Our 18 month old son died when my car hit him and myself in my driveway. The easiest way to explain to people is ‘car accident’ even though he was outside of the car upon his death. As a family we just refer to it as ‘The Accident.’
It was a very public story in New England when it happened. Family and friends alike saw pictures of our house, my car and heard my address through the news and social media before we even had a chance to contact them. Almost all of the information that they portrayed was incorrect and conflicting, but the fact remained the same – our son had died.
People showed up in droves. Neighbors we didn’t know wanted to hold a candle light vigil. More food than we could eat in 6 months showed up at our doorstep. Cards, books on grief, very personal letters began to pore in from around the region and even across the country. People donated money, meals and their time to us.
There was a theme here. In the darkest moment in our life, humankind was beautiful. Strangers banded together to support us. It was like what you saw in the aftermath of 911, except it was happening to us.
As a grieving mother who was frantically trying to figure out what exactly happened, this was healing. I suffered with ‘what if’ scenarios where I convinced myself that if I had just done something differently, reacted quicker, etc. my son would still be alive. Truth be told, I still do over two years later. I harbor so much guilt over what happened, even though it was an accident. Knowing that we had the support of so many people behind us made it a little easier to breathe those first days. And not a single person blamed me.
No one asked why I wasn’t holding my son tighter, or why I didn’t run faster or why I left the car on? Not even my husband, who I thought was more entitled than anyone to understand what occurred. These are all questions that I asked myself anyway. I didn’t need anyone pointing a finger at me. Condolences came in from all over and showed up in various places on the internet, all saying the same thing, ‘I’m so sorry. You’re family is in our thoughts and prayers.’
It’s taken me and my family a long time through therapy to get to where we are now. We’ve worked very hard on ourselves and coming to terms with what happened to our Benny. I think that one of the reasons that we have done so well with the hand we’ve been dealt is because we have had the continued support of so many people. So much love was sent our way when we needed it most.
I don’t know what I would have done if I had been blamed. I don’t know if I could have handled it if the internet turned on me and demanded to understand why my child wasn’t alive, why I wasn’t being charged. It sickens me to think about because we as a family have come so far, most in part due to all of the love from strangers, what if it had been hate instead? How would we have coped? How could my daughter get through that on top of the loss of her only sibling?
I’ve watched in horror the last few weeks as parents that are suffering tragedy have been viciously scolded by an unfeeling mass of internet users. Going so far as to form petitions for DCF involvement and ask over and over why they weren’t watching their children. I’m here to tell you that what you are doing is causing more harm to these families that have already been through so much. How can you cast judgment on a situation that you weren’t involved in? I can also tell you firsthand that the information that the media provides isn’t always accurate. They are working so fast to get a story out that they don’t always have their facts straight when they hit the air.
Please stop the blame. I’m begging you to open up your eyes and realize that these are human people that you are hurting. They are hurting enough and don’t need your opinions or judgment. Unless you have stood where they stood, you do not have the right to sit behind your keyboard and judge. I beg of you to find your humanity and try to realize what these families are going through. Accidents happen, they’re called that because there’s no one to blame! This is how I explain the word to my seven year old child, how come grown adults cannot grasp this?
During an accident, the police are always involved. If there is someone to blame they will in fact be charged. The lynch mob that sits behind their computers and condemns these families need to leave that work to the investigators involved. When a tragedy occurs, we should always lead with love. You never know how that words that you type might affect someone that’s already gone through the worst. I can only imagine how these poor families are coping given the judgment placed upon them.
Please think before you type. Make a point to ask yourself if you would be willing to say what you type to the persons face. Don’t jump to conclusions and depend on the media for your information. As someone that has been in this situation, I’m begging you to please stop the judgments!