An odd thing happened yesterday.

I had opened an Instagram account a few years ago, almost on a whim. I posted images at random, and quite sporadically. A few months ago, I revamped my account, using it to showcase my hobbies and my artwork. The old posts were still there though, remnants of a forgotten time. One of the images was from my mom’s birthday. The last birthday we got to celebrate with her. In it, my mom’s biting into a piece of cake while making a funny face, and my dad’s standing next to her with his arm wrapped around her, smiling. It was fun, goofy picture that I loved at the time.

Yesterday, someone checked out my page and liked a bunch of my pictures, which was great. I noticed I also had a new comment notification, which was pretty exciting too. Until I saw what it was. The person had liked the picture of my mom’s birthday and left the message: ‘Best wishes to her’.

I can’t really describe how that made me feel. Over the past two years, I’ve mostly come to terms with my mom’s passing. It’s something that I can never really forget, but not something I think about much. My family and I can discuss my mom or events related to her without getting emotional about it and go on with our lives without that fact hanging over us. But seeing this cheery message from a stranger, wishing my mom the best, flooded me with a sense of sadness I haven’t felt in some time. It was an unintentionally harsh reminder that my mother exists only as a memory now.

This person is not to blame, of course. He was just being friendly, extending some kind words in response to a happy moment. How could he know that the moment captured in that image was so fleeting? And I feel a bit stupid getting so worked up over a harmless comment. But it goes to show just what an impact only a few simple words can make. It’s why I wanted to be a writer.

Guess I need to go work on something happy now.