Friday, November 16 , 2018, 11:10 am | Fair 67º

 
 
 
 

Valerie Kushnerov: Losing Lynne on Facebook

Amid the liveliness of friends and requests, social networking screeches to a halt with the gravest of news. Or does it?

Like many people, I was reluctant to join Facebook. I thought it was for popular people with lots of time. I knew people played games with jewels and farms and the mafia. As someone who wasn’t particularly popular in high school and didn’t have time to waste, I figured my life would be perfectly fulfilling without Facebook.

Valerie Kushnerov
Valerie Kushnerov

I finally turned around after one of my 40-something friends said it was her primary means of communicating with her friends. I realized that I hadn’t heard from her in a while, so I’d better join the crowd if I wanted to maintain those relationships. I initially found that it was fun to find former classmates and co-workers. I spent hours reading their profiles and wall posts, and looking at pictures of their families and vacations.

What I learned was that I have some really witty friends. I also have very encouraging and inspiring friends. There are some with whom I have a common life experience or interest. And others who were in need of my prayers. That’s how I found Lynne.

I can’t exactly remember how we met. She was a few years behind me at Westmont College and I knew her older brother. What I do remember is her sense of humor and beautiful smile. She always struck me as a great gal.

Fast forward 15 years to our post-college lives. We reconnected at a homecoming and had a great time catching up. From that time on we kept in touch through Christmas cards and occasional e-mails. When I finally gave in and joined Facebook, I eventually found Lynne. She had experienced some rough months after being in a car accident. She had undergone multiple surgeries and was in constant pain. In between medication and periods of rest, she played board games with her 9-year-old daughter and managed to do schoolwork. She was pursuing her doctorate in psychology.

Then came this post at 10:59 p.m. on Sept. 17, 2010.

“HI.

I have very little energy, so this shall be short. The Friday of Labor Day Weekend, I woke and was having very hard time breathing. Spent Friday in the emergency room, had a couple scans, and ended up being admitted. After finding some anomalies on an abdominal CT, the drs ordered a bone scan. Next was a double biopsy, breast and liver.

The path report noted 4th stage breast cancer that has spread to my liver and bones, but not my lymph nodes, I guess. This kind of cancer is incredibly aggressive, so the dr’s are starting treatment right away. There is a specific chemo treatment for this kind of cancer… and once I am alert enough to write it down, I will do that for you.

My daughter knows that I have cancer and that there is a treatment for it. I would really appreciate if, for those that see her regularly, people could spare her other details and/or focus on the seriousness of the situation.

OK, I am at the end of my energy for tonight. thank you all for your prayers and encouragement. Please continue praying for energy, peace, and no infection (really, those prayer requests count for my family, too… they need all of those things as well).”

For those who had missed her earlier posts about a possible problem, this rocked their world. The posts to her wall came flooding in. So many prayers, hugs and love were poured out.

Lynne’s wall had this thought for the day: “Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place.” — Mark Twain. She always did have a great sense of humor and a love of life.

Friday, Oct. 1, came with the news that the chemo was being stopped and hospice was starting. It felt unreal that it had literally just been a few weeks ago that Lynne was asking for Farmville help and posting funny comments. Could this really be happening?

Azusa Pacific University, where Lynne was pursuing her doctorate, graciously awarded it to her on Oct. 2.  A dear friend posted pictures so the rest of us could join in the celebration.

And then I wondered: How would the rest of us know when Lynne’s arrival into heaven occurred? Would someone find the words to share her passing with the rest of us? How would Facebook handle the page of a person who has died?

Lynne hasn’t posted and I feel anxious. I’ve never lost a friend in such a public way. The posts to her wall are an ongoing record of those who are trying to process this experience. It’s as if we are watching a car accident, feeling the pain, and not being able to stop it.

I continue to pray for a miracle but expect that Lynne will depart this world just a few weeks before she’ll turn 38. She’s leaving behind a sweet, blond girl and a huge group of family and friends who love her. I am grateful that I will see Lynne’s beautiful smile and contagious laugh in heaven. And I pray for those who are losing Lynne along with me on Facebook.

— If you’d like to help Lynne, Goleta mom Valerie Cronk Kushnerov can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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