead of me. What else was there to do but peruse social media and see how the other half lived, those who had not lost the love of thier life. To scroll through my feed and see what normal life looked like became an addiction. It was a way of rubbing salt into my wounds, make myself cry for what I once had and wish it all back. I would see others’ lives and it would make me want to scream. The posts about husbands who had been thoughtless or romantic or husbands who were indeed breathing- they just got my goat. Oh and then I would see a poor me post. Those ones about coping without a husband for a day here or there or having to get through X many sleeps without him (try forever). Now I am more benevelent in my bereavement than I once was. But The Black Widow phase still rears its ugly head sometimes on days like Mother’s Day where you get more than your average thoughtful husband moments across social media – look breakfast in bed or a check-in at a suave restaurant. Days like that I should ban myself from Facebook because it makes me want to…well the bad side of me wants to do rude signs to people virtually. And why should I be so mean in my sadness? The world didn’t fall apart when Colin died. It was just my world that crumbled and I can’t be the joy police to the rest of the world and tell everyone I know online and off to stop being happy and stop celebrating happy moments in time. That’s not fair on anyone.
Oh there is the other bad, bad, bad thing I would do in the real depths of this Black Widow phase. I also used those long evenings to look back through all my old Facebook albums and posts to see a record of what my life had been like with Col. Scrolling through, it was all there, our life when I didn’t realise how precarious it all was. Silly posts complaining about him and his snoring, posts of our fun times at weddings, on holidays, posts full of hope and a future. All my posts and pics of what it was like as part of life as Nic And Col. Poor, poor me. Wail, wail.
Phase 4: Almost Normal But with a Large Dose of Parent Replacement Therapy
I used to send Col pics everyday to his work email and his iPhone. Pictures of Evie eating, playing, having strops…then, for a few short weeks, pics of Isla sleeping, sleeping and sleeping some more. He would respond with one liners about how gorgeous they were or make a comment on their beastly cuteness. He missed being part of our everyday so much so he would enjoy those little glimpses of their little lives. Since he disappeared completely I had no vent for my ‘moments’. So I started using Facebook to get some way of the same verification of our children’s amazingness from friends close and far. I didn’t have their daddy to indulge me but a few likes and some comments of Facebook go one tiny part of the way to fill the gap. I am sure it’s had some bored to tears but much of the time I get a wee buzz when I get likes or comments about our beautiful babies so unfortunately for many Phase 4 is a long one, perhaps an ongoing one.
It is true, I am completely awful for having those terrible Black Widow thoughts when I have them (much more rarely these days) because I have wonderful friends and my jealous side is not their problem…it is most definitely mine. In ‘that’ mood I need to walk away from the Book of Face and remember it is just as well that there are so many out there who have no idea how awful it is to lose your love, your husband, your future, your children’s father. I have to remember Facebook has ‘those days’ for pretty much everyone sometimes. Friends who can’t have kids for example probably hate Facebook for all those cutie pics of offspring I pop on. Single friends most likely want to scream at happy wedding pics on anniversaries or wedding days, just like I do sometimes, and then they get over it. Those who have lost a child…well I can’t imagine so I won’t. And, well, I am as guilty as the rest of them on my smug check-in posts. Anyway the gist is that Facebook has been both a friend and foe since Col died. And will continue to be no doubt. People pretend to hate it and some people do hate it. For me it has been a crutch as well as a hindrance. Now it is much more an OK place to keep in touch. Oh and on that note, I hope everyone ‘Liked’ the video of Evie successfully riding her bike for the first time because once again that was a moment I couldn’t send to Col at work for him to proudly show his workmates. Poor old Black Widow me.