My love/hate relationship with Facebook took a sad turn this weekend with the passing of Samantha Channels. A woman I never had the privilege of meeting face to face. We connected a couple of years ago as she promoted her company “GotSunBlock.com” which sold clothing and raised awareness about malignant melanoma, the disease that so maliciously took her life on Sunday. She had a “fan page” on Facebook where she documented her fight. You could see, play-by-play, as she laid out the weekly chronicles of her campaign. It was raw and it was real. I didn’t know this woman, personally, but she let all of us in, anyway. Her spirit was remarkable and it was impressive to watch the strength in her fight, the passion of her advocacy and the emptiness in her passing.

My heart sank Sunday morning as I saw the “RIP” posts on her page. Although, I knew the imminence of her advanced melanoma, it still came as a numbed shock. Sobering is the process, the loss and reality of it all. It seemed so sudden and surreal and I can only resentfully ponder how a disease can rob the world of such a vibrant person. She leaves behind a husband and four children who loved her dearly. The unfairness and vivid reminder of our fleeting existence resonates with the storyline. She squeezed every ounce out of her life until every ounce of life was squeezed out of her. One person described her as a “beautiful warrior, educator and encourager”. Accurate and fitting is this description as she was able to turn the ugliness of her disease inside-out. She was a messiah, an unconfined spirit, but most of all, she was successful in achieving what she wanted.

I guess I’ll continue that love/hate relationship with Facebook. We are all connected whether we want to accept it, or not. Life lessons lay scattered among us. It’s those of us who choose to acknowledge them that learn the most. The irony of the pain is in the honor of knowing……

 

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