This morning I received this comment:

"why the hell would you post a picture of your dead baby online? thats just horrible."

I wrote a post in response to this comment, but later deleted it. I think I sounded defensive, having written it while I was upset. Later, after I received a beautiful supportive comment, I realised that my post gave the impression I was asking everyone to stop by and make me feel better. That made me feel very uncomfortable.

All day I have been thinking about this comment, and I have been tempted to press 'delete' on all my blogs. In the 2 1/2 years I have been blogging, no one has ever left me an unkind comment. But it seems my charmed existence is over. I have been telling myself that lots of people get bad comments. It had to happen to me one day. It really is very common, so why worry about it? Aren't I strong enough to handle it? Do I have to have everyone agree and be nice to me, in order for me to continue blogging? And the answer to that is no. I have handled adverse comments from people in other areas of my life. It really isn't a reason for deleting my blogs. I can take people being critical of me but when my children are involved... that is different.

It is easy not to dwell on that part of the blogosphere that extends past our Catholic or mothering community. I can pretend all my readers are like-minded people. But that's not true at all. Anyone can read this blog. Until this morning anyone could comment anonymously. Anyone can share my family and I won't even know about it... unless they leave a comment. That's the nature of blogging. I knew this when I created my first blog. But I adopted a positive attitude. Maybe I closed my eyes to reality.

This comment can't hurt Thomas. He is no longer here. But I have other children. Their lives and photos fill this blog. They are out there in the not-always-very-nice blogosphere, where anyone can read their stories. And all of sudden, I don't like that idea very much at all.

I understand why many bloggers post anonymously, why they have online names, and don't post photos of their families. Perhaps I should have done this too. But it is too late now.

So I have been thinking and this is what I've come up with so far... It is my job as a mother to protect my children, and how can I do that when I have no idea where my children's stories are ending up? I haven't yet pressed 'delete' because everyone will wonder where I have gone. I just wanted to explain in case one day you try to log in to Sue Elvis Writes and my other blogs, and discover they have all disappeared.

And if they do disappear, I couldn't leave without thanking all my readers and commenters, and all the beautiful friends I have made online, who have encouraged and supported me over the past couple of years. It truly is a wonderful experience blogging with you.

What's the next step? I hope I can make the right decision.

Post a Comment

  1. Sue, please don't delete you blogs! I don't think your asking for sympathy or that you're getting depressing or anything like that. the person who wrote that horrible comment obviously doesn't "get it". I love reading you posts, they are so interesting and awesome!
    Love Sararose xox

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    1. Sararose,

      Thank you for reading my blog! Yes, the person who wrote that comment doesn't 'get it' at all. I feel very sad about that. I feel much more sad than angry.

      God bless!

      Delete
  2. Sue - my thoughts are with you. I too, received a rude message recently; someone telling me that my blog posts on the terrible grief I felt were upsetting, and they had taken offense to them.

    Like you, I went through a time when I thought I maight just delete my entire blog. But then I remembered all the positive comments I had received. Now, I'm a bit more cautious as to what I write, but unless you are deliberately naming someone and attacking them, I don't feel anyone has the right to tell you what you can, and cannot, write on your own blog.

    Having said that, yes, it is our responsibility to ensure we post good, wholesome, uplifting things on our blogs - but this is your blog, about your family, and a big part of that is losing Thomas.

    So, to write or not to write? That is the question. I've often wondered about it also, knowing that anyone can see what you write, download your photographs, etc. It is of great concern. But we also can reach so many people, and perhaps bring sme joy or understanding into their day.

    I love reading your blogs, and I hope you don't delete them! But of course, you must make the right decision for your family; and only prayer can answer that one.

    God bless,

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    1. Linda,

      Blogging has its ups and downs. Unfortunately, I think we all have times when we feel like deleting our blogs. I could so easily have done that yesterday, but had to tell myself that it is better to think and pray before doing something so drastic.

      I am very sorry to hear you've had a rude comment recently too. I wonder why such people bother to stop and comment when they could just keep moving, and find a blog more to their liking.

      You said you feel more cautious about what you now write. it is sad we have to do this, when these are our blogs. I am so certain that I did nothing wrong posting Thomas' photos, and I am sure your posts were okay to post too. "unless you are deliberately naming someone and attacking them, I don't feel anyone has the right to tell you what you can, and cannot, write on your own blog." That is so true!

      I am still thinking and praying about this situation but your comments are helping me. Thank you so much for supporting my blog.

      God bless!

      Delete
  3. I worry about not knowing who's reading my blog, too. I'm not sure what the answer is but it seems that the devil would love to destroy a faith-filled blog like yours.

    Please keep blogging somehow! You're a wonderful story-teller:-)
    xxx

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    1. Vicky,

      "it seems that the devil would love to destroy a faith-filled blog like yours." Thank you for this thought! We tend to think the devil wouldn't be interested in our little attempts to connect with others and share. I guess he could be interested in all of us.

      Thank you for your kind words. I certainly enjoy story-telling. I would definitely miss this if I do delete my blogs.

      God bless!

      Delete
  4. I really am terribly sorry you have been left a comment by someone like that. Grrr, where have the manners gone? If someone doesn't agree with a posting then simply click and go elsewhere. What gives them the right to feel that they have the right to make disparaging remarks. Live and let live!
    As for the photo, is it more respectful to hide it away in a drawer never to be acknowledged or talked over for fear of offending someone? No, hold your head up and be proud that you have the courage to share such a beautiful and precious memory with the world! There is absolutely nothing wrong with that photo for heavens sake!
    Some of your children are still young and I understand your need to protect them but I for one would be sad if you vanished and I think as they get older your children would be sad too that you took a step back from something you love doing and that helps others.
    You take care and use this time to pray and hopefully you will receive a message that will help you decide what to do. Kia kaha xxxxx

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    Replies
    1. Lisa,

      I guess we all have different opinions and we see things from different points of view. We can't always agree with each other, but as you said, we could use our manners when commenting. I wouldn't mind a politely worded difference of opinion. We could then open up a civilised exchange of ideas, and enjoy a discussion. I really feel, as a society, we are sadly lacking in communication skills.

      Thank you for your supportive words about Thomas' photo. Actually, the photo I think the commenter was objecting to isn't the one in my side bar, but one where Thomas is in his coffin. It is confronting, I admit. When I saw my little baby in his casket my heart skipped many beats. But the photo is just a photo. Thomas looks just like a sleeping baby. I saw my baby in real life in that situation. I don't really think it hurts for other people to realise, via a photo, what it was like for me and many, many other bereaved parents. By sharing each other's experiences we increase in compassion for each other. I also thought if I posted my photos, it might help other grief parents to share their own photos. It really is necessary for us to share our children's photos because we can't share our actual children. Well, these were my thoughts when I posted the photos!

      I am very encouraged by your words, Lisa. If I stop blogging I would miss you and all my friends. Lots to think about!

      Thank you so much for your comment which is helping me enormously.

      God bless!

      Delete
  5. For what it's worth, the comment would have tensed me up, too. What I'm learning, though, is to remember that the way people react to you is because of what THEY'VE been through - not something wrong with you, yourself, or what you've done.

    People carry a lot of baggage, and sometimes it gets thrown at us when we aren't expecting it. But it has nothing to do with us, and we don't have to catch it. Set it down, move away, and remember all the people your posts have helped.

    (hugs)

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    1. Angela,

      "Set it down, move away, and remember all the people your posts have helped." Thank you! This is such a sensible suggestion. I guess the most upsetting word was 'horrible'. I don't like to think of Thomas in association with this word. I just felt so sad yesterday. Sad for Thomas and sad that the commenter didn't understand. Yes, that person hasn't had my experience. If he/she had, then they would certainly 'get it'.

      Thank you for the hugs. I appreciate them very much.

      God bless!

      Delete
  6. Sue- It can be so hard to process difficult comments. I got one once that I thought was even somewhat threatening. The commenter accused me of ruining my children's lives by choosing to home school them. The comment seemed so personal. My husband told me later, after I had deleted the offending comment, that it wasn't really threatening but when someone attacks (even with words) the life you are living and the choices you make for your family it hurts- A LOT.

    I have always been very guarded with my children's names and photos. But, I have also always admired those who are not so guarded. It is definitely easier to build relationships with others online if you are willing to let others in more and share with them all about your life. I always hold back at least a little of that by referring to my children as "my oldest" of "my little one". and pictures of the backs of their heads are just not the same as pictures of their smiling faces. I think all the time about relaxing my own rules about it all.

    Anyway, what I am trying to say is-- it is not an easy choice but I hope you'll stick around cyberspace and keep sharing.

    God Bless, Kari

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    Replies
    1. Kari,

      When others are critical it does hurt very much. It hurts even more if our children are involved. I am trying to see past the hurt, and not react out of that hurt, but make a balanced decision about whether to continue to blog. It is so easy to be reactive and make a quick decision that would later be regretted.

      Your comment yesterday helped me enormously. I was able to put my feelings aside and turn my thoughts to my children's safety. You also made me think more about the commenter. Yes, may God bless him/her. Thank you so much for that comment, Kari. I did appreciate it even though it was deleted along with my post.

      Your precautions sound very wise. Maybe I should have thought more about doing something similar at the start of my blogging career. It is too late now though!

      I hope I will still be around to share too! Thank you so much for giving me more thoughts to muse over.

      God bless!

      Delete
  7. Sue, I am so sorry someone left a mean spirited comment. One idea for your blogs is to talk more anonymously about y our children if you want to protect them more. I try to do this when I blog. I often say "daughter" or "oldest son" instead of their name. But I sometimes post pics. However, the chances of another unkind comment are low and you can always just delete them. I hope you will not delete your blogs; I enjoy reading them.

    Gina

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    Replies
    1. Gina,

      First I must apologise for taking away the anonymous option for commenting. I know you normally use this. I think that if someone wants to leave an adverse comment then they should be brave enough to add their name to it. I was getting a lot of spam comments too, so maybe I won't any more.

      I have been thinking about writing more anonymously about my children but feel it is too late. I have nearly 400 stories on this blog and close to 200 on my unschooling blog. All these stories would have to be rewritten or deleted for it to work. I really can't see myself doing all that rewriting.

      You are probably correct about the chances of getting another unkind comment. It did take 2 1/2 years to receive this one!

      Gina, sometimes it is hard to believe anyone is so interested in what I write, that my blogs would be missed. I don't like to elevate my own importance. So it really is heart warming when you tell me you enjoy my blogs and would miss them. Thank you so much!

      Thank you for your kind comment.

      God bless!

      Delete
  8. Oh, that was what happened to your first post today. I hope you're praying for your anonymous reader-with-bad-taste, that s/he newer have to experience things like that.
    And please don't delete your blog. You'll leave behind a Sue Elvis shaped hole in the Internets and in out hearts.
    Love and prayers

    Charlotte

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Uglemor,

      That first post... it is easy to delete posts but not to delete the notifications in readers' feeds! I was wondering if anyone was wondering...

      The week before Thomas' anniversary last year, I wrote about a lady who, when she saw my book, said I should just have picked myself up and carried on, instead of writing about my experience. She thought I was full of self-pity. Someone told me that story, and my first reaction was to smile. My second reaction was to feel very sad for the woman because she obviously hadn't experienced grief but I know she will eventually. Then she will understand.

      I think you are quite right about my anonymous commenter. He/she has obviously never experienced the loss of a child. Understanding will come if they ever do. It is sad some people don't make more of an effort to put themselves in other people's shoes. Not every person who reads my blog has lost a child, but all I feel from my friends is support and love.

      "a Sue Elvis shaped hole" If I delete my blog, I am going to cry. You are making me feel so loved. Thank you, Uglemor. Thank you for your prayers and love. I do appreciate them very much.

      God bless!

      Delete
  9. I don't often comment here. This time I will.

    The answer is simple. Delete your Blog and the devil will laugh. He has won as another Christian Blog is off the Internet.

    Keep your Blog going; and trust in God.

    I've received unwelcome comments as have many other Bloggers. I've turned off "anonymous". You may wish to try that.

    God bless you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Victor,

      It is lovely to see you on my blog. You used to comment all the time here. There is no rule to say you can't stop by and add to the conversation if you have something to say. Today I am glad you took the time to comment. Thank you for your words which are very wise, and which I will think about carefully.

      I have already turned off the anonymous option. Yes, maybe that will help enormously. Thank you for sharing that you've also received such comments.

      With prayers for you and your family.

      God bless!

      Delete
  10. Hmmm...whoever that was, was intending to elicit a negative response by you. It was meant to be rude and unkind and yes, we all have probably received upsetting comments. But to target your precious Thomas? That crosses a line into being cruel and it's interesting that it happened during Lent. To draw your attention off of Jesus, or your family, or your daily activities...I do believe, it's a trap being set to rile you up.

    But, there is truth in the fact, that people you don't know, have access to your blog, your family stories and photos. I do think there's a way to set it up where only invited people can have access to your blog and comment. Do check into that before deciding to disappear! God bless!

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    1. Noreen,

      You are quite right that the comment hurt more because it involved Thomas. It is intruding on my precious memories of him.

      I have had a few incidents recently that have been a bit difficult, just little things but they feel like attacks. And yes, this comment has taken my focus off my planned Lenten blogging break and the quiet time I anticipated. My Lent hasn't started as I imagined! But maybe it wasn't meant to be easy. Perhaps God just wants me to deal with these things and learn from them, and offer them up, and realise there are more important things than my own plans.

      I have been going over all my blogging options, and making my blog private did come to mind. I guess that would be better than deleting my blogs all together.

      Thank you so much for your comment, Noreen.

      God bless!

      Delete
  11. Sue,
    I just don't know what gets into people sometimes. That comment was worst than rude. Please don't let one person's ugly words deter you from doing what you love. Noreen made a good point in her comment - it's interesting that it happened during Lent and it WAS very cruel. Can you imagine the tortured inner life a person who would make such a comment must have? I think too that the person must have a great fear of death to be troubled like this by a photo.

    I respect your decision no matter what you do but please don't delete them. My prayers are with you.

    God bless.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Mary,

      I suppose the person who posted that comment didn't even consider the suffering bereaved people go through. It was a very self centred comment: how does this affect me? Obviously my photo intruded on that person's own world and that's all that mattered. I also think some people do not choose their words very well. You are so right: the comment was both rude and cruel. Perhaps they don't care if their words hurt.

      "Can you imagine the tortured inner life a person who would make such a comment must have?" I keep thinking that one day this person may understand. God has a way of teaching us what we need to know by allowing circumstances we think we can't or don't want to face. I know... God is always teaching me through experience!

      I assume the comment wasn't written by a regular reader. Maybe he/she commented and moved off, never to return. But if he/she does return I wonder what the commenter will make of my resulting posts and all these comments.

      Mary, I am overwhelmed by everyone's support both of this incident, and my blog in general. Thank you! I really appreciate your prayers.

      God bless you!

      Delete
  12. Hi Sue - I saw your post today before you pushed "delete" and feel blessed that I did. I think sometimes that there are many people who manage to avoid tragedy, but then I think it goes deeper - there is a lack of understanding and empathy. Last Saturday (and the one before that) I overheard some really insensitive comments that illustrated this rather sad state of affairs. I hope my children learn to think outside their own little world...
    On the other hand, isn't it ironic that we live in the culture of death yet want to ignore any actual evidence of death itself?
    Thomas looked serenely beautiful in the photo you posted and I'm glad you share him with us!

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    1. Beate,

      It is so lovely to see you here. I've been thinking about you and praying, and hoping life isn't quite as hectic as it was.

      Lack of understanding and empathy... People get wrapped up in their own worlds and don't seem to care about anything that doesn't affect them personally. It is so sad. "I hope my children learn to think outside their own little world..." Yes! That is so important. If our children love and care for and have compassion for others, they will affect so many people in a very positive way. I don't think there is any doubt... your children will certainly do this.

      "isn't it ironic that we live in the culture of death yet want to ignore any actual evidence of death itself?" That is such an interesting observation. People are so good at closing their eyes to everything they don't want to see.

      Thank you for sharing Thomas, Beate. I am sad I don't have any better quality photos. Mine aren't really very good at all, but I am just grateful I do have a few pictures of him. Some mothers have nothing to remember their children by.

      God bless!

      Delete
  13. Hi Sue,

    I have been reading your blog for sometime, but I have never commented, but today you struck a soft spot in my heart, I feel so sorry for you having someone write something as mean as that about your dear son who you love so much. I can hardly believe that someone would do that, it is such an insult and it must have up set you dearly. I am praying for you and for this peron who so meanly insulted you.

    My best wishes for you,

    Ruth

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    Replies
    1. Ruth,

      Thank you so much for stopping by. I am so glad you did.

      The comment did upset me a bit. Mostly it made me feel very sad. For a moment I wished Thomas hadn't died and hadn't needed a coffin. Then there'd be no reason for posting photos of him taken after his death. And no one would have left such a rude comment. I also felt sad that some people have so little empathy. Anyway, I feel better now! I have had so many beautiful comments, how can I complain?

      Thank you so much for your prayers. And thank you for your comment. I hope you will stop by another time to say hello again.

      God bless!

      Delete
  14. I was able to read the post in my reader before you deleted it. I also found the photo of Thomas on life sport more distressing than the one after he had passed away. He looked at peace. I think it is hard to face death...it makes the most secure person uncomfortable, but I would not feel bad about posting photos of your baby. I have never lost a child, but I have appreciated everything you have shared about loss and grief. I have many friends who have had miscarriages, babies who died a few hours after birth, and also children who have died at a young age. I wouldn't know how to relate to these women, my friends, if I didn't have your thoughts to read and ponder. And I can't help but think that if I lose a child one day, I will be better prepared and able to have hope because of your example. God bless you, my dear friend.

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    Replies
    1. Elisa,

      I forgot about the post being in the reader! I agree with you: it's much more distressing to see a baby struggling for life than look at a peaceful picture taken after death. There were so many moments when I wanted to let Thomas go, turn off the life support system, so he could give up struggling to live. But just as quickly I rejected those thoughts, because I knew I wanted him so much. I had to let the doctors fight for his life until the end.

      Years ago before I lost Thomas, I assumed child loss was fairly rare, but now I know it isn't at all. So many mothers don't say much about their losses. Perhaps they don't feel they have permission to talk about such things. Yes, society generally doesn't want to talk about death.

      Good friends who are willing to listen and accept are invaluable. I was blessed with many such friends, and it sounds like this is the type of friend you are too. It can't hurt to share other people's grief experiences, can it? It all helps us to understand each other and grow in compassion.

      Elisa, may God bless you too!

      Delete
  15. Someone else mentioned the Incorruptibles... Heaven's to Betsy, what about the crucifixes? Jesus is dead on the cross, and we have images of that all over the place... homes, churches, and on and on!!

    Some people are just hateful and mean and ugly... and possibly sent by the devil himself meant to try and stop you from sharing with and thusly helping so many others! Victor is right. PLEASE don't stop posting your blogs and don't delete anything!

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    1. Susan,

      Crucifixes? Yes! We all have them in our homes. It is sad though that the Protestants have taken Jesus' body off their crucifixes and turned them into crosses. Perhaps they don't like to dwell on the death and suffering of Jesus,and consequently on our own need to accept suffering. I heard that some Catholic schools removed their crucifixes so they wouldn't frighten children. Isn't that ridiculous? Some people lack understanding.

      Some people are hateful, mean and ugly. That is true. I recoil from such evil sometimes. But at the same time I am very grateful God has brought me to where I am. I was Godless at one time. I could have ended up with no understanding about the death, suffering... the real meaning of life. I sometimes ponder why God chose to bestow His grace on me. Surely I was unworthy. I still am.

      Susan, I won't be deleting my blogs after all. Thank you for asking me not to. I shall just pray that all will be okay and my children will remain safe. Everything in life has a risk I guess, and we need God's protection whatever we do.

      God bless!

      Delete
  16. Sue, I'm so sorry that someone could be so mean. I personally fell in love with Thomas seeing those beautiful pictures...I cried and I loved. That post drew me in and now I consider you one of my sisters in Christ...you understand!

    You have a ministry here Sue. This morning, I was feeling rather sorry for myself after reading a post on another woman's blog. I intended to email you because I knew you could help (along with God's Grace) me put my heart back in the right perspective of things. The world needs blogs like yours Sue...I need blogs like yours.

    XOXO!

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    1. Elizabeth,

      It no longer matters about the mean comment. I have so many friends who have supported me. Thank you for your own kind words. Kind words can be such a comfort.

      Sisters in Christ... yes! I sometimes say I have sisters in grief. We are all joined together because we do understand. I used to feel so lonely and isolated with my grief. I am glad I can now connect with other bereaved parents via the Internet. It really is a great blessing.

      I'm so sorry you weren't feeling happy this morning. You should have emailed! Please feel welcome to write whenever you need to. I am always so pleased to hear from you. It can be good to chat and talk things over.

      Elizabeth, I think we need each other!

      God bless you!

      Delete

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