Death, social media and sustainment

A young man died today. I didn’t know him. I should know his parents. They go to my church, we are members of the same social club, we have both been on the Emmaus Walk and have many mutual friends but somehow I never really got to know more than their names.

However, I knew on Friday about their son’s tragic diving accident that happened that day. Mutual friends on Facebook posted prayer requests for him. I was struck by the accident as I also have a college age child.

So, it was no surprise to me when our minister, Shane Stanford, asked our congregation to “lay on hands” for this family, in a virtual way since they were in Pensacola, FL with their son in the hospital.

It was a beautiful sight to see nearly 1000 people with hands lifted high in prayer for people some knew and who some did not. I feel blessed to have been a part of that.

Social media played a huge part in disseminating the information about this event. Facebook and CaringBridge allowed this family to share their shock, dis-belief and grief. They also were able to feel in a real way the love of friends and strangers. This young man’s mother posted that they had read every Facebook post and comment on CaringBridge, and she shared that reading these stories helped to sustain her.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m wasting my time by engaging on social media sites. This is not one of those times.

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3 thoughts on “Death, social media and sustainment

  1. Erik Proseus says:

    Alys – Our prayers are with the Ryan’s family and his faith community at CUMC. We came to know of this tragedy through a mutual friend that is in our Sunday School class at Bartlett UMC. I too have followed the CaringBridge site. As it was written last night, “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.”-John 13:7 My sincere condolences.

  2. Alys Drake says:

    Thank you for your comment Erik, again, this shows me once again the power of social media.

  3. Marian Bacon says:

    Alys, social media played a major part in the church, friends and total strangers encouraging and sharing various memories of Ryan. Ryan was a young man, I got to know, cut up with and become “like a family” to his parents and Taylor. I will never forget the wonderful memories with Ryan.

    So I agree with you that social media especially Caring Bridge played a huge part in helping the Edwards and others express self in a positive manner.

    Thanks, Alys for sharing these words tonight.

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