I am saddened tonight and wondering what in the hell kind of people we have become. In the wake of a week of horror in Florida, I woke this morning to the horrible news of a little boy snatched into the jaws of an alligator at a Disney Resort.
If that news wasn't awful enough, the commentary has been of people damning the parents and blaming them for this child's death. Blaming the grief-laden, shocked parents of a sweet two year old boy that they will take home from the "happiest place on Earth" in a body bag. A body bag. Let that image sweep through your mind. My children are no longer toddlers but I can image their round cheeked, dimpled handed toddler selves as though they were right in front of me. What I cannot imagine is my sweet children lifeless, their short life taken in a single moment in the shallow waters of a man-made pool that, by all accounts, had never before seen an alligator.
This death could have been my child. It could have been yours. This little boy was doing what two year-olds do-- exploring the world with his loving parents nearby. This Nebraska family that had likely never seen an alligator before was suddenly fighting with an incredibly strong and fast animal to save their young son but he was quickly swept away into the dark water.
These parents likely did what many of us do-- saved for months to give our children the perfect memorable vacation, because we love our children so very dearly. Their dream became a nightmare. One that most of us cannot fathom.
I understand that by twisting these stories into an idea that it is parental error, that we somehow can imagine that it would never happen to us and that allows us to sleep at night. After all, our children are the most precious things in our lives. I, too, do not like to confront the fact that one of my children could die while in their youth. It is my very worst nightmare. However, I know--as a pediatric nurse and a human being-- that children do die. Everyday, in fact. Even the children with the most diligent parents can die. It is a heart-crushing fact.
However, if this is consciously or unconsciously your way to spare yourself sorrow-- you are doing it at the expense of the grieving families who may come across your heated damnation on that news article or in their twitter or Facebook feeds. These families that are swimming in the dark waters of grief are, instead of being buoyed by kindness, pushed farther into the black waters and are being drowned in a public crucifixion of sorts--a modern day witch hunt, with cruel words thrown instead of pitchforks.
We all have a choose. Our words can help to heal the world or they can create pain--great, blistering pain. Please choose with love.