Connecting…

Posted by Jen on February 7, 2009 in Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of..., Online and Lovin' It! |

I’ve had a fairly heady day today in the world of social networking. I’m away from my family for a night and my time is my own. So, I decided to use the time to connect. My Twitter was a-tweetin’ and my Facebook was a-bookin’.

I added some really good friends from way back and invited others. I began following some really interesting folks. I was on a roll and feeling connected.

I found the blog of a woman who has experienced a loss I can’t even begin to imagine – even though I’ve felt that kind of loss. Reading her words made me want to squeeze the breath right out of my kids. I’m not sure that I’ve ever missed my baby that fiercely.

I met a new Twitter friend – a real connection rather than just a follow/follower. I learned from her. It was a simple exchange that showed me how important it is to be human online … about the importance of reaching out with a simple thank you. I was stunned about the acceptance I felt with her simple, human action.

I found three friends from ages ago and was so glad to get the chance to possibly get to reconnect with these folks who were once so much a part of my everyday.

It was a rush of successful connecting in the still, quiet of a winter night. Smugness set in. It was a good night!

As I typed name-after-name and clicked profile-after-profile looking for connections, it never dawned on me that I would run into a snag. I was on a roll after all!

Well, turns out, I did find all of the friends I was looking for tonight. Most of my discoveries were happy and full of “Oh my gosh, it’s been so long!” But … not all of them ended on this note.

I’ve told you about the connections I made that made me smile … that made pray for a family I don’t know as I desperately missed hugging my children … that taught me something.

Now, I need to tell you about a connection that made me stop everything, gasp, and think. This is the connection that ultimately triggered this post.

Ages ago, when I was a senior in high school, I had a funny, smart, outgoing, beautiful, confident friend. She was younger than I but we got along so well that the age difference matter. We had some great times, inside jokes, and good laughs. I still have some of the letters we wrote.

We were two silly girls going to high school in a rural town.

She went on to do some impressive things. She had 2 Master’s degrees and was almost done with her PhD. She could name-drop (legitimately) … Yale, University Schools, Committee on This, Board of That, Political Advocate. She was published and she was brilliant. She was doing important work.

And she took her own life. She was 32.

I re-connected with her tonight – almost 5 years after her death – through her obituary.

The obituary said she was

A brilliant and charismatic presence in and out of the classroom, [she] gave of herself to her family, her friends, her students, her teachers, and her colleagues–all of whom deeply mourn her loss.

I remember the girl described in that statement – she was my friend. I would  have loved to see her teach. I would have loved to talk to her about her work. I would have loved to have re-connected with her – in any other way than this.

There are so many questions that will never have answers. I’m sure her family agonizes over these every day – I can’t imagine and I’ll pray for them.

What could life have been like to turn that smile off? To make the laughter quiet and the dancing stop? What could make going on so overwhelming that trying was no longer worth the effort?

I don’t understand and I’m angry … and I’m desperately sad that this beautiful woman is no longer here for us all to connect with.

I'll be hoppin' along now ...

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