Monday, 11 May 2009

On my mind & heart

Today, is the anniversary of my online friend Chris's death 2 years ago ... 3 months after she gave birth to her long awaited IVF baby. I wrote a  post about her last year and shared on Mothers.

I had never met Chris in real life before she became seriously ill after a sudden stroke and brain surgery.When I first visited her in hospital she was 'unconscious' , unlikely to recover. 
We had wanted to meet but it was complicated because I had twin baby boys and I couldn't go far alone. Chris was pregnant, after long term  IVF , high risk with a cervix stitch and had previously delivered precious twin girls who were stillborn. She lived two hours away. Though we chatted every other day on msn and emailed. After she gave birth we spoke on the phone a few times and texted ...then nothing ! I didn't find out what happened for weeks afterwards. 

At the time I never knew ! I was sorry we hadn't had the chance to meet before. Then I went to her funeral to honour & respect my cyber friend , her husband & son. 

I now chat infrequently to her husband on msn messenger he is now sole dad raising his 2 yr son. He still uses her email and sign in name and I get a jolt every time I see him online.

So, I was saddened (even angry) to read a few posts recently about bloggers/members on internet forums who pretend to have lost a child or others that fake serious illnesses. 
I can't imagine why they would do it. 
For the 'sympathy' it appears.
I know we have a choice to take what bloggers / people write on websites as the truth or not. In reality while we may suspect that what some bloggers write may be 'embellished' to make it more dramatic, or heart wrenching or more fiction than fact, or just funnier we can't know the truth.
So we chose to believe or not. 
I first read about Carly @ Names in the sand  getting requests from people whose babies /children were alive ... selfish people who wanted her to write their living children's names and take photos . Emotional frauds who guttered Carly. 
Carly wrote Charlotte's name for me in October last year. Carly inscribes ~angel~ babies & children's names  in the sands of time at a beach in Western Australia , at sunset, then takes  a photo. Very inspiring.
Last week Melissa @Stirrup Queens & Sperm Place Jesters wrote a brilliant post on Emotional fraud on the Internet. Then she followed it with an update. Wikipedia even has given it a name Munchausen by Internet.
Niobe also wrote about it ...she said it leaves people feeling shocked and betrayed ...
Sherry wrote about it too.
We're forever nursing our own deep wounds, but we rally ourselves together and dig deep into our souls to offer all we do have to someone we can relate to - someone who tragically loses child after child
 That is what got to me . We may shed rivers of tears for some of these people, pray,offer up supportive comments and say thank God it isn't me - but it is all lies. Tragically ever after we wonder if another parent is for real because seeds of doubt linger a long time. 

Two years ago I discovered a woman who I suspected was faking the death or her child(children in fact) on a parenting forum.  
I started to google her and tracked her through several websites /parenting forums across the www. Even on a leukemia support forum. My Dad had leukemia and passed away after after complications of  a bone marrow transplant. Shocking, was the depth of her deceptions. 
She used the same unusually spelt names and the story was a little different in each place in foreign country ... her little girl died of Leukemia ,12 months later a new baby was born, new baby dies of SIDs  one month later.

On another the same little girl was still alive but dying tragically before her eyes of AML (all around the same dates) , a son with autism (sometimes) , then her mother passed away (on Christmas day) on another site .
She was running out of people to die ... even her grandmother but I stopped there and never looked at that post. 

I notified the moderators of the forums involved and some deleted her posts, some didn't, one deleted mine when I questioned her. Most never even advised the victims of the emotional scam of the truth, despite the multiple links I sent to prove it.
I was sickened by what she wrote. She even posted links to photobucket of her alleged dead baby (while still alive) ... she had a collage of Jon Benet Ramsay on there I found .This alerted my concerns further on her emotional fraud.

Have you ever discovered a blogger or someone who turns out to be not what they say ... or suspected a story is too far out even if it doesn't involve such dreadful topics ? 


Alison said...

Who wishes to live with that kind of pain???? Even at a fake, cyber level - why wish it on yourself???? To draw other people into it and cause them genuine hurt is just awful.

I am glad that is not my karma.

Blossom said...

sadly yes...I often go to a parenting board and we have had scammers there...wanting support and usually money for children who have supposedly died or who are dying......
Lots of us got *taken* and now most of us are wary......
One incident I can remember was when a very well known member had her son die from SIDS.Another mum collected money to get wrist bands made up in her sons memory.She pocketed the money and spent it and then got nasty when she was called on it...soo sooo sad......

People can be odd........sigh..........

Natalie said...

O.M.G! I just cannot believe that people are so low. This sickens me, I already hate 'people' today, this has just finished me off. Good on you, Trish for bringing this to light.xx♥

Veronica said...

Kate from Sweet|Salty had someone 'steal' her life a while back. It honestly made me feel sick.

I think, or at least I would like to think, that the majority of the blogs I read are truth, or very close to it. But then, I tend to read smaller blogs, not the hugely popular cult followings, so I'm maybe less likely to find a fraud. Or maybe I'm just naive.

Is it just me, or does everyone else find it harder to take people seriously when there are never any photos? [I know I have no photos lately, but that's because my camera is off being repaired.]

C said...

Oh my goodness! What a socking post. It really is sad :(

I've been thinking of you and was going to send you an e-mail the other day. For some reason, Little One just seems to knoe when I'm going to send e-mail, because that seems to be the time she beckons! :) LOL! Ahhh...the life of a 6 month old!

Anonymous said...

I've never seen this personally, but the internet world is tainted with stories of people who get comfortable with each other, then meet personally, then bad stuff happens. Very often it involves children or teens who are too innocent to know that their "friend" is lying. That alone makes me really wonder about anything I read online.

I don't want to get "taken" emotionally, but I'm not sure how to verify what's being written. It also makes me very cautious about what I write. And wonder, do people think I am making this up? Sometimes things are too good (or bad!) to be true.

Widdle Shamrock said...

Sadly yes, I have known people who have faked things. However, I have never been 'friends' long enough to have been drawn in too far and get hurt as I have seen others do.

My girlfriend told me her son died. She had had him young and lost custody of him as the father's family had money. I ended up working with the father's mother only to find it was a lie.

I never fully understood her need to do that.

I just try not to let the frauds and manipulators harden my heart to the point that I won't reach out to the genuine ones.

jeanie said...

I was once on a forum where one poster was quite elaborate in her duping of the whole community - what gets me is, surely the guilt at getting the outpouring of help and support would stop you at some point?

•´.¸¸.•¨¯`♥.Trish.♥´¯¨•.¸¸.´• said...

@ Alison - yes to bring that kind of pain to yourself is unimaginable- to draw on others with vulnerable emotions is beyond cruel and beyond reasoning.

@Blossom - sad and very bad.How could she ! That is worse to make a monetary gain - and that is criminal fraud.

@Natalie - yes it can harden our heart but please don't taint all people the multitude of good honest people.

@veronica - I didn't see Kate's story - how shocking.I have met a few bloggers/internet friends so I know they are truthful.

PS MY camera has been off for almost 6 weeks at Canon getting repaired *sigh* I hope you get yours back soon.

@ Chris - mine boys do too. It's ok Little one is far more important.

@Purplemoose - you know I have hesitated several times about posting something because of the same reason. 'Will people believe me or turn off because I might be making it up or stretching the story'.

@Widdle shamrock - some people will do just anything for sympathy (like the 0Munchausen by proxy -where they injure or make their children sick)

@Jeanie - I acknowledge some of these people may have an 'illness'. I wouldn't want to 'taint' the situation it by saying mental illness.
Others just don't care who they hurt in their web of deception.

tiff said...

I remember that woman that you are speaking of! SO weird.

There was another one, who said she was having triplets and then one by one they died. I was never sure if she was telling the truth or not.

•´.¸¸.•¨¯`♥.Trish.♥´¯¨•.¸¸.´• said...

@Tiff - yes that woman was 'unforgetable'.
I remember the 'triplet' one now too - it makes me curious now. I never even wondered at the time... too trusting maybe back then.

Hey it's Amy Shipp said...

Wow Trish! I know people must get bored and want excitement, but to invent tragities involving their children? That borderlines on mental illness. Just my opinion. I try not to dramatize my little family happenings, and steer away from publicizing negative experiences, for that very reason! I don't want to seem like I am trying to "convince" people of my "story" ya know? So I keep it simple and honest- yes, with LOTS of pictures!

Thank you for this post. I will probably email you, as I have more to say, but not publicly :D

Melbo said...

Oh Trish, I remember this woman and you telling me about the posts. I had forgotten her! Unfortunately, there are many more out there like her I think.

However, I have met a couple of dear souls online whose real life experiences and the grace with which they deal with them put these people to shame. You girls know who you are! You inspire me every day.

People who tell lies cannot hide forever. The truth will always come out.

niobe said...

The very first forum I ever read (years and year ago) was rocked to the core by someone who faked her child's (and her own) serious illness. I've never really taken people at face value since then.

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