Facebook, other websites transforming into new grieving and recovery ground for families
"What would the group do if someone was suicidal?" she said. "That doesn't happen very often, but it could happen."
She also said there are some aspects of a human relationship that can't be formed online.
"You don't want people to engage online to the exclusion of human, face-to-face, contact," she said. "What a lonely person needs is people. Even the best Internet group, even the best one, is no substitute for a human hug or a human handshake or having a...Coke with a person who can look you in the eyes and offer support."
Ken Hansen, Unified Police detective, said participants in online groups should be careful.
"If you open up your life or your Facebook to strangers, you never know what's going to happen," he said.
Facebook does regulate pages and groups, but sometimes false identities are created, he said. Supporters are urged to do their research, set their privacy settings accordingly and contact law enforcement if they are still unsure about a group or page.
"Certainly you can appreciate someone going through that (difficult situation) and maybe provide support, but I would be careful before I did anything else," he said.
Greene said she was shocked at how much attention her Facebook page received.
"There were, at one point, like 800 members to it," she said.
What began as a way to share Katelynn's status after heart surgery, quickly became more. It was one of her only contacts with the world outside when she was in the hospital.
"I could just go and I could type," she said. It becomes a place where she shared more than just updates — she shared her fears, hopes and faith.
"It ended up becoming... sharing more than I meant to," she said.
Problems with her hip and back left Greene grocery shopping in a wheelchair just two weeks after her daughter's death.
She felt upset and alone. She felt robbed that she had to do everyday tasks in the wake of such grief.
A stranger approached her and asked Greene why she was in a wheelchair. The woman helped Greene with her shopping and offered an inspiring story of a women who recently lost her child and was in a wheelchair.
"She started telling my story," Greene said. "That woman that she's finding inspiration in was me."
In that moment Greene said she realized Facebook had allowed her to emit her purest feelings, rather than the negative ones she felt that day in the grocery store.
"How do you explain the value of people who reach out to you?" she asked. Facebook "gave me some support that was really valuable."
A place of understanding
Deverall uses the page to rally support for autistic-friendly causes, post questions about safety for their children, or about events that welcome kids with special needs.
And sometimes, she likes to post something to keep lighten the mood — something that only moms with kids with autism can relate to.
"Here's to the caretakers, the poop whisperers, the up-all-nighters. Here's to you, autism mom. Rock on, woman," a post from Feburary 13.
"Some moms are a little overdramatic, but it's a place where you can say these things and not be judged because we can all relate in on way or another," she said. "We definitely understand."
Deverall's son will soon be starting kindergarten. She knows where to turn with questions. It's the kind of support she said she can't get anywhere else, and it's available 24-7 for uplifting messages like, "You will get through the day," or "we had that yesterday and we're alive today."
Social workers told Clayerie her as Presley started maintenance treatments, month 11 of months of a two-and-a-half-year treatment for leukemia patients, some families and friends would stop calling.
"It's kind of true," she said. "Most support now is with other cancer moms. They understand how long cancer treatment is."
Clayerie said sometimes cancer moms pull away. They want to take a step back into "normal life."
"We try to be normal, we try to ignore," she said — that cancer isn't apart of their lives. "But after a while it comes back."
It comes back with each fever that requires a trip to the emergency room instead of a simple pain reliving medication. Or a playdate canceled because their child's white blood cell count isn't where it should be.
"Little things become big things," she said. "It's not just like a normal kid."
She said she and the other cancer moms always come back together. For their own support and to support others.
"We can't not know how the other cancer kids are doing," she said.
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