A Facebook Friend Helped Me in Ways Others Couldn't After I Lost My Mom to Cancer


My mother passed away from a rare cancer (uterine carcinosarcoma, formerly called malignant mixed mullerian tumor or MMMT) suddenly. It was a shock. There was no warning at all. Mom lived out of state, alone. I think I packed my whole closet, because I had no idea what to do. We had to leave immediately.

I belong to a Facebook group of just 20 or so women; we call each other sisters. We share life’s ups and downs and everything in between. We also send each other small gifts each month because, let’s face it, we most likely wouldn’t treat ourselves.

When one of my “sisters” heard what happened, she hopped in her truck and drove to be with me. We had never met in person before. She had instructions to give me a hug from each “sister” in  the group. I got every one of those hugs, and I sure needed them.

She sat or stood by me through the viewing and funeral. She read the eulogy I wrote for my mom. Even though this group of sisters wasn’t a “special needs group,” it just goes to show how important these types of groups are for people like me — and you. We need support, sometimes from someone other than family. Closed groups where you can be the real you. Without judgement.

She did things for me that my husband could not. Since my mother lived in another state, I had no other personal friends I could lean on. Don’t get me wrong, my mom has some amazing friends, but they were hers. My brother and his family and my family were all grieving. Sometimes we as special needs families only have each other online. People we have never met but share our lives with. People who “get it.” She and her family helped me go through some things that were just too difficult to do myself.

I can never thank her and her family enough for their kindness. She was there for me just because. That is a true friend. Sometimes (many times) I think we live in a lonely world. Our first priority is to take care of our family. Sometimes we neglect ourselves, but I have realized I cannot be the best wife, parent, advocate, friend, sister, neighbor unless I take care of myself. Most of my closest friends are on Facebook, and many I have never met in person. But I am oh so blessed to have them! If you are lonely and struggling, try reaching out; it helps. Sometimes when you least expect it, and need it the most.

two women hugging
Riley and her friend.

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