Rest In Peace, Facebook Friend

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, June 24, 2020

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Someone I never actually met died and it broke my heart to hear of her passing. No, I didn’t know her “in person.” Our friendship started on social media when one of us asked to friend the other. Don’t remember who sent the friend request, but I’m glad it happened.

She planned to try yoga and we messaged about it a few times. It never worked out for her to come to a class. I’m sorry that it didn’t.

In the meantime, we sent each other happy birthday wishes, commented on posts and shared things we found interesting. Through those interactions, I got to know this amazing person.

I discovered how much she loved her family, her friends and especially her students. She was a loving and gifted teacher. I’ll let the parent of one of her students tell you about her. This is what she shared on social media when she heard about her passing.

“You were my son Carson’s fave teacher and brought a smile to his face every time he saw you. He made mistakes but you didn’t let them define him and you saw good in him like I do as his momma.”

I’m guessing that is how she is remembered by other parents and how she saw all her students. She was the kind of teacher kids really need right now.

From the things she posted, I know that we were in sync on lots of things. She was a champion for equal rights and stood up proudly for what she believed.

There was also a lot of compassion in the things she expressed. She felt for those who were hurting, wanted the best for those who hadn’t been blessed to have the best.

And, from what longtime friends posted, I could tell she was fun and funny. She seemed to love life and find joy in being with those she loved.

I read the tributes from those who knew her better than I knew her. They called her a sweet friend, a beautiful soul, a giving person, a caring spirit and said she had a smile that lit up the room.

She was in her 40s when she left us and that is young, but she lived the years she had with enthusiasm and commitment to things that mattered to her. Perhaps, one of the best illustrations of this is seen in the words from one of her own posts. I gather what she wrote came out of a conversation she had with a friend. These are her words.

“Find a passion and do it when you are tempted to engage in behaviors that aren’t’ healthy or when you are tempted to keep company with people who don’t bring you happiness.

“Fall in love with YOURSELF! Don’t negotiate with yourself. Set a goal and expectation and just do it.

“I know you can because you have a freaking Master’s degree. There were plenty of times quitting seemed like the right choice in the moment, but you proved you could keep going by staying in motion, one foot in front of the other and by holding yourself accountable.

“Get up. Find your pretty. Embrace your passion. Love yourself more than ANYONE else. I’m telling you that is how you STAY happy.”

That is some very good advice and shows wisdom far beyond her years. Those of us who knew her, even if it was only a Facebook friendship, would do well to honor her by heeding that advice.

There is another favorite post from her and I am betting everyone who knew her would agree it is an apt description. Once she posted that she’d found her headstone and it read:

“I won’t be remembered as a woman who kept her mouth shut. I’m okay with that.”

Michelle Watson, I hope you know we remember you for speaking your truth and for all the love that you gave to everyone.

I’m glad I knew you even if it wasn’t “in-person.”