Stop BLAMING Parents for Accidents. Please.

Parents, I beg of you, stop blaming and shaming other parents.

35 years ago, a mom shopping in a Sears department store went to go look at lamps, and left her six year old with another group of boys, who were all trying out the new Atari game at a kiosk. That boy’s name was Adam Walsh.

30 years ago, an 18 month old toddler playing in her aunt’s backyard fell into a well. Rescuers worked nonstop for 58 hours, finally freeing “Baby Jessica” from the well.

In both cases a tragedy happened, an unforeseen tragic accident took place which left Adam  dead, and a toddler fighting for her life deep underground. But they also has something else in common; they had an entire  country of moms and dads supporting the grieving parents. 

Let me repeat that, EVERYONE SUPPORTED THE RESCUE EFFORTS WITHOUT BLAME. NO BLAME. None. ZERO. 

No questions asked, not one single “Where were the parents?” comment. Just a country of other moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas watching in horror as a set of parents, one of their own, went through the unthinkable. Adam was our son. Jessica was our baby daughter. 

THOSE PARENTS WERE US. 

Flash forward to 2016, the year of THE PERFECT PARENT. 

Yesterday, a two year old boy, splashing in the magical lakefront waters of a Disney Resort, succumbed to the wilds of mother nature. An aggressive alligator scooped him out of the water, right under the watch of his father, who attempted to fight with the alligator to free his baby son. Pure horror. Sheer Terror. Parents who actually had to watch their baby be taken from them, as if they were in some African nature documentary. 

A tragic and unforeseeable accident. An accident. 

I weep for this mother and father. I am sick with anguish for the pain, agony, misery, and regret pulsating through their viens this very second. And I bet you are too. 

But not everyone is. 

You see, we now live in a time where accidents are not allowed happen. You heard me. Accidents, of any form, in any way, and at any time, well, they just don’t happen anymore. 

Why? Because BLAME and SHAME. 

Because we have become a nation of BLAMERS and SHAMERS. 

And how are accidents allowed to happen if we can’t blame someone? Surly, they can’t, right? I mean, random acts of nature, unpreventable tragedies, and fateful life changing events that take place in a matter of nanoseconds cannot possibly take place if everyone is being a responsible parent, right? NOPE.

They can’t,  because this country and its population of perfect pitchfork carrying mothers and fathers sitting behind keyboards needs to accuse. They NEED TO BLAME, to disparage, to criticize in every damn way and at every damn corner, the parenting of another. 

And when do they really get to lick their blaming chops? When a tragic accident happens.  That’s when the pouncing is at its freshest, when raw emotion and ignorance collide, and they dig their word claws in, and take hold of whatever grace these grieving mothers and fathers have left in their souls. 

And then they tear it out. 

Listen to me very clearly perfect parents, VERY CLEARLY. 

I’VE HAD ENOUGH.

 I’ve had enough of scrolling through comment threads and seeing over and over again questions like “Where were the parents?” and thoughts like, “This is what happens when you don’t watch your kids.”  

I have simply HAD ENOUGH. 

I have one question for the blaming and shaming moms and dads. You know the ones who immediately  blame the parents, the ones who go on the internet and type comments like, “This is nothing but neglect by the parents,” and  “They should have known better. Who was watching that little boy?”  and my favorite, “I would never let that happen to my kid.”

Here is my question, 

Have you ever been to a child’s funeral before? 

I have.

The funeral of a child is an event in life that you never, ever want to experience. 

Now let me ask you another question.

In the coming week these parents will fly back to their home in Nebraska without one of their children. They will leave a vacation resort, packing up his Buzz Lightyear pajamas and his favorite blanket, and they will make an excruciatingly difficult journey home. A journey that they never in a million years thought they would be making. 

They will meet with a funeral director, pick out a tiny casket, a tiny burial suit, and surrounded by family,  they will bury their baby boy. 

And they will suffer every single day for the rest of their life. 

At the funeral for this two year boy who died in front of his parents, can you do me a favor? Can you walk up to the mother and say the words that you just typed out last week? Can you? Can you greet her, hug her, shake the father’s hand and then say, “ Who was watching that little boy? You should have known better. I would never let that happen to MY child.”

Can you do that for me? I mean, you felt those words so deeply in your heart and soul that you typed them for a million people to read. 

Certainly you can say it straight to the faces of  the people you meant it for, right?

Here, let me help you. 

Put away your pitchfork for a moment and try this.

To the mother and father who went for a walk on vacation for the last time with their little boy yesterday, I am deeply sorry that you had to experience the worst kind of tragedy possible, an accident. I grieve with you. Your baby was my baby. Your son was my son. I have nothing but love for you,  love to help you get though the pain yesterday, today, and for what is gonna seem like a thousand tomorrows. I wrap my thoughts  and prayers around your aching heart and soul. May the God of this universe in some miraculous  way bring peace to you and your family.  

That is what you say. THAT. And just THAT. 

Stop the blaming. 

Stop the shaming. 

In their darkest hours, can we please just LOVE other parents. Please?

49 comments:

Rachel Federman said...

Tears streaming down my face. Thank you. This is incredible and exactly how I feel. I can't stop crying for them and I too can't stand the idea that we have to jump in with blame. I think that stems from our own fears. God you wrote this so beautifully. Thank you.

Carolyn Joyce said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
She Emerges said...

Thank you for sharing this beautifully written and so very poignant article. Thank you for offering a voice that needs to be heard. This issue has been eating away at me. I seriously can't imagine what these parents must be going through. I slept beside my 3-year-old after this tragedy happened. I stared at her with her stuffed animals nestled against her chest. I touched her tiny foot resting agains my leg. And I thought, what if I had to try and tug her from something to save her life? What if I never saw her again. I felt sick. How do we blame and shame parents for losing their miracle that they love so dearly? How many times have our kids gotten bumps, bruises, broken bones, and stitches from gashes caused by horsing around, by accidents, by real life? Do we blame the parents for these? This poor family took a long awaited vacation that turned into a nightmare. They are probably enduring "what if's" that will never go away, and we should at least let them find some way of healing without hurtful comments that continue to pour salt on this very deep wound. Let's support other parents. Let's love and comfort them. None of us are perfect. Things don't always go as planned. Real life happens- and so much tragedy has occurred this last week in my hometown of Orlando- that it is apparent unthinkable things can come upon us without warning. So let's be kind to others- that's the least we can do.

Anonymous said...

Thank God there are still people in the world that has the common sense that God gave them and they know how to use it. I cried reading that above letter.
All my life I have said over and over please God you promised not to give a burden to great to bear.When on occasions the hospital would call and say your child has been in a accident come right away. I would repeat over and over no burden to great to bear Thank God I never had to experience that burden. Looseing a child is the absolute worse thing that anyone can imagine. My heart hurts for them. My eyes cry for them. I have a four year old grandson. I think of him, I see him, i feel the terror. I fight for him.
I see his face, his tiny body in the casket.I see him.I cry for him, my heart breaks for him My mind superimposes my grandsons body into that casket.This is a burden to great to bear.This burden that these loving parents have is to great to bear. Their lives forever changed yet never able to forget. My prayers, my heart goes out to them. I pray that God gives the peace that passes all understanding.

Anonymous said...

Amen! Where were the parents? They were right there trying and praying to save their son. They heard his screams. Daddy help me...Mommy help.They felt the terror, felt their baby being pulled away to certain death. Saw their little boy pulled under water. Knowing there was no chance of survival. Where were the parents...they were in a living hell. People who insult these parents need to experience just 10 minutes of their pain. God I Pray with all my heart to this grieving family. I also Pray for the people who judge,blame,and post negative comments. May God never give you such pain that lasts forever and may he forgive you for any words that caused pain. HE after all is our Father and grieves for all his children who have lost their way.

Lori Nixon said...

Thank you for your post! This was very well written and heartfelt. We live in a world of judgment, but we cry foul if anyone dares to judge us. Thank you.

Dorine said...

Thank you for a beautiful, well stated article. It touched my heart.

Anonymous said...

Where was all this outrage when people spewed all that hate at the black parents?

Anonymous said...

I am fortunate both my children went unscathed through their adolescence. Not to say I don't have flashbacks of things that happened that would have landed my family on the front page of the newspaper. If these happenings don't occur you haven't lived life to its fullest, especially if you have daredevil in the house. I am a school teacher as well as a mother; it's painful watching new parents tell their kids they should be fearful of things because they might get hurt. We as a nation need to rise above what we see everyday through 200 media channels feeding us "this is what you should do with your child," and ignore the sensationalized reports of who's to blame. The art of parenting is not in books, it's a boundless cycle of daily experiences that are magical, humorous, and sometimes devastating. We can only hope we will be afforded the passgage to grow old with our families. There is a wonderful book out there called Embrace by the Light, this is an older book, but it's enlightening! May our thoughts and prayers help this family rise above this moment in their life that they will never forget. These are wounds which never heal.
Wonderful article that every parent, grandparent, or anyone associated with raising a child should read. God Bless

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this letter. I have to confess I was one of those people who instantly thought, "Where were the parents". Now I remember a time many years ago when my five year old, who had been walking in front of me 30 seconds earlier suddenly disappeared. He had just wandered down a path, and reappeared thirty seconds later, but it was the most terrifying moment of my life. And I only looked away for a second. Stuff does happen. Even when you're Vigilant in watching your kids; stuff happens. Thank you for reminding me that I'm not perfect either.

Anonymous said...

I think your article is right on. I am a mother who is sick of living in a country that continues to blame and shame parents for everything. People should keep their judgment to themselves.

I am curious as to why you didn't mention the family whose child fell into the gorilla enclosure. I do think that family got the worst of this type backlash. It is sad to me that children of different ethnicity than white get 100 times the ugly words.

With that said, I think your article is necessary.

Imogene said...

I'm just curious, where do you stand on the gorilla controversy too? I do agree what you said in your post but I felt compelled to write my comment. I do echo the comments from anonymous at 11:31 6/17 and anonymous at 10:12 6/18 on here that mentioned the Harambe situation so here goes... It seemed like they (the family) were quickly under attack; from comparing mom to a gorilla with horrible, racist memes to finding dad's past. What does anything about their background have to do with it? What if we lost Isaiah instead of Lane? Did you know Isaiah's family are getting death threats and hate mail while Lane's family is getting more support and love? I understand Lane's family,they lost their child and that's a given. All love should be with them because no parent should ever have to bury their child - no matter what age. HOWEVER Isaiah's family does not deserve any hateful, racist and harmful backlash that is truly damaging and damning. Seeing all this, I truly believe that our society has lost its empathy and compassion chip and we are quickly endangering ourselves and blaming others. We have no compassion, sympathy, common sense or love for others anymore. I don't know about you but I feel that I am Lane's and Isaiah's mother. Those were my two boys and I love them both as my own two girls.

Anonymous said...

amen

Anonymous said...

You said it beautifully! Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

Thank You so much for your article. I hope it opens up the eyes of the blind and the hearts of the cruel attackers. I feel the exact same way as you do.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your points about not blaming Lane's parents and I feel awful for their loss. I am wondering, however, how you know that there was not one single comment blaming Adam's or Jessica's parents. I'm old enough to remember both incidents and I distinctly remember reports that the parents, especially Mrs. Walsh, had all been blamed by some people. The blame-the-parents-whether-warranted-or-not comments have always been there; it's just that now, with the internet, they are far more visible.

Anonymous said...

amen and amen

Anonymous said...

Melissa,

THANK YOU for what you wrote. It's beautiful. This whole thing with
shaming and blaming parents, I don't understand it. Here in Colorado,
a mom fought off a mountain lion who was attacking her five-year-old.
People obviously couldn't blame her for that, so someone actually
said, well, she was great, but what about all the other deadbeat moms
out there. (Seriously.) My kids are adults now, but I remember how
hard I tried to do my best by them. Nearly all parents do the same.

Anne

Anonymous said...

I agree that this is a terrible tragedy and the family should be able to grieve privately. I agree with your defense of the parents privacy and the fact that our society believes it is our place to criticize and offer our opinions publicly targeted at people who are grieving. I don't however agree with your argument that there is no way the parents weren't paying attention to their child. I am not attempting to criticize them just simply share my own experiences as someone who has been to Disney and this resort countless times. The child shouldn't have been anywhere near the lake. This is not an area to play in or around the water. In my many trips to Disney my parents were consistently warning me and my sister away from the water. Even within ten feet of a lake they would tell us to get away from the water. Therefore I find it hard to believe that they were paying complete attention to the child.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm funny that this post wasn't sparked at the horrific way the mother whose son fell in the gorilla cage at the zoo was treated, even going so far as to put out criminal history. Is our empathy only towards White parents, or does your "let's not blame" include Black parents as well, or those that "you" only feel aren't responsible for their children's accidents. You mention accidents from decades ago, but not one from just a week prior, even though that parent was found, after a thorough investigation, to not have been negligent...

Anonymous said...

This is a beautifully written blog. I think this puts things into a whole new perspective for everyone. As far as the comments on the boy in the Gorilla enclosure, this has nothing to do with race. Can someone please write a blog about that?? Why are we "keeping score" on every national event that happens and rather or not someone reports it enough times or makes a big deal of it and we'll this happened because they are white or black or green or yellow. WHY ARE WE GOING BACK IN TIME? It's 2016 let's raise this generation the best we can and steer them away from racism. Now back to the story here, Isaiah the young boy at the zoo was very fortunate to walk away from his incident with some bruises and a minor concussion. Serious injuries but when compared to death they are minor indeed. Being that the author of this blog HAS EXPERIENCED burying her young child she was only writing to defend, explain, and point out that please walk in their shoes and then you'll understand. Accidents happen in seconds and no one is perfect. Whatever your religion or faith just use it to pray for Lane's family during this time and all others that need a prayer sent their way. Spread love not hate.

-A 27 year old whose never been a parent who can understand this situation without judgement or criticism. -L.E.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious as to why you didn't mention the little boy who fell into the gorilla enclosure? The media ripped his family apart no sympathy for them!! Ahhhh it's because they were BLACK!!

Notperfecteither said...

The difference in Adam's tragic ACCIDENT and Baby Jessica's tragic ACCIDENT and Lane's tragic INCIDENT is that the parents in the first two situations were not breaking any rules. Lane's parents did not follow the rules. If the dad was in the water with Lane, then he too was breaking the rules and is lucky he too was not grabbed by a gator. There are signs clearly posted saying "no swimming", which is doing anything in the water- wading is also swimming. Regardless of the alligators in the lagoon, letting your child go in water where there are signs that say "no swimming" is being irresponsible. If he had drown, because children can drown in a very little bit of water, people would still be irate that the child drown in that lagoon. "Oh Disney should have barriers preventing people from being in the water at all". This society of "no-fault parents" is ridiculous.

I am not a perfect parent either. No one is. However, when a sign is prominently posted with a rule (and a picture) clearly printed on it, if I defied the rule and something tragic happened to my child, it would be MY fault.

I think Disney should have had something to separate the gators from the resort, since they could literally just walk up onto the resort, but that doesn't change the fact that "no swimming" means no swimming. End of argument.

Trisha said...

People who are commenting on the white parent/black parents seem to be missing the key element of this. It's about blaming and shaming not race and colour. As people we need to show more empathy to others. We have become such a cold hearted world. It happens here in the UK too. Madeline McCann's parents face this constantly. I hate this culture of nasty comments and boasting. The comments about black/white just show some people will pick fault at EVERYTHING that is said because they have cold hearts and that is so sad and shameful on their part.

MyPurseStrings said...

Yes! We live in a culture of anonymity. Projecting our perfect lives on social media, hiding our true selves. It's no wonder that we judge anyone less than perfect. Thank you for your post.

Rural Mom AR said...

Indescribably sadden at the commenters who, when asked not to judge parents after a tragedy, decided to judge the blogger instead.

For. Shame.

Rural Mom AR said...

*saddened.

Oh, for cripe's sake, I hate the way my fingers go all dyslexic when I'm "het up."

Tina said...

Thank you so much for writing what so people were thinking but having a difficult time finding the right words.
It's easy to be a keyboard warrior when you never have to actually see the pain in someone's eyes. It's easy to judge and place blame after all you would NEVER have done that.
It's appalling that people are still arguing over words such as incident v accident.
As a mother of two boys my heart aches for this family. A piece of this mothers heart will forever be gone. All the therapy, well wishes and time will never change that.
Criticizing her shows someone's true character.
Always remember, But For The Grace of God Go I

Cristina said...

Certainly you can say it straight to the faces of the people you meant it for, right?

This is what I teach my sons about the internet. If you wouldn't say it TO THEIR FACE, then DO NOT SAY IT. Period. I don't care if it is a comment about someone's clothing, or body, or grief. Either you say something nice, or NOTHING. There is enough ugly in this world and I don't want my boys being part of that.

Thank you.

Chris and Rita said...

I appreciate and agree with this article. We live in an armchair society, where every move is criticized and scrutinized. During the years that I worked as a firefighter and EMT, my own department responded not once but TWICE to my own house due to accidents at my home with my young children. Key word: accidents. And I can promise you that I, of all people, deeply understand the consequences of being careless. I've witnessed the suffering, pain, and damages firsthand and in a way most people would never understand.

To the blogger, my suggestion would be first: disable "anonymous" comments. This will bring the haters to a screeching halt. To the commentators who completely missed the points made in this article - post with your names. Or else, just keep it to yourself. Hiding behind "anonymous" enables your thoughtless, inexperienced posts.

Patricia Shepard said...

THANK YOU.

hellobrit said...

I think you are right about alot,BUT, why can't we blame on the parents but we can blame on the park and resort, WHY? I'm not a mom, I am an aunt, I not saying that I am perfect and the parents that lost their boy or the mother that almost loose it by falling into the gorilla's pit is not, but take us always to the same question. WHO IS THE ONE TO BLAME? We have to sides, the parents' side and the resort's side, me I consider myself as resort side, is not resort's fault that a parent haven't been cautious enough and lost his son in the cocodrile faucet, you the parent's side are going to said is resort's fault because they didn't put a tape around the lake and closed it and there weren't neon signs announcing that the might be cocodriles on the lake...

Is summer, is hot, cocodriles are looking for fresh water, they get into pools, backyard pounds, even to the canals by the roads... I'm sorry if my heart is cold as stone, and I'm not saying that is the parents fault, but don't come and tell me they're going to sue the resort because of what happens to the baby boy, because it wouldn't happen if the grown up with the kid at least would it have a little common sense to think about cocodriles in a pound at dusk in summer...

I'm terrible sorry about the baby, is not fair, it was just a baby, barely walking and talking, but the grown ups always should know better... Accidents are always going to happen, a felt, broken arm, stitches, bleeding nose, scratches, even a really bad situation where you gonna end up a couple of days at the hospital because a really bad injury, but from that to a 3yo toddler falling into the gorilla's pit or an alligator ripping your kid from the shore are way beyond an accident... To me is not paying enough attention to your kids, by the way, kids that shouldn't be more than 2 foots away from you

Anonymous said...

Keep writing. This post was extremely powerful. I am a Mom of two and hoping I don't ever have to bury them before me. Let the trolls and PERFECT parents find my prayer of comfort. Some day in a blink of a moment they may end up on the other side of senseless tragedy.

Sam said...

This is beautifully written. I had tears reading your words and then was disgusted by a lot of the comments. People always have to pull the race card. The gorilla incident was surely horrific yet you are talking about burying your baby. Something I certainly hope I never have to go through. The people in the gorilla enclosure went through a lot sure but they still have their baby. They still get to cuddle him & kiss him goodnight & watch him grow old. These people don't. At least that's what I took from your writing. It was gorgeous and heartfelt & lovely to read. Thank you.

TW Abel said...

Bravo on this post -- I just also wanted to add, though, that it is simply DISGUSTING that officials are going to euthanize the alligator, just like they killed the gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo. Why?

ANIMALS ARE ANIMALS.

Parents are parents.

Animals should not be killed just because a human was killed unless it is running around rampant with rabies and poses a much greater threat. But an animal being an animal, doing only what it knows does NOT warrant killing.

Unreal.

The one you can trust said...

@hellobrit - Learn to spell. Learn to write. Understand that it was an ALLIGATOR and not a crocodile.You are an Aunt, not a Mother. You have no concept of what the loss of your child can do to a woman and her entire family. DISNEY IS AT FAULT Disney's marketing material for The Grand Floridian Resort shows a couple walking in the water of the lagoon while holding hands. Many children have been mid calf deep in that water. Disney's biggest client is FAMILIES. some know that alligators are everywhere in Florida. I personally am from Southern California and I don't know that. I would presume the family from Nebraska didn't know either. I would even go so far as to presume many people even just in the USA don't know about the number of gators in Florida. What about the world travelers from China or Italy? Do they know??? It was arrogant and careless for Disney not to have multiple signs around the lagoon stating "alligators may be present at any time - do not go in the water. Other resorts surrounding the Grand Floridian have them posted. Why doesn't Disney??? The tragic accident could have been prevented with some signs, a potential warning at guest check in and a note in the hotel room. Those poor parents. Do you REALLY think they were negligent that night. 5 people went on vacation. 4 people came home from The Happiest Place on Earth. This is ridiculous and Disney needs to immediately settle and change their view on Safety and Awareness for their guests.

Cindy said...

Thank you extremely well wtitten. When people can learn to set aside there EGO maybe they too will feel the pain of others and realize that accidents happen and we are all human. Thank you

Betsy MacWhinney said...

This is beautiful. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I am a cps worker. I investigate parental neglect. Your post is spot on. Sometimes shit happens to humans. It's not the parents fault. It's not the resorts fault. I have read somewhere that all someone said alligators need to be caged, but our chickens need to be cage free? This is why you cage chickens, to keep them safe. It is horrific what the parents and family is going through. They were out of their element and thought they were at the happiest place on earth, but nature happens. No need for pick forts and torches, just prayers the family can heal.

Anonymous said...

You have my permission to delete my comment as I was nice enough not to put this on your Facebook page as well. So go ahead and delete me and my comment but I will have my say as well to your long drawn out blog on parents shaming. Everyone has an opinion and that you can not change. Had those Nebraska parents paid attention to the no swimming signs and as it was in Florida known there was gators in the water. As well as it posted to the motels there about the wild life. So yes it was their fault that their child died a horrific death and that they will have to deal with everyday of their life. Only sad thing is that it is a known thing there as there are pictures of staff pushing gators away as well as guests feeding them things which only makes matters worse. Not to mention the 4 innocent gators that had to be killed as they tried to find the child.

Anonymous said...

Yes I have been to three children's funnels. Yes your heart does give out I am so sorry for these parents I do feel your pain and I am so sorry that this terrible thing happened to you. Please take one,day at a time . I know you don't want to hear this but time does heal all. May the good lord be near your side for you and your family. Please remember one thing your family and boys need both of you. Be strong we all love you, it was not your fault. God bless your lovely family. From a family from Omaha.

jennifer reynolds said...

Beautifully and compassionately worded. Years ago my husband and I were in Italy with our four year old and 18 month old sons. Our elder son, who was a little freaked out to be in a totally foreign place, asked if we could walk down a grassy hill while we were out sightseeing. I saw no reason not to, and we began this tiny journey. It was muddy, I slipped and fell, never letting go of the toddler straddling my hip. Sadly, his little leg was broken in the fall and we had quite a different tourist experience in Italy than planned - which was unfortunate, but ultimately fascinating - and free. When we returned to America, I was stunned at how many moms (and it was always the moms) said to me, "You must feel SO GUILTY." I was like, "Actually no, I don't feel guilty. I feel guilt or shame only if I deliberately do something wrong. Had I been beating my kid with a baseball bat, then yes, I'd feel guilt, but this ACCIDENT happened despite all the love and care I give this child. Who feels guilt over an accident?" Apparently many people can't make the distinction.

Dani Mcclain said...

Perfect.... Thank you for writing this.

Anonymous said...

I agree that everyone feels there needs to be someone to blame. This was a tragic accident - mother nature.
I feel sad for the parents. I want to make it clear that I do not put blame on anyone for this... but, why is it ok to put blame on Disney then? I mean if you are going to fight to stop the blaming; shouldn't it be for everyone?? Why is it ok to say it was an accident on the parents' terms, but then turn around and say that it is the resorts' responsibility to pay for what has happened? Again... I'm not putting blame! I'm just curious why people think that it is ok to put blame in some places, and not others.
Thank you BTW for this post. Very nicely written, and to the point while still being sensitive. Be well!

Janet Reeves said...

Melissa,
THANK YOU! You wrote what I've been feeling, but didn't have a way to express without commenting on every single "negative" comment from these "perfect parents". It was beyond frustrating!

I live in Omaha and everything you wrote is what I felt....I thought about how awful to have to pack up to come home without your child....to arrive at home and enter your house for the first time since his death....to have to go into his room and see his toys and remember that day you left on that wonderful vacation....

You mention a child's funeral....we buried my brother ( a victim of a tragic car accident at the age of 17)....he was out at 2:30 in the morning and fell asleep driving. I don't ever remember anyone blaming my parents (this was in 1981). No one said "why was this child out at 2:30 in the morning)...those are bad parents...NO ONE. Everyone wrapped my parents in love and support...I don't think they would have survived this tragic event if it had happened today with those "perfect parents" out there.

THANK YOU Melissa for giving those of us that aren't so perfect a voice. Thank you for giving those of us that grieved for those parent, a voice against those hateful, spiteful, perfect parents.

Thank you,

Janet Reeves
Bellevue NE

Unknown said...

I think a lot of people questioned the judgment of this young boys parents... the same as they questioned the judgment of the mother who let her young child dangle over the edge of the gorilla fence at the zoo, which resulted in the murder of a gorilla. Such tragic events for all involved.
I believe many people want to use shame and guilt to control these bad events from happening again. I have been to a child's funeral and life is precious. The world isn't a bad place filled with judgmental people...
It's filled with people who wish beyond wishing they could control the outcomes of these tragedies... People feel HELPLESS when these tragedies happen. They want to ensure a more secure/ less accidental future...so they perpetuate blame, shame and guilt. I am in that boat too... even in my heart of hearts, i feel the judgment was off in both incidents. But I also understand no one is perfect or 100% attentive to their instincts all the time. No one is holier than another. I also am empathetic to these parents who experienced these accidents. I pray comfort, strength and support for them.
I think this article is not without its shaming, but I also feel you are sharing from your heart an eye-opening point that we must not reside in blame-judgment-making... so I'm sharing.
Thank you for your honesty and voice.

Anonymous said...

Thank for your post of compassion and common sense in this world of the blame game. My favorite comment that is written by those perfect.
Parents in the comment section of any child tragedy is " why weren't the parent watching him? I never take my eyes off my child I am 100% vigilant." Yeah right! Nobody can keep an eye on a child 100% of the time, except those perfect parents. I sure there children never got hurt
While learning to walk, ride a bicycle or any other million an one things that children. Nope those kids never get hurt because those parents are ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS 100% vigilant.






.

Linnea Johnson said...

I applaud your article. I despise those remarks, made by those who build themselves up, by knocking someone down.

How many of us as parents, has felt the terror of a toddler who's slipped our grasp? So very many of us. And the vast majority of the time, that flicker of fear is just that. A flicker. No further damage. We move on. It hardly registers because the unthinkable couldn't happen on MY watch.

We all believe it can't happen to us, and won't happen to us, and Lanes parents, I promise you, shared that same mindset with ALL of us. I guarantee, before that horrific moment they're sure to relive with a frequency that is nothing short of tortuous, they believed in their ability to keep their children safe. They were just as confident as you, perfect parent, that they would end their vacation exactly as they began it. Intact.

But those parents will surely never again have the luxury of feeling confident. They will never forgive themselves for allowing an event to occur that they couldn't possibly have foreseen or quite frankly, imagined COULD happen. We should all reach out a hand to them. We should pray for them. We should display some damn humanity.

If you believe you are immune to tragedy, you're wrong.

Anonymous said...

For all of the the commenters that continue to blame the parents and not the Disney resort - you should know that the resort was having an outdoor children's movie night including roasting marshmallows and other child friendly activities. These events were 30 ft from the lagoon's edge.
The signs posted " No swimming". The signs NOT posted "DANGER Alligators may be present."

The child was in ankle deep water. He was Not swimming and his father was approximately 5ft away enjoying the sight of his 2 year old son's face light up at this wonderful new experience.