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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Please Weigh In

Mrs. Spock's comment triggered a thought. I often will leave myself notes in my datebook after a loss to remind myself to check in on the person months down the road. This may take all of the passion out of the act to have it essentially scheduled, but I know without that reminder, I'll forget. I'll move on because it won't be in the forefront of my thoughts, even though the loss is probably still in the forefront of the mind of the primary mourner.

I realized when Mrs. Spock wrote: "I feel a responsibility as a tertiary mourner to comment on a blog, and then continue to do so long afterwards. It seems that there is usually a huge influx of support after a terrible event, and then it dwindles down as weeks and even months pass. I think of widows who want their loss to be remembered 6 months after the loss, but everyone else has moved on. I try to fulfill that wish by hanging in there and continuing to comment later" that there is something simple we can do.

We can schedule a reminder to reach out months later on LFCA. In other words, each day, I can click back three or four months and pick out people who needed support then and remind people that they may still need support now. I can begin doing this on Monday with no trouble. It is simply cutting-and-pasting. I can also add a category to the form called The Way Back Machine where people can leave news that happened months ago in which they still would like support. For instance, a death in the family.

My questions are these: (1) would it be helpful? If you have gone through a mourning process on your blog, did you find comments and support dropped off long before you had your needs fulfilled? Or is getting that support months down the road not necessary? (2) could it be potentially upsetting to find yourself in that category and be reminded of an old wound if you weren't expecting it that day? Or is it silly to think that the wound was ever closed? Would it be more meaningful to receive that support when you least expected it or would it ruin your day?

The problem with the LFCA is that unless a person specifically asks me not to post news (or if it is on a password protected blog), I post things I read and things people mail in through the form. We put it to a vote about a year and a half ago when the LFCA began that I'd just add without checking in with everyone since it was out there anyway. In other words, if everyone could find it on their own, the LFCA was merely pointing people in the right direction to celebrate or support. But I would want to hear if you've had a negative experience with the LFCA--if you saw your news posted and wished it hadn't been. I can always remove news at someone's request, but, of course, you can't truly unring the bell.

Your thoughts on this new section?


Cassandra said...

I happen to love LFCA and have never had a negative experience, but I have to say that the first time I got a comment from someone through LFCA (under the New Blogs heading) I was taken aback.

The Way Back Machine seems more helpful for people to post about themselves than for someone else to assume that after a certain number of months has passed, it must be time for a rally of support. But maybe that's just me.

noswimmers said...

I've never told you, but LFCA was a true lifesaver for me. The day we found out Karis and Addison had passed away, I had people reaching out from all over. The comments/support do dwindle over time.
You're right about the wounds never closing. An outpouring of support would always be welcome, especially when its least expected. Even if someone isn't writing about it on their blog, I can guarantee they're thinking about it.
I don't think it could ever ruin my day.

Kristin said...

I think that sounds like a fabulous idea.

battynurse said...

I love LFCA. I love that I can check in on others (and have found some blogs I love this way) and support them through their difficult times. Also the support I've received at difficult times (especially lately) has been so helpful. Going a couple of days between checking e-mail and then finding 40+ messages made me cry, in a good way.

bleu said...

I love LFCA sooo much. As for the way back thing I would be a bit worried about it unless it was a thing where the person requested for themselves, which I know can be awkward too. The thing is if I am chugging along dealing ok, even though the loss is always there, if I am having a good busy day and it is not on my mind and I suddenly get comments it could take me right back fast and not in a good way. So for me it would be worrisome.

Like heaven forbid I get a comment about an anniversary I had forgotten, I would beat myself silly emotionally over that.

Just my 2 cents.

Gypsyhick said...

I love the connections.

Mrs. Spit said...

I liked having others remember Gabriel with me. It was important.

I wish more people IRL would take the time to mark things down on their calendars. It hurts when you get a phone call a day late because they were too busy

luna said...

I also love the LFCA. it directs much needed support to those who need it. I love that you make a not to check in with someone, because that personal connection and outreach to someone is exactly the kind of thing that helps someone remember that others ARE still thinking of them.

but personally, I don't think I'd want it to be an automatic reminder on the LFCA. anniversaries yes. but I think regular readers of the person grieving DO check in to see how they are doing. I think when people are having an especially rough time, they call out for help. and often you DO learn about it and direct that needed support.

I think I'd prefer a category for people to add themselves, or for a regular reader to call your attention to someone who needs some extra kindness, rather than presuming that in X number of months, they might need some support. just my 2 cents.

Rebecca said...

The entire world seems to think I should be over my dad's death by now, when of course as you say, it'll never really heal. I've been told a ocuple of times that "everyone loses their parents". Well, yeah. Only not at 24 to suicide usually, you know?

N said...

I love LFCA, and I love the idea of going back (and I do try to; I don't always succeed, but I try), but I don't know about set times? It's early, I'm not making any sense, I know.

Cara said...

Mel - LFCA is one of the most effective and streamlined tools I've ever seen for bringing people together and supporting their road.

Personally, I use it everyday to see who is need of support.

My two cents- your idea is a natural evolution of the support system already in place.

Karen said...

This is an interesting topic. When our first adoption fell through, I had a lot of readers delurk and some new readers, and all of the support was nice. Many of them have fallen away since our adoption drama is over and that's understandable. The posts on my blog that have to do with that time period still get a lot of hits, but I don't get any new comments. I think that if I did start getting new comments on those posts it would strike me as odd because it was so long ago, but it wouldn't be painful because we've successfully adopted now. So I think my personal loss is in a minority group of situations where the "way back machine" isn't necessary. If we were still waiting to adopt, on the other hand, I would definitely be grateful for some additional support. I think your idea is a good one, though, for the majority of people whose losses aren't healed in the way mine was.

Tigger said...

I love to know people are still thinking about me, even if they had to remind themselves. It means they cared enough to make sure they checked on me.

I have a tendency to click over to someone needing support and forget to bookmark the blog, which means I don't know how to get back to them if I want to check on them again. A reminder feature would be good, imo.

calliope said...

LFCA is totally the single most important community tool that IS for IF. Having nudges to check in on someone past an obvious date would be great.

Martha said...

I like the idea of a "tickler" file or Way Back, Update section. I do try to continue support, this would be helpful.
You are a real Mensch.

MrsSpock said...

I think this is a great idea- I'm glad my comment sparked the idea.

I think it is a good idea for those who have lost someone to have a voice in how they would best feel supported. I don't know enough myself to weigh in, but I think a form for someone to nominate themselves, saying, "Hey, I'm still swimming in grief" would be helpful.

JamieD said...

I can't even begin to tell you about all the support I have received from LCFA and how much it meant to me.

Both of my miscarriages have been early, so now it feels like they happened so fast, I was left without anything to hold on to. Sometimes I wonder if I was ever pregnant at all.

Reminders wouldn't upset me at all. In fact, it would be reassuring to know that it ~really~ did happen.

mlr said...

I think it's a sweet idea. It does run the risk of bringing the person back to the moment things went south, but I think the thoughtfulness and just the consideration of the person and their situation would outweigh the side effects. Maybe if a person could nominate themselves anonymously?

Bea said...

Hm. I think on balance it's a good idea. I don't think having people comment about past losses causes pain. You can't "remind" people of a loss that's on their mind anyway.