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When Friends From Your Online Health Support Groups Pass Away

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Wow. What do you say when so many of the people in the online gastroparesis community have passed away at what seems like an alarming rate? Literally every morning before I get out of bed I check my Facebook, and I say a little prayer that everyone woke up with me that morning.

Grieving for someone you have never actually “met” in person is different. Some may view us strangely for being upset for someone online. But in reality, a lot of our “online” friends are more than that. They are our support system, they encourage us in our down times and are happy with us in our good times, even if they feel like crap.

That online friend is the one who checks in on you, who sends you texts/emails/messages and funny memes on Facebook when you feel like you are dying. I think the relationships we form online can sometimes be the most influential, most emotionally attached, beautiful relationships of all. Closer than to a lot of our own family. And they may know more secrets about you than your non-sick friends from the “before.” You know, the friends before you got sick.

So give us time to grieve just as if this friend lived next door and we saw them all the time. Show compassion to other friends who knew the people who passed and offer kind words, or maybe message them that you are their to talk. But most of all, let it all out. A loss is a loss. We are all going to die someday, every single one of us. It’s just hard when it happens to someone before they wrote their final chapter of their life, and cut the book short and unanswered.

Let us grieve them together, online, and remember their lives.

Please, if your grief is too much, reach out to someone, anyone and ask for help.

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Thinkstock photo by aLittleSilhouetto

Originally published: April 13, 2017
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