The primary reason I quit blogging after many years of happily connecting with readers through my blog is that I discovered that there is a website out there that "discusses" specific bloggers. But most of the discussion is negative and often very cruel. Once I discovered that this website existed, and that I was one of the bloggers being discussed, I tried to ignore it. For years I had dealt with the occasional very unkind comment on my blog, so I felt like I could deal with it. But I found myself unable to stop looking at this site and reading the things they said about me. Awful things.
I'll write more about what this site did to me emotionally in another post when I feel ready, Right now I will just say that it legitimately gave me some PTSD symptoms. It led me to shut down my blog, with a large readership, my Facebook page with thousands of followers and my Twitter account with similarly large numbers of followers. I've since restarted these accounts but I have set my Facebook account to friends only, and I have a Twitter account I barely use with only 70 followers. My life became much smaller due to this website. That's the best way I can explain it to you. I shrunk, inside and in my public spaces.
One of the cruelest things I read on that site related to my display of large photos in our house of my son who died, Henry. I read a comment basically mocking me for having a large photo of Henry hanging over our fireplace. Well, as much as that site affected me. it didn't affect the joy I and the rest of my family takes in keeping Henry's memory alive in our home. Now that we're settled in our new house, I have two of my favorite representations of Henry displayed very prominently in public spaces.
This one is a beautiful pencil portrait that Henry's father and stepmother gave me for my birthday. I love it. It's very large and hangs over a bookcase in our living room.
And this one is a fanciful piece of art that my niece Eleanor created. It shows Henry with wings and his guitar surrounded by sunbeams and beautiful colors. It's poster size so it, too takes up a lot of space and I love it. It hangs in our dining room. It used to hang over our mantel and fireplace in the old house.
Our whole family likes having these reminders that Henry is still a major presence in our life. And while some people - people who may even write unkind things online - may think there's something odd or wrong about having these bold reminders of our boy hanging in our house, I ask them to gentle their hearts and minds. To try some tenderness amd to consider walking a mile in our shoes and see if this might change their perspective. Trying a little tenderness is pretty much always the best way to proceed in life.