“Alana, we care about you and the memories that you share here. We thought that you’d like to look back on this post from 3 years ago.”
How do you feel about the little “Your memories on Facebook” surprises that pop up in your news feed each week?
I can’t help thinking they must be pretty wrenching for anyone who’s lost someone they love, only to find a random moment thrust back in front of them without warning.
Sometimes the memories Facebook serves up make me smile, like a photo of my youngest daughter grinning while holding up the biggest cucumber I’ve ever seen … you can never have too many giant cucumbers in your Facebook feed.
Other times they jar, like the one I was sent yesterday, taken on my last-ever holiday with my husband, after we discovered we were staying at the same resort as old friends and took a couples’ snap together …
I look at the photo and I’m reminded of what a big, fat lie Facebook can be. We look genuinely happy, but we were the opposite. It was a holiday filled with awkward politeness and eggshells.
The reality was that one of the people in the photo was so genuinely unhappy he walked out on his marriage a few weeks later.
Actually, both people in the photo were genuinely unhappy. It just took the other one a bit longer to work it out.
The other reason the photo jarred is that I can’t quite believe it was taken just three years ago. It feels like 30 years ago. So much has changed in such a short period of time.
A whole new life. A whole new me.
A little further down in my Facebook feed, I saw a post from a blogger talking about how much her life has changed in the past three years. How she’d lost the love of her life – and father of her children – to cancer back then and still missed him every day, but was now happily remarried.
For the briefest of moments, I heard a little voice in my head get all judgey and say: “Wow, remarried three years after losing the love of her life … that’s quick …”
But life surprises you with the people it serves up. You can never predict when a good soul will come along. All the imagining in the world can’t prepare you for how wonderfully different they will be to what you imagined, or how wonderfully different you will feel to what you imagined.
So I told that judgey little voice in my head to feck off and felt glad for the woman who’d found love again.
I’m not sure how I feel about Facebook serving me up memories because, while I might feel wonderfully different now and it might feel like 30 years ago, there will always be a place of my heart where it’s like that photo was taken 3 seconds ago and seeing it breaks it all over again.
But that hurt only lasts a moment or two and it passes.
Another Facebook friend posted this message a few days ago …
I looked at it and immediately thought “no”. I don’t miss that person at all. I wish things had been different, but they weren’t and they can’t be changed and I am happier now – despite all the pain – that I could ever have imagined.
Do you like seeing Facebook memories in your feed?
Song of the day: Barbra Streisand “Memory”