By Lisa Regula Meyer
I normally think of myself as a decent writer- not great, but not horrible, either- but no matter how I try to rearrange the words, this just keeps coming out horribly. I can’t get the right words to make it anything except depressing and stale and no good. I try telling myself that the problem is the message, not the messenger, but who knows? Maybe there really is just no good way to tell this story.
Last week, my first surro-kiddo had a brain tumor removed from her left hemisphere. Her dads called me that morning, so that I didn’t find out about it on Facebook (where we communicate most often) or from a third party, and I really appreciate that. Their voices were shaky and trembling as they described what little they knew, and when surgery was going to be (later that day, just a few hours after we spoke, in fact). I was a gestational surrogate for Miss A, so she’s not genetically connected to me, but I still felt like I had been run over by a Mack truck. It was the lunar new year; if this is how the year of the horse began, what could the rest of the year possibly look like?
I don’t do well with situations that have no social script, and this has no social script what so ever. A five year old with a brain tumor that’s likely malignant- that happens in those tear-jerker human interest stories on the evening news, not in my life, right? Not to someone I know and love. Definitely not to someone to whom I gave birth. How does one deal with that scenario? What do you say? How do you feel? I had (and continue to have) no clue about what was right or expected or “normal” in this situation.
So I sent flowers.
And a teddy bear.
And hopes that one or more of these tokens would carry my love and sympathies to friends whom needed them dearly. Because what else could I do?
Then social media came to the rescue. An out-pouring of love fit for the little princess that she is. Warmth and well-wishes, hopeful thoughts and promises of prayers from all over the Twitter-sphere and Facebook-landia. While few people could be with them in the hospital, but we could all be there in spirit, cheering on Miss A and her daddies when they needed it. And they could keep all of us who cared about them updated as to her progress, accomplishments of the day, and overall emotions at that point in time.
That’s really the miracle of digital communities, isn’t it? The ability to reach out quickly and to large groups of people. Share the burden of pain, and the exhilaration of our success. And at a time like this, there’s plenty of burden and pain to be shared by this little girl and her “tribe” in the digital world.