Tuesday, December 10, 2013

It's So Simple! How You Can Give and Receive Comfort Through Social Media.

Credit: http://www.fonality.com/
In the midst of making my Jar of Joy, I marked the15th anniversary of my father's death at the age of 59. My inclination was to mark this loss quietly, without mentioning it to anyone. 

However what I really wanted to do was reminisce about his life with others who remember him. 

The problem is, I live continents and large time differences away from those who knew him. There is no one apart from my husband, who lives close by to share memories with, in person. 

I hesitated to put something on social media, but then I decided that perhaps if  I reached a little beyond my comfort zone of privacy, I would be able to share a small piece of what I loved and miss so much about him.

In placing a picture of him with a few sentences on Facebook, I received more comfort, support and memories than I could ever have imagined and I learned two very important lessons and 2 strategies that I want to share with you. 

1. Taking a small step out of your comfort zone can reap huge healing benefits.

Sadness, depression, illness and challenging times can make you instinctively withdraw from others and turn inwards. Even though what you really need is human contact. Reaching out of yourself just a little can reap huge rewards and bring you the comfort you crave.

It was hard to put out my feelings onto Facebook, but the response was incredible. I received heartfelt messages and memories from family and friends in 4 countries who knew my Dad when we were children or when they were children. Some had never met him at all.

Each message, warmed the loss in my heart, made me feel connected to people who I have not seen for years and brought a little piece of my father back to life.

People want to help and comfort, but they may need a reminder or a nudge. One of the beauties of social media is the ease with which you can reach out for help and support. There are many support groups on line, on Facebook and on twitter chats that give tremendous support. Social media makes it simple to communicate with family and friends who may live in another state or on the other side of the world. 

A group email, Facebook status, or google+ message  allows people who care about you to know how you are and to respond with words of comfort. 

2. Grabbing the opportunity to send a short, relevant message to someone who is suffering, marking a sad time or had a loss of some kind, can a make greater impact than you may realize. 

If you are hesitating about writing, do not have time to write much, or  just want  to say "thinking of you" or " sending you love."  please just do it! Each of the 'likes' and messages I  received was appreciated and noted. Send a text, email, direct message via twitter or Facebook and with this small act, you will make a big difference.

Here is what I wrote and how some of the many people generously responded. Hugs and messages of love were greatly appreciated. Memories or observations were comforting, and meaningful. Each and every like and message brought me tremendous comfort and warmth.

 My father loved life and lived it to the full. He lives on through his children and grandchildren and would be very proud to celebrate with Jacob who is named after him. I miss and try to emulate his kindness, compassion and humor every day.

  •        Lovely to see the photo of uncle Jeffrey, reminding me of lots of fun holidays and get-togethers.
  •        sending you a big hug xxx
  •        I'm sure he's very proud of the comfort you bring in his memory. I remember his twinkling eyes and kindness with great fondness.
  •        Gilly, I remember your dad well...so sorry you lost him so young.
  •       We miss him too and will never forget him x
  •        May his memory be for a blessing.
  •        Thinking of you. He would be so proud of you xxx
  •        Gilly, he was a lovely man and a big part of the family
  •       Wish I could give you, your mum and sister a hug. I have such wonderful childhood memories - staying with you - going away with you and always having your dad's warm and loving presence.
  •       Thinking of you today and sending you love.
  •       Sounds as though he was a wonderful, gentle man. Wish I could have met him!

Social media can connect us when we need it most. It is an easy way to give and receive comfort. 

Leave me a comment here and tell me about a time you gave or received comfort through Facebook, twitter or another form of social media.

Love to you all. 

Please email me at gilly@bringingbooksofcomfort.org or leave a comment on this post below. I'd love to have your feedback. 
Thank you for visiting Brainstorm. If you want to receive future posts by email please enter your address on the right hand side of this post,where it says "RECEIVE BLOG BY EMAIL."  Remember to look for the verification link from Feedburner when it comes into your inbox or hides in your spam folder.


  1. It's hard to find the way to make a facebook status reflect your feelings about loss, but you are right, it is worth it. I definitely feel the need to do so each yarzheit and think carefully want I want to write. Sometimes it's just a word, like "remembering".

  2. Yes, if you would like some support at a difficult time, a message helps others know what is going on. Most people cannot keep anniversaries of any kind in their memories, but really appreciate the opportunity to offer some words of comfort,if they know. Facebook is excellent about reminding you about people's birthdays but doesn't facilitate other occasions you might want to mark!
    Finding the words,can be challenging. A memory or a couple of adjectives also gives readers a hook to hang their comment on. Thanks very much for commenting.

  3. Seems that you and I were in the same place last week, when I blogged about losing my Mum. I started by saying that I didn't think I would ever write that post. But I was glad I wrote it. It helped me, and the things people wrote to me on my blog and on facebook meant so much.
    Social media does help us sometimes.

  4. I just read on Facebook. Am feeling quite emotional. It would never have occurred to me to post about my darling Mum, but maybe I will when the time is right. Too many tears still come even as I think about it. Lots of hugs. Can't wait to see you xxx