There are people who affect your life, who bring good things to who you become, who you will never forget and will always care for and periodically think about. And when they move on with their lives and leave yours, it isn’t because you’ve done something wrong or are all of a sudden hated. It is because you didn’t affect them the way they affected you, or because you aren’t needed in their lives anymore. It is bittersweet. You are left with your loving memories but they aren’t there anymore, touching you and moving you, you have only the echoes of them in your memory and your heart. You still have love for them but they aren’t there anymore.
Facebook has now made this even more bitter, even more painful. You now get glimpses into their lives. You see the pictures of the parties they went to, of the people who are making them smile and happy; and you aren’t in those pictures. You like their posts, you comment on their posts but you are so incidental, they don’t respond or send you a message. They don’t hit the like button on your posts and you assume they don’t see your pictures and wish they were in them. But you wouldn’t want to miss those pictures or those glimpses into their lives. You still care and you still love them - they are still giants who make you feel so much.
There is a new emotional strength required in the age of social media. You have to have the strength to let them go - to be happy for them and proud for them without intruding, without saying “I miss you”. Because they don’t need to hear it, they don’t need you there to be happy, if they ever did. You have to know you can’t hold onto people, that people move on and that you have to move on, too. The question then becomes: do you torture yourself, looking at their pages every now and again, or do you hide their posts to spare yourself the pain?
I haven’t figured this out yet. I feel the love and pain all at once and can’t stop looking, can’t stop caring. As a writer, I can write about how I feel, write about who those beautiful giants are. I’ll be writing about some of those people because they deserve the honor and because my love needs an outlet. The question is, should I hide these stories from them? They don’t need me anymore, and truthfully, I don’t need them now; but I want to remember and honor their positive influence on me. And maybe they never check my page and will never see these stories anyhow.