During the month of May, Civitas Media asked its more than 100 publications to compile photos and information for a company-wide “Selfie project.”
Selfies are photos taken at arm’s length or in a mirror, with a camera phone or digital camera and quickly posted to social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or Instagram. An article inside this edition delves more into the lighter side of the “Selfie.”
But sometimes events happen that make us completely change directions and make us have different perspectives. This project is a good example of that. Just as this project was set to be finalized, a touching memorial began to brighten the pages of many Facebook walls in the local area.
On May 6, Andrea Marie Cox, 40, of Cana, unexpectedly passed away as a result of a rare blood disorder. During the memorial service, Michelle Reece Austin and April Surratt pooled together photos of Cox from their Facebook pages. In the days following the service, Cox’s close friend Kerry Crowley posted a message on her Facebook page that immediately began to capture a wide response on the social media website.
“If you were at Andrea’s services you know that my girl was the Queen of Selfies, and I swear I had watched her take so many of them on the first time and just look that good. I can take 10 before I think I even look like myself and then I am not thrilled with it, but still. If you knew Andrea at all she never let a bad day get in the way of her beautiful smile and even on her sickest days she had a smile to give,” Crowley wrote. “I know we all get bogged down in the everyday routine of life…it will sometimes just suck it out of you and it shouldn’t. We should all be able to find at least one small thing to be happy for. The fact that we woke up above ground..the sun is shining…we have beautiful children or someone who loves us. There is always a reason to smile and we have to remember that and not let the fact that we need to do laundry or our house isn’t perfectly clean or anything else that distracts you.”
Crowley then challenged her friends to post at least one selfie a month. She asked that the photos show the smile everyone has and the beauty that it holds.
“I am the person I am because each of you have given me a small part of yourself. So let the pictures begin. I don’t care if you are fresh from the beauty shop, the gym, rolled out of bed or just grocery shopping. I don’t care,” Crowley wrote. “Just let everyone see what I see when I look at every single one of you! A beautiful caring soul.”
Within minutes, the #selfiesforAndrea campaign had begun, and people from Carroll County all the way to South Dakota were posting selfies in honor of their lost friend.
“Michelle Austin, April Surratt and I went through all the pictures on all of our Facebook pages and we pulled as many pictures of here as we could for a Memorial CD,” Crowley said. “We were sitting there and we were looking at all these pictures and I told them Andrea was the Queen of the Selfie. In this message I composed, I said I want everybody to understand this woman who was sick, you could never tell it in any picture she took. She smiled through it all, and we need to step back and realize regardless of the fact of if our house isn’t clean or our kids aren’t listening or our job stinks, we are really blessed to be here. I asked everybody to take a picture themselves so the world could see them as I see them, to see their life through their eyes and smiles. That is how it started.”
Cox leaves behind a 14-year-old son, Jacob, and a 22-year-old daughter, Kelli. Crowley hopes the #selfiesforAndrea campaign will show them how much their mother meant to so many. And while many people look at selfies as being Narcissistic or self-indulgent, Crowley said she believes the #selfiesforAndrea campaign will help cement the fact of what a loving person Cox was in life.
“For Jacob and Kelli, it is another way for them to see what their mom is still capable of doing even though she is not here,” Crowley said. “She was a sick woman, and regardless of any of that, she still felt like she was blessed. Some of us only take a selfie when we think we look pretty. There is a selfie of her when her immune system was shot and she was in Baptist Hospital wearing her surgical mask. She was allowed to go back to work as a nurse right after that. She had an immune system so bad, she knew she was working around people with illnesses she could catch at any minute, but she didn’t care. She always cared more about other people than she did herself.”