16 June 2016

Sometimes the internet makes my eye twitch...like that weird little squirrel from Ice Age...

Hey Internet, I don't do this very often. But I'm worn out and I just feel like I need to say this. I think we can all agree that it's been a really awful stretch these past few weeks. Can I suggest that, going forward, we all agree to play nice and really, really think before we share that article or post that thought? Heaven forbid any of us walk through such terrifying situations and tragedies let alone in the eyes of the public and their many and varying opinions on what we would or wouldn't have done or where they should or shouldn't have been.
I remember when my mom passed away, a woman I literally had not seen since I was a young child, and as far as I knew hadn't been an active part of my mother's life in decades, had seen my mom's obit in the paper and came to pay her respects. I don't even recall her name.
After wandering around the room, looking at the photos, she finally made her way to me (and had to ask to double check that I was, in fact, my mom's daughter.)
Her first question to me was, "So, what happened?"
I replied, "Leukemia."
Her response: "Wasn't there anything they could do? I'm sure you could've done something."
This person who didn't know our family and didn't know our situation had an opinion that she felt was necessary to share with me in my grief.
What I really wanted to do was ask her if she seriously thought that we hadn't "done something" over the previous 7 years Mom had battled the disease. That when we'd first received the diagnosis we'd said, "Well, Mom, it's been a good 43 years, but we just don't feel like doing this. So, see ya."
But I'm pretty sure what really happened was that I just stared at her and didn't say a word.
And yes, after my initial irritation, I shook it off, because...well, see above: She didn't know our family and didn't know our situation. But it obviously still bothered me. And clearly, (because I'm writing about it 7 years later), to this day, I find it bothersome.
And this was just one insensitive, thoughtless, judgmental comment. But if multiplied exponentially? I can't imagine what it must feel like to be inundated with the opinions of countless thousands of strangers - who know nothing about me, my life, my situation - during the darkest hours of my grief or terror. These people didn't wittingly put themselves in the public light. They were living their personal lives: a day at the zoo, an evening at a concert, a night out dancing, a day at Disney World, etc. No one asked for my opinion. But now there is much suffering and grief...and that suffering has been grossly proliferated at the hands of thoughtless, unnecessary commentary.
I'm hoping we (I) can just remember the cardinal rule we learned on our first days of kindergarten, "Be nice to each other."
For the most part, we're all just doing the very best we know to do. And personally, I know that I want to strive to be better.