Yesterday NBC Washington published a news article about a woman, Kate George, who has an Instagram account she terms “griefstagram”. Where she posts openly and honestly about her grief. The article included an interview with my ultimate suicide widow crush Michelle Miller and was very well written. If you are not going to take the time to read it here, basically it tells the world about how some of us are bucking the butterfly and sunset posts about grief and getting real about what grief really is.
And cue the haters!
NBC Washington deserves a ton of credit for publishing this. The comments that the article received, nearly instantly, should not surprise me. And I know they don’t surprise or even hurt my seasoned widow blogging community. However, I’m relatively new to this game,and I’m not in the best of moods these days, so I’m going to rant about these comments. And you’re going to listen. Or you can keep scrolling for cute puppies and carry on with your perfect little life.
I made the commitment to start my own blog when I ran into a colleague one day and when she asked me the classic “how are you?” And I gave her a less than positive reply – I forgot for that split second that most people actually don’t want you to answer that in an honest way, duh!! – she responded with “but your life is great!”
Right…I post a bunch of positive shit on my Facebook account and suddenly the fact that I’m a grieving suicide widow, bordering on postpartum depression, all that goes up in smoke. Hold on while I add your naïve ass to my restricted list (side note: best Facebook feature ever) and unfollow you.
Happy me photo credit: svk photography
Ms. George was quite smart when she decided to grieve openly, she was sensitive to the puppy seekers and created a separate Instagram account for her grief. Yet still, there are a so many negative comments to the story NBC Washington posted. Thankfully the openly grieving widow/widower community was quick to defend both Miller and George – a term that developed when we were defending one of Miller’s meme’s #widowmafia
A few quotes – without names to protect the gloriously innocent non-grieving haters – from the article.
“Another new low for social media”
First of all, if social media is so “low” then why are you still gracing it with your presence? You can actually control what you see and don’t see on social media, so if our grief is interrupting your perfect day then by all means hide our posts so you can carry on with your puppies.
We in the widow/widower community have more than sufficient time in the “lows”…this sharing of grief in a public manner helps us climb out of our low spots by making us feel supported. I’m really happy for you that don’t know what that’s like. Carry on.
“…she sits there obsessively checking to see how many likes her grief received…”
Yep, that’s us. We post about our grief and then we hope that it gets “liked”. UGH!! Do you think we asked to be grieving? Does this look fun to you? Would you like to hold one of my kids some night while they cry for their Dad?
Want to know what we post for? Because those who are grieving alone tell us REPEATEDLY that reading our posts helps them. That because we share our reality their’s is more bearable. And as Miller talks about in the article – which I’m sure you didn’t read, you just posted your judgement based on the tag line and picture – this new online forum has changed grieving so much, creating opportunities for us to network and not feel so alone. I spent the first 2.5 years post loss unconnected with the online grieving community. I can tell you how lonely that was.
“egotistical” … “attention seeking lames”
Wow. You know what I would actually rather be those things than a suicide widow. Tell you what. If you can find a way to remove my widow badge I will gladly take these labels you bestow upon the grieving from the safety of your keyboard. Would you walk up to any of the amazing widow bloggers I am blessed to know – Polo, Lynn, Miller, Phillips – and say that to their face? No. Cyber-bullying is rampant in our society and that it makes its way into our community of grievers is ultra-shitty. But I’m not concerned – because #widowmafia and we are the strongest people I know.
“Give me a Effing break”
I would like to lend you my #widowballs for a second so you have the cojones to swear online – give me a fucking break. And while you’re at it, I can send you a list of widows/widowers who would really like a break. They are solo parenting, doing it all on their own. They are learning new skills that they never wanted to learn, like how to change the tire on a lawn mower. They are comforting kids that miss their dead parent and then picking themselves up to finish the dishes and clean the kitchen. You want to give them a fucking break? I’m certain they will accept your offer.
Sunshine, happiness and rainbows
I am amazed daily by the raw honesty of the grief community I have thankfully been embraced by. I spent far too long denying that they could help me. Sadly, I am also amazed on a daily basis by those outside of the land of grief who are so quick to post their judgement when we share our brave writing.
But I know that this group of widows/widowers will not be stopped. So go ahead, post your negative comments. We will sick the #widowmafia on you and we will carry on so that others who need us can find us.
I am Michelle. Above all I am a mother of four incredible little beings. I am a certified Personal Trainer and Healthy Eating Coach, an educator and a real estate investor. I am a coach who also participates fully as a fitness enthusiast, a runner, and a swimmer. I speak from the heart and have no filter left to tolerate bull shit.