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Facebook brings people together during life’s milestones

by guest blogger, Jackie Eldridge

The last thing I want to sound like is an advertisement for Facebook. (That’s my caveat for this post.)

I know I’ve said many times that Facebook and Google are taking over the world. Maybe I should say they’re changing the world instead. Despite all the push-back each giant receives regarding privacy, I believe the ability to share our lives to many usurps the threat of privacy. (Hmmm. There used to be  a mega giant called the yellow pages who had all of our private information and published it in a book!! Then they distributed to everyone!! Hope this puts Facebook in perspective.)

My cousin Patrick and his partner Tabatha had their first child last week. Facebook kept me in the loop to the point that I almost felt like I was in Ohio with them. I read updates, enjoyed videos and chatted with family. Pretty amazing that technology can bring people together during a major life event. The photos and videos meant everything to me.

Then there’s my friend Lindsay. Her father has had stage IV cancer for a year now. I read her posts, and those of her siblings, as her dad transitioned from hospital to hospice. Reading the posts not only kept me connected, but I couldn’t help but feel that Facebook was serving a much larger purpose for Lindsay and her three siblings. They were posting their feelings, talking to God, praying, reminiscing, sharing photos—truly commemorating their lives with their father. This morning, when their dad passed, I read their posts and felt connected to them, and most of all, they were connected to each other. I cried for them. Today, on his death, I know his life was full—as full as a parent’s could be—because he, too, got to witness how his kids and grandkids expressed their feelings and love for him, with some thanks to Facebook. When a loved one is passing,  we often break that stubborn dam of intimacy and flood them with last words and pent-up emotions. While I have no doubt that Linds and family did their share of “flooding” with their dad, I know that being able to emote on Facebook for the past three weeks has been a great release for them. And it’s made them a closer family.

Despite the privacy issues (that we need to constantly monitor) Facebook’s ability to bring people together during life’s milestones is a gift.

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