Dear Mark Zuckerberg,
I’ve been thinking about you a lot. And I want to thank you for so many things.
In 2008, I was a first time Mom. The loneliness and difficulty was overwhelming. My husband told me about Facebook. “You’ll really like it! Go on it. Find your friends. It’ll help.” And it really did. The world got bigger than just the living room filled with teething toys and burp rags. Thanks Mark.
In 2010, my mom died. My friends from the four decades of my life who remembered her kindness sent so many messages of love. My wall was busy. Thanks Mark.
Three months later, my son Noah died suddenly in a swimming pool accident. I don’t remember the status my husband posted that night we got home from the hospital. I don’t really ever want to see it again either. How else do you spread such an awful piece of news with the least amount of pain? I imagine the disbelief and shock in seeing that status in our friends’ scrolls was huge. No more silly stories posted. Like the time Noah yelled “Look! Clock!” in the middle of town at the big clock on the side of the Children’s Place store. Only problem was Noah couldn’t pronounce the letter “L”. There would be no more silly stories for a long time. Just short messages until the humor and light slowly started to creep back in. Thank you, Mark, for helping me communicate from the darkest place.
Over the next two years, we found ourselves in the difficult world of fertility. I found so much support in the Facebook world and felt much less alone. Over the next two years we also battled grief and depression. Again, Facebook made it less possible that I would just disappear. Facebook friends were now looking for me when I couldn’t leave my bed. We moved to a new apartment two towns over. I had started a job in a wine store one month after I became a mother without a child. My husband, Hal, went back to work. He was struggling. I threw myself into my job. Hal was barely holding on. I guess I went on autopilot. It must’ve seemed like I was doing great. I pushed outward. Hal pulled inward. And when we met in the middle at home together, we were still that couple on our wedding day. Just very, very lost and sad. But as silly as it sounds, Mark, Facebook was the only way we still felt connected to the world. And as we watched our news feed scroll by filled with pictures of vacations and children getting older and birthdays and pets and new cars and silly stories and good news and bad news and news in between we felt still felt alive. In limbo maybe. But alive. Thank you Mark.
Then our status was filled with big news. Amazing news. We had a baby. A girl. Miriam Phoenix was born four years ago today actually. Thanks Mark for helping us with the baby announcements. No stamps required.
Then I decided I had lots more to say than simply funny status updates everyday. Usually a few times a day. I started my blog and linked it to Facebook. I started a professional page on Facebook and started to connect with people from around the world. People who thought I was funny. People who had also lost children and needed support. People who needed to know that they could keep going. After all, I found a way. And I needed them too. Because the road is not easy. And I need to look backwards sometimes to keep moving forward. Thanks Mark. Because of you, I was published for the very first time and hopefully will continue making my childhood dream of being a writer come true over and over again.
Thanks Mark. Do people say that to you often? I hope so. To have changed how the world communicates is pretty incredible. I’m just one little story here sending out ripples as far as Facebook will take them. Thanks Mark.
Your Facebook Friend.