Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Thank You Letter to Facebook

Facebook transformed the Internet, and I can't imagine social media without it. My recent experience with Facebook has made me a fan for life.

My sister Becki was dying, and there I was in Guatemala without a global smart phone.

However, our sister Jeri in Minnesota, who was with Becki through her stage 4 cancer diagnosis up until she took her last breath 10 days later, kept me informed through frequent messaging on Facebook. Even emails would have been too much trouble to keep up considering the pressure on Jeri-- but FB messaging was doable, fast and easy, a good substitute for texting. It kept us both connected until I could fly out to be there in person.

Not only that, but many, many friends were quickly able to get news of Becki and express their concerns, tell us of their prayers, share memories of our beautiful sister-- all because of Facebook.

Don't tell me a Facebook comment or like means little. It meant a great deal to Becki's 3 sisters and her two kids, as people from all over the world reached out to us through this medium and expressed their love and support.

After the funeral, my cousin Susie told me: "I've been scrolling down through Becki's Facebook page, just drinking in the photos and all her posts of the last year. It has become a treasured record."

I posted a video clip of Becki on my Facebook page the day of her diagnosis. Later, her daughter told me she had showed it to her mom in the hospital. She said, "It was the only time I saw Mom cry through all of this. She loved it so much." And best of all, Becki was able to leave a comment on that post which I cherish.

Like everything, Facebook has its positive and its negative. And like everything in life and on the Internet, it's up to each individual to decide if we'll use it for good or for ill.

Becki was the last of the 4 Jones girls to come into our family. We never thought she'd be the first to leave. Goodbye, our angel sister. 

And thank you, Facebook, for your part in helping to lessen our grief.


  1. Oh, Karen, I remember your posts about your sister. I'm so sorry your family has lost someone so special.

    Yes, Facebook has some negatives, but when used responsibly, the positives are major.

    God bless...

  2. Thinking of you and your family at this sad time. I agree that when Facebook is used properly it is a positive thing and through it
    you've been supported from far and wide.

  3. I followed it on Facebook as well. So sorry for your loss, but happy for your sister.She had a mercifully fast exit.
    Facebook is all about connecting. I'm glad you got to fly and be with family in person, though.

    1. Mirka, "mercifully fast exit" is exactly true and we are glad for such a blessing. She spent her last year enjoying each and every day of her life, completely unaware of what was to come rather than having to fight the cancer she didn't know was there. It would have been a losing battle anyway, as she had an incredibly aggressive form of it.

  4. Facebook does have some negatives but this is a shining example of the positives :)

  5. I get most all my news and support via Facebook. I'm so glad it was a blessing to you during this stressful time in your family and move.

  6. Hugs for your loss. Facebook kept me in touch with family when I was an ex-pat, too. When we lost dad I was so grateful for the site. Love that it worked for your family during a hard time, too. xx

  7. So sorry for your family's loss. You now have a history and diary of your sister through those messages and posts.

  8. I'm sorry, Karen.

    30 years ago, when we lost someone, we were often left with only photos and maybe some letters. With social media and sites like Facebook, we have a scrapbook of someone's life to cherish.

  9. This is a very touching post, Karen. My sympathy to the whole family.

    As an ex-pat, Facebook has been an invaluable tool enabling me to keep in contact with my family in the UK.

  10. I must add my thanks to all who shared prayers and best wishes during this difficult time. Facebook helped us feel your love and really lifted Karen. Thank you

  11. I am so sorry, Karen, for the loss of your beloved sister. Social media has its drawbacks, but when it brings people together who can't be there in person, it is a blessing.

  12. I'm so sorry for your loss. And I completely agree with you about facebook. Living far from my family myself, it has become the only thing that keeps us in eachother's day-to-day and I don't know what I would do without it.

  13. My younger sister died last year so I know how you are feeling Karen. Hard to imagine how you would have coped without the internet to keep you closely connected through those last days. Take care xx

  14. So sorry for you loss. May the memories keep you strong and remind you of the love shared.

  15. I so agree. Despite some of the annoyances which can only be blamed on those who put up those posts and not on FB itself, the FB concept does allow for quick interactive communication.

    I live far from my daughters and grandkids but I'm regularly kept in touch through photos and messages. Likewise with the rest of my family and my friends. I've been able to reconnect with old friends and schoolmates through it as well.

    Sorry to hear of your loss, but it's good that you were able to be with your family in the FB sense.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

  16. I'm so sorry about your family's loss Karen.
    I think you've said the best thing about FB possible. At its base, it's a tool that helps us communicate with each other. Take care...

  17. I am so sorry for your loss. :( I'm glad social media was able to help during that time, though. Keeping in touch with family is definitely what I like most about it.

  18. Dear Karen and family and especially Becki's children and family ... this is just such a great post and yes, a great plus for social media and Facebook. I can so agree with you ...

    My thoughts to you all .. but it's good to know you were able to fly out ... and this was definitely worth a thank you letter posted to FB ..

    All the best and I loved the photo - just lovely ... Hilary

  19. First let me say how touched I was about the loss of your baby sister. Life isn't consistent when it comes to the order of things. That I know. I'm glad you've found a way to share the beauty of your sister's life as well as the sadness of her passing.

    It's also refreshing to find such a positive post about the social media all of us engage in. Thank you for that.

  20. Please accept my condolences on your sister's passing, Karen!
    I do agree that Facebook that has a lot of positives too - my take is that it's really up to the user how they can make it work for you.
    I'm visiting you from the A to Z Challenge, Karen, as one of Arlee's Ambassadors. Looking forward to reading more of your posts through the challenge.

  21. So sad to lose your beautiful sister, Karen. Am glad Facebook helped you.

    Mary Montague Sikes

  22. What a beautiful, loving, heartfelt post, Karen. I'm happy Facebook was there for you, your family and your many friends.

    It's a special gift we are given when we love those we call family unconditionally - may all those beautiful memories of Becki live on in the hearts and minds of those she touched.