I am Jealous of Your Facebook Profile Picture

It sounds ridiculous, I know; but I am.

I am jealous of how many times you change it, and that you can do it with such abandon. You change it to the drink you just had, the meal you just ate, the picture of the oddly translated items on the Chinese food menu.

I haven’t changed mine in 9 years. I can’t; I am tied to it, and I fear that is part of what keeps me from moving on.

Not that moving on from the death of a child is ever possible, but moving in a forward direction is; if you can find a forward direction to take.

It’s funny how something so inconsequential can suddenly hold all the meaning in the universe. It seems silly, but the crux of all I feel really can be summed up by admitting how envious I am of the people who can change their profile picture on a whim.

I feel like if I change mine, then I am…well…moving on. Which, ironically, is exactly what I am told I am supposed to feel free to do. I understand all of that, intellectually, but emotionally…not so much.

I know that we have to live our lives. I know my stepson would be destroyed to know how broken his father, his mother, his sister, everyone who knew him, and I are since he was taken from us.

In my heart, I am stuck in the places where he still resides. I don’t want to leave those places, because he is (was) too young to be left there alone. I need to stay there and keep him alive, in those places and times. If I leave those places and times, he is alone.

We have a daughter now, and I would love to have some of her silly pictures as my profile picture, but I don’t. I compromise by posting them elsewhere, but never there, because he is too young to be alone.

In a nutshell, all of my inability to take that path is tied up in my inability to change my Facebook profile picture.

So I keep my Facebook profile picture the same as it has been since 2006, so that he is not alone in 2005 when we took that picture.

And I wistfully watch all of your picture changes with envy, because you are not living our life of living with loss. Or maybe you are, but are (rightfully so) moving forward in that “new normal” direction I can’t quite seem to grasp in its entirety.

I am happy to see your changes; glad that maybe you have a carefree life. If you haven’t, and can still change on a whim, please let me know how to get there too.


  1. I don’t change my facebook profile picture because mostly I’ve never had one come up that I can attach myself to enough to bother.
    You on the other hand, have a profile picture that is worth hanging on to so keep it forever if that is what you want to do or need to do. Change the header instead to reflect what is happening in your life now and then your lost child will always a part of today on facebook and in life.

  2. This was so beautiful, yet made me feel so bad for changing my photo every other day or every few weeks. When another pose or another happens. At the same time, I see the love here, I see the fear. And I understand. Moving on is so hard, I have not been in your particular shoes but I have felt loss that made me feel like moving forward was like leaving them behind. When I know rationally I could never forget them.

    Thank you for sharing this with us!

  3. I am so sorry you have gone through such a devastating loss but I appreciate the small insight into a personal piece of your life. I hope that you are healing, one day at a time.

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