#UNTRENDING: Pressing pause to let feelings flow

#Untrending: Vicki McLeod                                #Untrending: Vicki McLeod

#Untrending: Vicki McLeod #Untrending: Vicki McLeod

By Vicki McLeod/Special to The News

Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “I broke the internet,” as crowed by those whose posts go viral.

Recently, I had the reverse experience.

The internet broke me.

I was casually scrolling my Facebook feed one afternoon and read an announcement from one of my Facebook friends about the death of her seven-year-old grandson.

As I read N’s very poignant description of her grandson’s last hours – his baby sister asleep beside him, the kindness of the nurses and doctors that cared for him in his final hours – something inside me broke.

I cried my heart out for N, her family, her grandson and the countless families around the globe faced with coping with the death of a beloved child.

I do not know N well at all.

We are Facebook friends as a result of a mutual professional affiliation.

My tears came not from sharing the grief of someone close to me personally, but rather from a deep and hallowed place inside, connected to a more universal anguish.

I could not bear, in the face of this sacred heartache to read another Facebook post. I closed my laptop and let the hot tears flow.

READ MORE FROM MCLEOD: Who wants to be perceived as ruthless, pushy, or striving?

This experience changed the way I approach Facebook, at least for now.

I post occasionally, respond to tags, and check in with the groups I manage, and continue to chat in Messenger with contacts, but I no longer mindlessly scroll the feed.

It is not that I want to avoid these emotional catharses.

On the contrary, I welcome them.

They reassure me that I am still a deeply human creature, capable of being cracked open by tragedy and moved by sorrow.

What I cannot bear, and choose to avoid, in the face of such profound feeling, is the compulsion to keep scrolling…to move on to the next post.

Instead, I am pressing “pause” in order to hold space for the sacred—to allow for long-form compassion.

I am grateful to N for her post, for her bravery in making this intensely personal story public, and for the way she honoured her grandson so tenderly.

More than anything, I hope it comforted her and her family to write about this awful loss.

Her post reminded me that in grief we share a common humanity, and that this deserves our reverence.

Social media and digital engagement can have a numbing effect.

It can be superficial, distancing us from one another even as we reveal the details of our daily lives.

N’s post brought me once again to the brink of my own holy brokenness, and beyond that, relief.

I am human.

We are human.

Despite the technology between us – the metal and plastic devices that mediate our contact, we touch one another, and deeply.

If you are moved too, as I was, make an online donation to your local cancer research agency or children’s hospital. We can share our love, along with our sorrow.

Let’s use the internet for good.

PREVIOUS COLUMN: Decluttering mind and space

– Vicki McLeod is an author, TEDx speaker, and award-winning entrepreneur. She is a business and personal coach and consultant. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or find her at www.vickimcleod.com

_________________________________

• If there is more to this topic, please let us know about it. Email us at editor@mapleridgenews.com. We look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

_________________________________

Health and wellnesssocial media

Just Posted

Laura May Hansen loves taking photos around town, whether it be adventures in her boat, on her bike, or simply hiking. In this case, she shared a few pictures of osprey spotted along the Pitt River. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Wildlife soaring over the Pitt River

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

Maple Ridge city hall (The News files)
Maple Ridge turns to public for consultation on transportation plan

Mayor encourages all residents to participate in ‘important engagement process’

Ethan Page, left, and Nicky Walton received Excellence in Arts Scholarship Awards in music. (Special to The News)
Port Haney Artist-in-Residence Aaron Moran. (Special to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News)
Personal reflections of Maple Ridge are needed for new public art project

Residents of all ages, backgrounds and abilities welcome to share stories and poems

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Maple Ridge elementary school exposed to COVID-19

Exposure event at Glenwood elementary the seventh in past two weeks

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

Linda Annis, executive director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, at press conference Monday. (Submitted photo)
Crime Stoppers receiving $200K from province for ‘Guns and Gangs’ tip line campaign

Executive director Linda Annis broke the news Monday morning in Surrey

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Most Read