Tuesday, August 12, 2014

From That #StillbornPhoto to The #ALSIceBucketChallenge and #RIPRobinWilliams, I've Had It

In the end of last week, I was brought to tears every time I read the story of a Northern California couple who received criticism for posting beautifully agonizing photos of their stillborn baby online.

Then, I spent part of the weekend paying tribute to Mr. Sullivan, the dear old man with a thick Irish brogue, who spent the last several weeks of his life with ALS in agony on a Hospice bed beside my cancer-stricken father who rested (seemingly) without an iota of pain.

Now Monday night, I am in tears once again, distraught over Robin Williams' lost battle with depression, addiction and unimaginable emotional pain.

Granted, I've used a lot of Kleenex, but hopefully not for naught.

I guarantee that thousands of people who saw this photo heard, forcibly or not, the too-often muted cry from the parents of stillborn children.

I can also guarantee that while no where near thousands of people watched me scream "oh shit" in front of my young children after pouring a very icy bucket of water over my head, I am hopeful that even one was brought to explore the movement.

And now, as I browse my Twitter feed and see the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline practically on loop, I guarantee that countless people will scroll straight past the number in an effort to find yet another celebrity response to today's tragedy.

It was exactly one year ago that a dear friend, one who touched many of you, took her own life in a way very similar to Mr. Williams.

For days afterward, I saw condolences, tributes and promises in post after post on social media.  Her life (and death) left an exquisite (designer) footprint on the world.  I can only imagine that which will be left by Robin Williams.

The only problem is, footprints fade...

I guarantee that photo of the stillborn baby won't return to my news feed until someone who checks their Facebook as often as I get an oil change logs in and starts sharing things as current as the first Sharknado.

And while the ALS Foundation has reported 1,000% increase in charitable donations in the last several weeks, let's face it... you are super unlikely to donate next year.

As for the Suicide Lifeline, or statistics on depression and addiction, they aren't going anywhere.  God only knows what starlet, icon or friend will be next to succumb to either of those terrible diseases, but one thing is for sure.  It will happen.  Too soon.

I can't speak for you,  but I know my world is constantly changing.  I am forever striving to be better, stronger, faster and more efficient.  Some would say I'm damn good at it, but I'm not so sure.

It is in moments like this that I truly fear how having so much at our fingertips leaves us with so little to leave behind in our footprint.