When I ask a few of my friends and family about Facebook accounts, they are firm in their sense that they don’t want such accounts. The most-informed begin to state reasons: Objectionable content (political, religious, social) or a waste of valuable time.
My response to this is that they can ignore the postings that offend them and control the time they spend checking the site.
With the illness and passing of Harlan County native Lisa Abraham, I have been observing the ways in which those who loved and respected her have expressed their concern and their deep grief at her loss. The photos they are sharing of Lisa would fill a yearbook as they recount their precious memories.
I believe Donell Nunez Busroe expresses this painful time in Harlan’s history well, “There is no place I’d rather be than in the loving community of faith-filled believers — especially when we are united in our grief.”
Facebook became a forum for those close to home and those like me who are at a distance to express our feelings and to share in the pain of her loss. No, it was never about gossip or a violation of Lisa’s right to privacy or her family’s rights.
That whole group of kids — who are now middle-aged adults — that my sons, Lance and Quentin, went to school with at Harlan High School are important to me. I care about them, and that’s what happens in a community like Harlan. Lisa belonged to all of us as does Todd.
Few obituaries can express the deep grief and reaching out that I saw from so many in the posts on Facebook. I’ve learned as an English teacher that few feel they have the writing skills to express what they are experiencing, but when those with that skill do, others can make brief affirmations of their sentiments and , thus, the community of mourners is enlarged with an attendant possibility for healing.
Lisa taught music for decades to so many of Harlan’s children. The question arises, How are we to tell our young ones that she will no longer be here to teach them?
For those of you without Facebook, I’m sharing some tributes to Lisa expresses by a few of the hundreds that are posted:
• “One of the most difficult parts of being a parent is having to share the most difficult of news with your children. We shared many things with Miss Lisa, but the love of music she has instilled in my girls will be with them for a lifetime.”
• “Your memory will live on in the beautiful music of your precious students.”
• “I can’t think of her without thinking of her smile and wicked fast sense of humor. Your Sigma Sigma Sigma family misses you, Lisa.”
• “During my last Christmas piano recital with her, I was so nervous that I was going to mess up ‘What Child Is This?” She took me downstairs to practice and told me that only I would know if I messed up, and just to be cool about it.”
• “Our town has lost one of its true gems in Lisa Abraham. Sail on, sister- sail on.”
• “In heaven they are rejoicing. They gained a multi-talented angel, Lisa.”
• “She was the kind of person who shone bright with intelligence, talent, and personality.”
• “Numb, sad, heartbroken.”
Some referred to Lisa and the copperhead story, one I didn’t know. Mike King, who feels as if Lisa were his sister as well as Todd’s, told me the story:
“Lisa came home from work one day only to find a copperhead in the kitchen! She could see it and was too scared to move. And the thought of leaving it to get something to kill it with and coming back to no snake was not going to happen! She managed to throw a pot over it and call a neighbor to come and get it. The thought of it getting loose would mean her moving. Ha! Ha! But the coolest part of the story is how she used it! If things aren’t going your way and you think things can’t get better, Lisa would always say, ‘What could be worse than finding a copperhead in your kitchen?’ She was fabulous.”
I’ll close with a simple thank you, Lisa, for your rich life and the legacy you leave, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” May you rest in peace and may those who love you find peace as well.
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