I had absolutely no intention of writing about “Here’s why Instagram matters” just three days ago. Today’s Momday Inspirations post was going to be a teaser about the time a famous television personality came into the store with his wife and our darling Francine hadn’t the slightest clue who he was, even though his show was one of her particular favorites.
But then I stumbled across some devastating news on Instagram that reminded me that we never truly know what lies just ahead … around the corner … or just over the hill …
It was 2:00am on Sunday morning and I couldn’t sleep. My brain was in overdrive. So I reached over and grabbed my phone, thinking that perhaps a little scrolling through the Instagram app and a peek into the lives of others would be just the ticket to shut things down. Hopefully I’d toddle across a fellow insomniac. I find their photos of a digital clock flashing “03:06” to always be so comforting. They immediately transport me back to when I was wide awake in the middle of the night with my babies and I’d open my curtains to peek out at the house across the street. Nothing gave me greater pleasure than to see these new parents’ bedroom light on. They were also up; it wasn’t just me.
Here’s Why Instagram Matters
The first photo in my Instagram feed was magical.
It was of a sweet toddler nestled snuggly in his grandmother’s lap. Both were enfolded in a loving embrace by the beaming grandfather.
The child’s grandmother is someone I’ve been following for about six months and we’ve gradually gotten “to know” one another. Her Instagram feed expresses her youthful, joyous attitude towards life through her clothing. She’ll sometimes post photos of her husband (usually when they’re at a game and he’s standing closely beside her, wearing his team’s hat and beaming at the camera) however the majority of the photos are of her. But they aren’t selfies. Someone else takes the pictures and I’ve always assumed that it was her husband.
She’s been on Instagram for under a year and her engagement with her followers is truly remarkable. Her comments reveal that her marriage is a good one. Her husband’s teasing of her pants as “being more suitable for an elephant” or of her “incessant need to document every outfit with a photo” often has me grinning. I imagine him pretending to be frustrated by her endless requests to retake the photo, by positioning the phone lengthwise, or holding it still, or zooming in on her purse. However, in reality I suspect that he’s proud as punch of her ability to attract so many loyal followers.
She didn’t post much over the holidays due to her visiting sons and their families, so this photo with hubs and her grandchild was a delightful surprise.
A Devastating Revelation
But then I read the accompanying comment.
This gem of a husband, to whom she’d been married for over 40 years, had suffered a massive heart attack the day before and had passed away!
She went on to say that she was devastated and that her adult sons were with her and that she’d be off Instagram for a while.
My heart broke for her as the news slowly sank in. Even now, as I write this, tears are welling and my throat is closing. This lovely woman’s life and that of her family has been forever devastatingly changed, all in just one little blink.
I’m reminded, once again, of how death, no matter how it comes, is just so achingly final.
Adding Instagram To The List of Must-Do’s
When my husband passed away, it wasn’t sudden. His body could simply no longer fight the fight. I remember being flooded with an absolute clarity regarding everything that now needed to be done. The list contained the writing of the obituary, the booking of the remembrance service, the notification of friends and family, and the upcoming registration of my daughter for her preschool. Tick, tick, tick.
Of course, I’d have added Instagram to the list if it had existed 20 years ago. One photo, a brief explanation and then I’d disappear. How long that disappearance would be is anyone’s guess.
For my friend, I’d like her to know that I wish I could press the rewind button, to delete what happened. I wish I could give her the one thing she wants: a healthy husband. But I can’t.
So, instead, I’ll be thinking of her and praying for her and her family and hoping they find the strength to navigate through such a difficult time.
Here’s why Instagram matters. Without it, I’d never have met this lovely person and I’d never know that she’s suffering such a loss. When my friend gains the strength to return to Instagram, I’d like her to know that her followers will be there for her. We may have not met her in person, but we value her friendship as strongly as if we had.