Monday, October 26, 2015

Missing Ann Gregory on her birthday

Many people feel strange, as I did today, when Facebook tells us to say Happy Birthday to a deceased person.

Today it was Ann Betts Gregory on what would have been her 44th birthday. I posted this morning that I missed her and her beautiful smile, and when I went just now to look at the page, I saw that the remembrances went on and on.

I imagine that it helped her husband, Chris, and the rest of her family, to see such an outpouring of love and heartbreak. Although Facebook has many downsides, it also offers a sense of community at these times. And something useful can come out of it.

One friend wrote, "Ann survived cancer twice because of anonymous bone marrow donors before other complications hastened her death. In her honor, please register with Be the Match, (formerly the National Bone Marrow Donor Program) you could really make someone's life."

As someone who became a friend through our blogs, I know that after those transplants she enjoyed precious time with her husband, her garden, her schoolwork, her kitties, her friends and more.

Most people do not know how simple it is to get on the registry. It only takes a tongue swab, either given at a donor drive or through a kit that you get through the mail by following directions on the site.

An outpouring similar to the one on Ann's page occurred Sept. 9 on what would have been the 72nd birthday of Bill Elliott, a beloved high school teacher of ours at Friends Seminary. His page now reads, "Remembering Bill Elliott."

This topic came up today when some of us were talking about how unnerving it can be to see these birthday notifications. If you go to the Facebook page and see the remembrances, it might change your mind. We wondered how you would change the status of the page.

I looked it up and saw that the Facebook Help Center has instructions on how to memorialize a page.

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