Why I freaking love Facebook. And all of you.

Sometimes a girl just needs a hug.

For a laundry list of reasons, April is not my favorite month, even though my beloved youngest son was born on 4/20/97. His original due date was the 22nd, and I hoped against hope that he would choose another day to make his way into the world. The 22nd felt like a bad omen, as my stepfather had committed suicide on that date, also his 65th birthday, twelve years earlier.

And then, of course, I was diagnosed with lung cancer in April, further un-endearing me to the fourth month.

However, I can’t blame everything on April as the shit hit the fan in late March, when I got a text message from my oldest son asking if I was awake yet at 7 am in the morning, 5 am his time.

Never a good thing—an early morning text. I called him immediately and his first words were, ‘Mom, I’m in the hospital but I’m alright.’

Barely. The previous afternoon he’d been cleaning beakers out behind his lab (he works in the legal cannabis industry) and one of them had exploded. The resulting shrapnel had severed several arteries in his neck. His quick thinking coworker dialed 911 and the strippers next door who were sunning themselves (can’t make this stuff up) came running with towels to tourniquet his neck, which was gushing blood like the stuff of horror films.

He was rushed by ambulance to the ER and into emergency surgery. A salivary gland and a nerve had also been severed, he lost so much blood he required transfusions and they told him he missed his carotid artery by millimeters.

A mother’s worst nightmare.

I came down with the flu and then pneumonia shortly thereafter–the stress/illness link undeniable.

Then a week ago we experienced yet another family crisis. Like much of the tough stuff in my life, this one’s going to need to remain private, but I am currently in the midst of one of the most challenging times I’ve ever experienced. And that’s saying something.

About that hug.

Three days ago I posted this on my Facebook feed:

It’s been a hard week in a hard month. I am in need of a giant group hug.

No details, just the ask. And they started pouring in. The likes and the loves (137 of them to date) and an additional 135 personalized hugs–many of them from people who were probably in need of a hug themselves (and that’s the beauty of a group hug–it hugs back).

My virtual community was there for me; all I had to do was ask. And of course a handful of people contacted me privately to ask what was up as well.

I understand that some people feel social media is taking something away from the way we interact with each other but I absolutely disagree. Facebook is a tool, and if you use it with the understanding that it will never replace real interactions, it has the potential to enhance your emotional life. Sure, there are times where I log on while I’m sitting in the waiting room at MGH only to see someone’s photos from say, Paris, and I may feel a momentary twinge of envy. But that’s life. Whether I see the photos or not, you’re in Paris, and I’m still in my waiting room. Get over it.

Mostly I think of Facebook as a big giant bulletin board–a place for sharing interesting things. But other times it functions more like a greeting card–short, sweet, silly and genuinely sincere. The like button is a wonderful way for someone to let you know (without any more effort than signing a card) that they are paying attention and that they, in some small but not insignificant way, care. And sometimes, that’s all I’m looking for–a reminder that I’m not so alone after all.

So a big xoxoxo to everyone who answered my request for assistance. You helped me more than you can know.

16 responses to “Why I freaking love Facebook. And all of you.

  1. Linnea I didn’t realize you were on FB. What are you under i would like to friend you or you can friend me. Kandi Amfahr Nissen

  2. Hi Linnea,
    My heart hurts for you. Here is my big hug!!


  3. I am sorry that you are going through a rough period (and I know that is saying something). I hope you get through this in more or less in one piece.

  4. sending you loads and loads of hugs. I also need one so we are helping each other. Is life not wonderful.

  5. You’re one of the strongest people I’ve ever met (virtually)! But sometimes it’s tough to be strong. Hugs do help. I like this little drawing: (((hugs))) 🙂

  6. Dear Linnea,
    Wish I had known you needed a hug, but I’m sure you can use one today too! Here it comes………….I need one as well since I’m waiting for scan results today (oh, the anxiety). And, my son, David, is also a 4/20 (’86) baby — prayers for your son’s quick and solid recovery and for positive resolution to all of your challenges. You, wonderful woman, will never be alone 🙂
    More hugs,

  7. I look forward to your postings to see how you are doing – and marvel at how you meet your CHALLENGES!
    Thinking about you and hoping all of your challenges wI’ll be resolved – for you and your family! Sending HUGS!

  8. Linnea I enjoy reading your postings. What makes them even more special is that you are a friend of my son in law, Chris Nataline. I feel such hope for Chris after reading your posts. Thank you so very much. Love, Prayers and HUGS, for you and your family.

  9. Four years ago when I was diagnosed I tuned into the internet and various organizations and sites. There you were all over the place with advocacy for all of us.
    Your work hugs all of us.
    If I didn’t live so far away (California), I would walk your dog, and hug you at least once daily.

  10. Cheryl Shields

    Didn’t know you are on FB either. Can never get enuf of your energy, wisdom and sense of adventure. Sending you hugs from from yesterday, and today.
    Wishing your son a full recovery and much joy to the both of you.


  11. Linnea – Here is my virtual hug. <3. If I could befriend u on Facebook I would! Hope the month of May brings better sunshine and warmth your way. Xoxo. Hope all goes well with your latest challenge – whatever it be, you'll see it thru.

  12. Sending an enormous hug to one of the strongest women I know. You have conquered so many obstacles, I have faith you will continue this April. XO

  13. I missed that message 3 days ago. Belated hug sent from the Arizona desert!

  14. Julie Silberger

    Linnea – it was wonderful to meet you this weekend. I didn’t know that you were facing these additional challenges – sending you a big hug and good thoughts belatedly!

  15. Is it too late for a May e-hug? Sending one your way!

  16. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Prayers of strength during this time. Prayers for healing and recovery for your son. Hugs !!!

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