Social media -giving domestic violence a face

Last month, an online friend of mine was brutally murdered in front of her kids by her husband. She was a vibrant woman and we had some entertaining conversations. If it wasn’t for Facebook we may never have even gotten to know one another. However, through the Pathetic Runners Group we found one another and realized we were mere hours apart. I travel quite a lot and we planned one day to get together to run, but as life with kids and responsibilities seems to always work out, we hadn’t yet gotten the chance. We’d developed some plans for future goals, rooted on each other’s successes, and in general found some humanity out in cyberspace.

Sadly, it was through our running group I heard of her family’s tragic loss. To date, I cannot think of one social media post that was so life altering. The day I saw she’d passed, my heart stopped, my breath caught, and I just couldn’t understand. How could this be? As the story unfolded my disbelief continued as did the reality of the situation. I’d lost someone I’d felt connected with, but hadn’t really even gotten the chance to run with. It was through our private messages and our status posts that created this bond and evolved our life stories for each other.

Through social media there are so many connections we make in a day, month, or year and we don’t even think about the implications of these connections. We simply make them and move along. Often I’ll look through my friend’s list and message people personally. I have been blessed to have connected with many running friends, Beachbody Coaches, Younique Representatives, Former Exchange Students, High School Alums, Co-Workers, Former Co-Workers, and University Alums that my list is quite large. I guess, I don’t always think about how each person’s story or even the evolution of their life on my timeline affects me, but you read and you develop a bit of a connection with that person.

I know there are some people on my timeline whose posts I look forward to for a variety of reasons. Perhaps that person is my smile for the day, or they always have the best Younique info, or they have an especially inspirational message that I enjoy and often share. Whatever the case, your posts on social media impact people on some level. If you are the Negative Nelly I’ve blocked or the Positive person I’ve kept, you’ve made an impression.

Tiffany made an impression on me because although I’ve been touched by domestic violence personally, no pun intended, and I’ve heard the statistics on DV related deaths it was never REAL for me. It was a story on a news show. I’d never lost anyone to such a tragic means. Now because of Facebook here I am, I’ve met this woman, gotten to know her, we’ve shared goals, fears, and made plans. Suddenly, she’s gone in a blink of an eye and I realize with all I’ve been through how lucky I really am because at many points in life I could have been her. Her memorial service will be in Kalkaska on Saturday and I am driving the 2 hours up to it, despite us never having met or realized our plans.

Today I will go shopping for dinner, which I will bring up to Kalkaska tonight with me and share among other fellow runner friends as we prepare to attend the memorial of our fellow PRGer. In her name, I will meet and connect with people I may never have met before. We will share a moment both celebrating the life of a PRG friend and mourning her death. We will attend the service together and make a stand against DV as a fellow runner. I know for her family my showing up will not make it better. Although I lost my father suddenly at the age of 11 and my mother never really stepped up to the plate, I understand what its like to lose both parents suddenly, but I cannot imagine what Tiffany’s children are going through right now. My heart breaks for them.

Facebook has really put a FACE on the outcomes of domestic violence. I’m forced to look at the past truly appreciating the outcomes, wonder about the present, and pray for the future. It also has shown me that real bonds can be formed through an online group and people can come forward to do something great with them. So, Fellow PRGer Tiffany Ferguson, as you run through the clouds watching over your children I pray for you & your family. I cannot imagine how you can be resting at peace knowing what has been left behind, but the spark I saw in you will hopefully also be present in your children and they will carry forward with strength and love for life unparalleled.

 

So, today as each of you post your Facebook Statuses remember someone out there is reading it and you’ve just impacted them in some way. Think about what you’re about to post to the world because in today’s society with social media, you the small seemingly insignificant snowflake have a chance to REALLY create an Avalanche. So what’s it going to be?

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