I can't believe I'm doing this, but I'm actually posting a "blequel" (blog sequel...get it? I just made up that word...hope it catches on). In my last post, I praised modern technology, especially email and Skype. Today, I'm focusing on Facebook and instant messaging because it is saving my friend's life right now. If you'll indulge me...
My dear friend Teresa lives in Spain. I have known her almost since the day I arrived there in 1991, and she has remained my Spanish touchstone ever since. The same year she met me, she also met the man who would eventually become her husband, except that it shouldn't have been him.
In her 20s, my highly-intelligent, beautiful, and goofy friend lacked the most important quality - self-esteem. So when she met the young man in question, she ignored the red flags that desperately waved their warnings. Instead, she pursued him right to the altar. Several years later, she would tell me how her wedding day was the saddest day in her life...because she knew.
As soon as she had children (now ages 9 and 4), she began her descent into depression. She would talk about leaving her husband once the children were grown, but how would she live so miserably for so many more years? Locally, she didn’t have many friends since she’d become a workaholic to avoid time at home. It was hard for me to be so far from her, and though I visited a few times throughout those years, I felt more distanced from her with each visit...until this past Christmas.
During the holiday break, Teresa managed to have some significant conversations with friends she considered wiser than herself. Who knows if it was the fact that she'd hit 40, or if the moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter had aligned with Mars, but with the New Year, Teresa found the strength she needed to separate from her husband. It appears to be civil (so far), but it is far from easy.
This all leads up to the inspiration for today's "blequel". I logged onto Facebook this evening to see Teresa's status update where she rather vulnerably expressed how alone she feels. (Because she knows it's going to get worse before it gets better.) Immediately, I found her online and sent her an instant message, reminding her she wasn't alone because I was there. She said she needed me to hold her, which I said I would if I could. Her response? "I feel it either way."
This, my friends, is why I love technology. As my friend on the other side of the ocean sat alone in her quiet apartment while her children slept and her husband was NOT there, she needed someone to hold her. And though I couldn't physically wrap my arms around her, she felt me.
We chatted for a bit before I realized Teresa was taking a while to respond to my comments. Turned out she was also having an IM chat on Facebook with another mutual friend, who was apparently also sending love her way. I had to laugh as I accused Teresa of already playing the field. And though she could only type back, "Ha ha ha," I heard her laughter...it was beautiful.
So I once again thank the nameless but brilliant inventors of the instant message feature, of all social networking sites, of email (not you, Al Gore), and of my beloved Skype. Without this technology, my friend Teresa might have cried herself to sleep feeling completely alone and questioning every decision she'd ever made in her life. Instead, I'd like to believe she closed her eyes feeling a bit more relaxed after having had great chats with those who love her. The road ahead of her will undoubtedly be rocky and painful, but with friends accessible with just a few key strokes, Teresa will make it through this, coming out stronger because her friends were by her side.