Last week I noted that a distant friend on Facebook was posting some alarming posts.
It was easy to see from Facebook alone that she’d been having a rough time. One day she was determined to begin fresh and new, the next day she was back down trying to make sense of the wrongs in life.
She’d been dealt a shitty hand. I met her thirty some years ago when she was only 15. She’d been thrown out of her house, (I never learned why), was a foster kid for awhile and eventually found an apartment. She held a job, paid the rent and went to High School. All on her own.
After graduation she moved out of town and then we moved out of town and before ya know it, three decades had passed. She’d become a nurse, had children, a few divorces and a number of other things to report when we reconnected on Facebook a couple years back. It was a sweet reconnection for me, as she still exuded a wonderful bright light like she did back when we first met. The bubbly sort that makes you feel good.
There was always something about her. Her smile put sunbeams to shame. In spite of all her obstacles, her smile was warm, her embrace – genuine. And no matter what, she held to a tenacious hope that things would get better if she just kept going on with God.
But there were obstacles. She worked in strip club for awhile. Her children are from different fathers. Money was always tighter than tight. And by the time we got caught up on Facebook, I learned she was living in what she called, “a shit hole of a trailer.” But she was still shining, still smiling, still praying, at least verbally. We made a promise through Facebook messages to get together at some point, but we left it open ended.
Her posts of the last few months had been a rollercoaster of emotion. Last year she’d experienced a betrayal from her latest man. And she wasn’t shy about how devastated she was. She was uncomfortably transparent with her emotions on her timeline.
Cringeworthy. That’s what it was.
But then she’d rally. For awhile, she’d post unicorn and rainbow pictures with inspirational sayings, claiming, “I’m ready to be happy again.” Then after a few weeks of that, the bottom would fall out and she was back to sounding despondent.
Then last week I saw a long and rambling post of apology to her children. “I wasn’t a good mother,” she wrote. “I didn’t know how to be.” My heart sank. I immediately sent her a Facebook message of concern. I waited and watched for the rest of the evening. She didn’t respond.
As the evening wore on I notice that I was not the only one troubled by the post. “I’m worried about you. Are you okay?” one friend commented in response. “I just sent you a private message. Please respond,” posted another. There were lots of sad faces and hearts on her post, too.
I kept watching for a response to my private message. The next day I saw the “read” checkmark. “Whew” I thought. “At least she’s read it.” I knew she worked long shifts, so I thought maybe she planned to answer later when she had more time.
The following morning I checked in hoping she’d responded. I noticed something she’d posted on her timeline at 4am: “My journey ends here.” And then another a few hours later that was simply the letter, “Y”.
My gut screamed alarm bells. I checked for a response to my private message. Nothing. I Googled the town she lived in to see if there were any police reports. Nothing. I wrote another message, “Are you okay?!”
I tried to unearth a phone number. Struck out. Found her address and considered driving the five hours down there. But family and friends far closer than I (in miles and relationship) appeared to be reaching out on Facebook with posts of concern, so I waited, hoping to at least see the “read” notice to my latest message. I went to bed that evening convincing myself that she would be fine, that there were plenty of hands on deck.
The next morning I logged into Facebook to see the worst. RIP posts filled her timeline. “We’ll miss you,” “I cannot believe you’re gone,” “Find peace now, angel.” The outpouring took my breath away. So much overwhelming shock and sadness. Everyone was in disbelief.
In looking back at her timeline now, her posts are like a ping pong ball. All over the place between hope, despair, anger and resilience. What a horrible waste of such a beautiful person.