When we are physically separated from a loved one, for an extended period of time, there is a feeling within of loss. The routine of connection has been disrupted. There is vacant space in the moments once filled by presence.
And yet, they still exist in the world, living and breathing. The connection is still there, despite lack of words or direct emotion.
It reminds me of the experience of when a loved one physically dies, the same detachment from presence, yet with those experiences, I still feel connection.
When my grandmother died, although deeply sad, I felt her transition. We had lived in separate parts of the country for years, with some visits in person. But we had cultivated a relationship despite lack of physical presence. We spoke on the phone, we wrote letters. We held each other in our thoughts. She never used social media, so we ‘touched’ each other in the ways she knew the best.
Now it is I that hold her in my thoughts. I don’t know what or where her soul has gone, but her impact on my life remains within me. When I think of memories with her, they make me smile, they make me cry, they validate who I am and who I was through my life.
But most of the living beings we know and love whom we are separated from have a sort of semi-permeable membrane through which we can connect called technology. Whether that is by phone, text, email or social media, it is a way of maintaining touch through this medium.
Yet, the substitute can be two-dimensional. What adds the third dimension? I think it is love, laughter and light.
These three elements can only be ‘shown’ through actions rather than automatic responses.
For instance, I’m a fan of friends leaving comments on the Facebook posts I make rather than just ‘liking’ everything. What do they think about it? What does it bring up for them? Those comments add a 3rd dimension.
Yet, we default to what is easiest, perhaps even what feels ‘safe’. If we comment on the social media membrane, we are letting ourselves be heard, be witnessed, be vulnerable.
Friends and family at a distance connect through these membranes, but if we were in person, would we really ‘like’ everything that is said? Wouldn’t that just be boring?
I am a writer and a counselor, so words are my tools I work with every waking moment. It’s how I find meaning in the world, it’s how I keep touch on others and where they are. Feedback is my lifeline.
So, like with this blog, I always welcome comments.
Copyright 2015 Eileen Dey