Spending time with family and friends yesterday to celebrate my birthday provided the inspiration for this post. For those of us who have formed strong friendships online, it is often the case that those online friends play a significant part in special occasions in our lives.
It’s been six years now since I was in regular contact with Chris, but I continue to cherish memories of conversations we had about birthdays. For hers in 2006, I made an effort to type out an article about the garden for George at Chelsea Flower Show. Months earlier, she had surprised me by coming online a few days after my birthday and conveying more love than I would ever have thought possible in capital letters alone: ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY FRIEND!’ she wrote. It amazes me still that those words, and so many others on different occasions had the power to make me feel as though she’d given me a hug. Reading it six years later, that feeling is no different.
The involvement of online friends in our celebrations can become such a fixture that it creates a particularly challenging issue when they are no longer around to take part. At such times, the importance of having somewhere to store memories and conversations, whether it be an electronic storage site or physical, becomes clear.
The post I had promised about ways to share memories after cyberloss will happen, I just need to gather information beforehand.
Please feel free to share your experiences of celebrating with online friends in the comments.
Wishing you peace and strength on your journeys,