I cannot for one more minute hold my tongue.
I cannot read one more comment from some perfect person sitting on their perfect chair at their perfect keyboard commenting from their perfect life condemning, blaming, and shaming parents who lived their worst nightmare. Parents who were right by their child, at his side, and watched and fought as he was dragged away from them. Parents who were living the dream in the Happiest Place on Earth who will forever be haunted by the mere mention of the word Disney for the rest of their lives because they’ll be reminded of the worst day they ever lived. Parents who will question everything they’ve ever done and most assuredly blame themselves walking the darkest and most painful walk through life for the rest of their days.
To everyone who’s saying “I would never … I have never …” let me say this:
Yes, you would. Yes, you have and Yes, you will again.
YOU’VE JUST BEEN LUCKY WHEN YOU DID THAT IT DIDN’T END IN TRAGEDY SPLASHED ALL OVER THE NEWS FOR ALL THE WORLD TO READ AND COMMENT ON.
All the world’s an expert these days. Everyone’s a critic and quick to comment. Tongue lashings and brutal commentary spewed for reasons unknown.
Is it to distance ourselves from the event to assuage our fears that the worst could happen to us–because if we say “not me, I wouldn’t do that” we can trick ourselves into believing we’re immune to the unthinkable? That by detaching ourselves from the awful, we can avoid its coming to us?
This trend to blame and shame others who are victims of horrible tragedies has to stop. This tendency to attack parents in their most vulnerable state by lathering condemnation on gaping open wounds is a new take on trolling–a much worse variety because it’s personal and truly damaging.
We have to stop separating ourselves from these awful events saying “that would never be me because I know better, I would do better, I am better.” Because we aren’t better. Most of us just haven’t found ourselves in the position to have the worst in an accident or tragedy come to fruition. We’re not better, just luckier.
There’s NOTHING good to come from blaming victims of accidents and tragic situations. There’s NOTHING beneficial to come from shaming parents who have lost a child–or who nearly have. There’s NOTHING you can say that they’re not already feeling and living and thinking in much more harsh terms than you’re laying out.
In those dark, unimaginable, unsurvivable moments, the ONLY thing we can do that could possibly bring the smallest amount of light to help make them manageable is to share love and support.
Imagine yourself standing in front of this mother and father in their soul-crushing grief. What would you say to the faces of these broken, heartsick parents?
Would you say “well, that would never have happened to my kid because I wouldn’t have let him in the water”? Would you say “you deserve what you got because you’re the idiot who let your kid play in water that was clearly marked ‘no swimming'”?
No. You wouldn’t. You wouldn’t ever think to say that to a parent who is already dealing with the very worst. Before you type from your perfect chair on your perfect keyboard, picture yourself standing in front of those parents and their children. Once you’re picturing them, suffering with grief and the kind of loss most of us can’t possibly fathom, then and only then, type your thoughts and share your feelings.
I would hope that what everyone of us would offer would be love, kindness, and unwavering support. I would think each of us would choose compassionate words full of heart and truth recognizing that on any given day, we could have been in their shoes.
The truth where we recognize that standing side by side, with arms open and kindness in our hearts is what we would want from someone else. And it’s the only acceptable response in the face of tragedy.
Enough with the blaming and shaming.
Enough with the “I would never …”
Enough with the perfect bullshit.
None of us is perfect, but the very least we can be is good–good to one another.