I woke up this morning to the sad news that my friend Nancy Myrland‘s dear mother had passed away:
God welcomed his newest angel at 4:35 a.m. He couldn’t have given me a better mother. I will miss her dearly.
That’s the message Nancy posted publicly on her Twitter account. Privately, several of us from the legal marketing community received a different message via Facebook messenger, as we have been doing all we can to support Nancy from our little corners of this big country. I’m not sure about your experience, but social networking has expanded my life in ways I never could have imagined when I logged on to Twitter for the first time back in 2008; and, yet, at the same time, it has brought my entire world into the palm of my hand via my iPhone. For me, these past few years have been about finding a balance between public and private. And, I do believe, we are all capable of sharing portions of our personal lives without over sharing. How we conduct ourselves within our social networks says a lot about how we conduct ourselves in our business interactions. It is a reflection of our character. Why would we want to hide that part of ourselves? I assure you, what I share on Twitter is much different than what I share on my Facebook wall, which is different than what I share in private groups or messages. Contrary to my daughters’ complaints, I don’t share EVERYTHING they do on Facebook. A few years ago I went through a divorce. My ex-husband and I are very active in, and share, the same support network. It would have been insensitive and wrong for me to publicly or privately take my complaints, problems, and resentments with the divorce there. I was able to turn to my social network for the support I needed. Through Facebook and Twitter, I found the friends (old and new) I needed to help guide me through what could have been the worst days of my life, without compromising the respect the father of my children deserved. I was able to walk through my divorce with my dignity intact because: 1) I had a network of people standing behind me, both publicly and privately, supporting me all the way; 2) I was mindful and measured in what I shared publicly and privately, without compromising my authenticity and what I was going through.; and, 3) I knew “you” were watching me. And THAT is so important to remember. How we conduct ourselves on our social networks says a lot about how we conduct ourselves in our business interactions. You never know who is watching you online. You never know who is filing away your experience, and who might have need to call on you for assistance — professional or personal — down the line. I cannot tell you how many people have called me in the past couple years who are contemplating or going through a divorce. In fact, I spent my afternoon yesterday on Facebook, on two private message streams, supporting a friend who came home to a process server and a 400-page document from her husband who had just filed for divorce. My friend included me in her short list of friends for support due in part to how I conducted myself during my divorce on line. I’ve had my eye on Nancy and her family for the past several months. I know that one day I will be walking through her shoes, and I’ve been watching her closely. Nancy and her siblings have been exemplary in their dedication to their mother. Nancy has literally been by her mother’s side, day and night, for what seems like months. I’ll tell you one thing, knowing Nancy, I would have expected nothing less from her. Will I be able to be that selfless? I hope so. Today, both my parents are alive and well. Mr. Morse is off golfing (it’s Sunday, after all), having celebrated his 75th jubilee this past week in Palm Springs (because there was no snow in Mammouth). My mom is living her best years as well in Tennessee, sending pictures back to us in California of this strange thing they have there called snow. I am so fortunate in that I have never had to walk through either of my parents EVER being ill, but I know that I will one day. I also know that I will get through it because Nancy, Tim, Gail and Gina have all done so before me. I also know I will not walk through it alone, because whether they are by my side, or in the palm of my hand, my friends and support system are never far away. To Nancy, my deepest sympathy on the loss of your beloved mother. Thank you for the honor of being your friend. Thank you for walking through these painful days with dignity and grace. Thank you for sharing with us your love and affection for your mother. Thank you for sharing with us your siblings, who are as lovely and wonderful as you. All of which, I am certain, stems from your wonderful, wonderful mother.