Welcome to week four of this new tradition of mine: Giving the nod to some of my Facebook friends for giving my spirits a lift and teaching me new things.
A reminder on what this is about: There’s a thing we do on Twitter called Follow Friday, where we list people we follow and suggest others do the same. I figured Facebook should have something similar, so here it is.
There’s a lot of crap on Facebook. Some people might consider me part of the problem and unfriend me over it. That’s OK. My brand of insanity isn’t for everyone. But there are a lot of giving folks on there as well; friends that lift the spirits and teach me something daily.
Next week’s list will be long, because it’ll be Thanksgiving and I’m thankful for all of you.
But this week’s entry is dedicated to one person: Penny Morang Richards.
Mood music (click the YouTube link to hear):
I’ve been thinking of Penny a lot this week. A year ago today, her beautiful daughter died in a motorcycle accident. I’ve followed her struggle very closely, online and in person. She doesn’t like when people call her things like brave and courageous. I can understand that.
But here’s why I have to piss her off and argue that those words DO apply: When God forces us into a horrific situation, we have choices on how to react. We can collapse into a pile of rubble and stay the hell away from society, or we can share our ups and downs so others can learn from it.
Penny has done some of the former. Who can blame her? It’s part of the grieving process. But she has done the latter in abundance.
She has chronicled almost every day of her life since her daughter’s death in the blog Penny Writes…Penny Remembers. I hope she makes it into a book like she did with her blog chronicling her breast cancer battle. There’s just so much to learn from her.
When I see other people going through their personal hell, it hits me hard. Some of it is the old fear of loss I’ve mentioned before. Some of it is that when I see someone else going through grief, pain and depression, my own bad memories bubble to the surface.
I feel like an idiot when this happens, because it’s a typical reaction for someone who gets self-absorbed, which is one of the basic ingredients for someone with OCD.
Here’s the really whacked out thing: I only met her daughter a couple times in person, during The Eagle-Tribune days. And she was still a kid at that point.
And yet, when I heard about her death, I went into a depression.
Again, I think it’s because these events trigger my own fear that you can lose everything at any time, without warning. And since we were at the start of the holiday season, that depression wasn’t going away any time soon.
And that, in part, is why I started this blog. I had planned to for awhile, but the blues I was experiencing at that moment compelled me to do something to get out of my funk. THE OCD DIARIES was the result.
Only a self-absorbed bastard like me would react that way to the death of someone he didn’t know particularly well.
But I know her mom, and this whole experience has driven home what a strong, giving woman she is. Strong because she didn’t run away from life when that darkest hour hit. Giving because through her sharing, we’ve all learned a lot about how to bounce back from adversity.
Penny’s ups and downs are far from over. But she teaches me every day that you can’t hide from your pain and problems.
Well, you can.
But there’s always another way.
Thanks for teaching me that, Penny.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and Dave today.
Peace be with you both.