The Story of ‘Team Molly’
Later last year, the model and actress Chrissy Teigen created a national dialogue about our culture’s comfort with public sharing of death and tragedy when she posted on Instagram hospital photographs taken of her, her husband John Legend, and their baby Jack, who was born prematurely and died.
“I cannot express how little I care that you hate the photos,” Ms. Teigen wrote in an essay later that month. “How little I care that it’s something you wouldn’t have done. I lived it, I chose to do it, and more than anything, these photos aren’t for anyone but the people who have lived this or are curious enough to wonder what something like this is like. These photos are only for the people who need them.”
Laurie Kilmartin, a writer for “Conan,” live-tweeted her mother’s last days before she died from complications of coronavirus in June. Ms. Kilmartin had tweeted about her father’s deterioration and death from lung cancer in 2014 and felt even more an impetus to do so as her mother was dying, because of the combination of grief and isolation. “What’s so awful about Covid is you’re completely alone,” she said. “All you have is your phone.”
Ms. Kilmartin followed Ms. Steinsapir’s story on Twitter and understood, from her own experiences, the desire to share in real time. “In a normal situation there would be 20 family members rotating in to support her and her husband,” Ms. Kilmartin said. “I’m glad she had the internet to hold her hand.”
Ms. Steinsapir also explained to her followers why she was letting strangers in on the experience. “Writing and sharing my pain helps to lessen it,” she wrote. “When I’m sitting here in this sterile room hour after hour, your messages of hope make me feel less alone. Even my husband, who is very private, likes reading them.”
In what became a short-form diary, Ms. Steinsapir provided unvarnished description of the realities of witnessing a medical crisis, marked by endless hours of waiting for her daughter to wake up that are then punctured by sudden calamity.