After my parents died, there was a huge hole inside of me. That hole never fully goes away—which totally stinks—but a lot of special people have come into my life and have helped fill in pieces of that hole, helped make it more manageable.
Many of these people were in my life for a season—some shorter, some longer than others. I embrace these special people while their season lasts, but I am never entirely surprised when the season is over. I think that’s one of the ways loss changes you.
These special people represented those who knew my parents, a best friend in elementary school who moved away, the family that I babysat for, childhood neighbors, high school friends, college friends, summer camp friends, teachers, former co-workers and bosses, and now friends through my children… you get the idea. They all represent various “seasons” of my life.
I grew up and moved away to a different state and almost never go home. I rarely see anyone with whom I grew up. I associate much of my childhood with the sadness of my parents’ deaths, the loneliness that ensued afterwards, living with stepmother and mean uncle. My childhood hometown represents my fractured childhood.
On top of that, I am not the best about keeping in touch. Part of that is me, and part of that is my acceptance with their season being over and letting them go. Letter writing was a chore. Calling on the phone seemed too much effort after a long day.
Over time, I’ve bumped into people or met up with them on various travels, gotten their cell phones and see them in my contact list, occasionally reaching out to them when I’m in town. Then came the Facebook era. I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Do people really need to know or even care about my every move? It’s way too public for me in most regards.
Yet, I get truly giddy from reconnecting with the special people who I only had a short season with, and yet touched me in profound ways. Two weeks ago my best friend from elementary school that moved away right after 6th grade found me via Facebook. I had looked for her over and over again, and had not heard from her in 20 years. Now most all of the most special people in my past have reconnected with me via Facebook or email. I was taken aback by the emotion and the healing—yes healing—I experienced by reconnecting with these people, and pockets of my past.
It still feels awkward posting stuff about what I am doing. I tend to reconnect on Facebook and immediately resort to private emails or phone calls or texting. It has brought me a feeling of peace and less pain when I look back on my childhood or past “seasons.” It has also been wonderful to share with these special people my passion and life’s work, Comfort Zone Camp. It has opened up a lot of dialogue and awareness about feelings and incidents that happened while I was growing up that were never talked about or shared.
Who knew that through reconnecting via technology, there would be so much healing decades after my loss?