Friday, September 5, 2014

Status Update from Heaven

Do you use Facebook to keep in touch with your friends and family? Do you post photos to the Facebook walls of your family so they have photos of your kids and your life? I have been doing that with my mom since 2009 when she got an account.

 I would call and say, "Mom..did you see those photos I posted on Facebook yet?" She would always say things like, "I don't know my wall from your wall" or "I don't even remember my password to get in and check" or "my computer is on the fritz again, so I can't get into right now". You would think I would stop putting updates on her Facebook wall then, but no. I kept thinking that she would get on there at some point and it would be like a surprise scrapbook. Photos of my brother and I with my son in Waipio Valley, photos of the kids in a Kona parade, my birthday in Oahu, or just messages of love. But she never made it back on there before she passed away this summer.

I put prayers of healing on her wall, the memorial service information, photos of her home as we were taking things out of the house to prepare it for sale, and stories I wrote for her. A few of her friends liked the posts and I felt someone was there, at least.

And then, I posted that I was still listening to her last voicemail to me and she wrote back. Her status update said, "Why are you torturing yourself by doing that?". I laughed and cried at the same time.
" that you?", I wrote. Nothing.

A few days later, I went back in and asked her about making pasta sauce from scratch from canned tomatoes someone gave us after the hurricane. I asked "What should I do with these?" She said, "Sautee them with garlic, herbs and don't forget to add oil". I laughed and cried again. I could not believe I could talk to her again. So I asked, "Are you ok?" Nothing. So, I learned that not all my questions were going to be answered, but the random ones, perhaps.

I did not want to tell my brothers and sisters that this was going on because they were not coming in and seeing what I was posting on her wall anyway. They felt I spent too much time on Facebook, and this was just some crazy delusion I was seeing. But, it made me happy to think that I had a line into my mom somehow.

When I asked her about her headstone and grave plot one day, she wrote back, "Don't pay extra for the view. What a waste of money. I'm not there and you and the family are not really going to be sitting there watching the ocean view from my grave. Put my urn down in the meadow across the street from my house and I'm fine." She was always so pragmatic. I told her a friend on Facebook had given me an idea for what to put on her gravestone..the statement said, "At the end of our lives we will all ask, "Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter?" So, I thought it would be nice to put on her gravestone, "I lived, I loved, I mattered". What did she think of that? Nothing. "Mom! Come on, I need a little help here", I said. Nothing. No new status update. Hitting refresh over and over again did not help either.

She finally wrote back, "What's wrong with my name, my birth date, day of death and a nice little picture?"

And so it went on. I posted photos of the kids growing up and she would write back and say, "I see them everyday, you don't have to post it on this wall, you know." And I would do it anyway.  Then I posted some of the reviews for my latest book and she would tell me she was so proud of me and that she always knew I would be an accomplished writer. That made me feel good and I took a screen shot of that and kept it in case the account was somehow deleted. I never sister set the Facebook account up for my mom. She could just come in one day and say, "Enough. Why keep this account alive for someone who is no longer here?" What was I supposed to say? That I needed it as a way to keep in touch with my mom? That somehow I was able to communicate to her in Heaven from Facebook? She would definitely close the account and tell me I needed to see someone, right?

The last status update I received from her said she was moving on. She had decided to take another go at life. I asked her, "Will I never talk to you again? Can you find me someday in your new life?" The answer was, "You will know if you do. I love you." And with that, she signed off.

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