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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Media Reaction Over Compassion Regarding Grieving Children

As many of my "older" readers know, my mother passed away when I was twelve years old. She was forty-three years young, but suffered some health problems. In the end, the side effects of a massive stroke took her life.

I'd gone almost daily to either the hospital or to the Rehab Center/Nursing Home to sit with her, talk (really loud seeing as the hearing loss was great and due to the stroke). All the while, I KNEW deep within two things.

One, she was never going to come home the same way again.

Two, she wanted to die. And she WAS dying. Slowly and for the most part, painfully.

No child even remotely fathoms the thought of their parents' mortality. Not for a single second. Especially in early and middle childhood. To them, his or her parents are immortal. They are of Superhero status.

When a young child, at an age of understanding experiences the realities of life and death, usually it is not with the loss of a parent. It is difficult for them. But not totally agonizing.

But I ask you to sit where you are, as you are reading this right now, IMAGINE yourself being a child of twelve years of age.

Now, FEEL the emotions within from realizing that your mother or your father has passed away. You are shell shocked and in complete denial, because parents DON'T die.

Once shock wears off, look at your face when you come to realize that what you were told is in fact true. Suddenly, you crumble in to a heap of longing, despair, unimaginable heart ache and an insurmountable amount of grief as you cry out in longing for your mother or your father to come back. That you want them and you need them, as you BEG for what is true to not be.

That was me. In 1989 on October 29th. Sitting in the living room of the home that I had grown up in. As my father told me, "Missy, remember when I said to 'expect the unexpected' a few weeks ago?", I got hot and flushed in my face, knowing but not wanting to hear the next few words that FOREVER changed my life. "It happened early this morning. Your mom is gone."

All I could do, as people from my neighborhood stood there as a means of comfort was stare at my father, shaking my head and pleading for it to not be true. Finally it hit that what he said was not a lie, no matter how many times I verbally fought it with him.

In the days and weeks that had followed, amidst all the condolences and the "I'm sorry for your loss" people, I wanted nothing to really do with the outside world. I was grieving. Longing for someone that I will never see, speak to, or touch again.

It was a time of my wanting to isolate from the world and the people within. For me and also for my dad, our pain, sorrow and grief were of a private nature.

We needed the time together, as well as alone to deal with our thoughts, our feelings and the realities of what had happened to us.

This is why I am personally quite angry, and tired of how the Media hounds and preys upon children of big name politicos and celebrities in the midst of their loss.

Take for instance, Michael Jackson's children. For WEEKS, those children were followed around, having pictures taken of them, having news cameras in their faces. Even at their father's funeral! Those poor kids could not once get away and grieve and mourn their dad in private.

Now sadly, the media hounds have turned their attention towards the children of Elizabeth Edwards, who had lost her battle with Breast Cancer on Tuesday, surrounded in the PRIVACY of her home with her children (ages five and twelve), as well as former Presidential hopeful and former husband John Edwards, and other close family and friends.

It SHOULD HAVE stayed that way. Especially for those children. No one, no matter if it was a friend or not, should NOT have brought those children's grieving to the media's spotlight.

Depending on the type of service that is held for the late Mrs. Edwards, those poor kids will be forced to fall victim to the Media, having cameras and reporters, and magazine and news paper journalists shoved in their faces. Not once being able to privately hurt and long for their mother.

It will not be an easy road for these kids. It's going to be long, hard and painful. Especially since they are still so young.

I can safely say that even though twenty-one years have passed and life has gone on since my mother's death, at times, it is STILL hard to deal with. Her birthday. Holidays like Christmas, especially since having my own children. Mother's Day.

No child should suffer a loss as great as these kids have. But a child should still be allowed to be a child. Especially during the grieving process, which could take years. They shouldn't have to be the Media's 'Top Story' of the day.


djpr said...

I couldn't agree more. The whole "dirty laundry" euphemism is sadly true. I've never been a huge fan of the media i.e. I hate most everything they do, but even more sadly there are people who WANT to see that stuff. Who sit in front of their televisions looking for a glimpse of a heartbroken kid so they can make some kind of inner decision as to whether the kid loved their parent or not or something equally ridiculous.

I'm so not getting started on the media, I could go on forever, so I'll just say I agree with every fiber of my being and if more people realized what they're doing to the lives of others (even celebs are real people) I wonder if they'd have the same morbid fascinations.

pr0udmom0f3 said...

Donna, I can't say enough how much children who are grieving, especially after this extensive a loss, NEED their privacy.

It seems also, that I must have hit some nerves, being that you (not counting myself for obvious reasons) are the ONLY one to say anything.

Maybe I was too open and "graphic"? Oh well. It's REAL and it's raw LIFE where a parentless (be it one or both) grieving child is concerned.

We are all happy to be able to read and watch about celeb gossip. And not too many of us remember that they are people just like you and me.

Aretha Franklin is reported to have CANCER. She *tried* to keep it all quiet apparently. But the media sharks got a hold of some "friend" who spilled the beans.

Now her PRIVATE illness has become public.

As a celeb or political figure you cannot be sick, dying or lose someone in your life without the media hounds being up your ass.


kimberleee said...

You definitely dug up some old emotions for me here...

I remember hearing that you lost your mother, but I forgot how young you were at the time. At that age, for a girl especially, your mother is the center of your entire universe- your whole reason for existing. I'm so sorry, sweet darling. If you ever need a shoulder to cry on, you can turn to me. I don't know what it's like to lose your mother at 12... but I do know what it's like to lose your mother at 20. A lot of the things you described brought it all back for me. I actually witnessed my mother's corpse- but I still couldn't believe it had happened. I thought everyone in the world was playing some sick joke on me... and at any moment my mother would come home, everyone would have a good laugh, and we'd go back to life as usual. I prayed for it to be just a joke.
I'd never prayed in my entire life until then. I challenged God to "prove himself to me" by giving me just ten more minutes with her.
I offered to shave 10 years off MY LIFE for ten minutes with her.
I really feel for your loss. And I agree about children in the media. When I was dealing with the loss of my mother, that kind of attention from the entire world would have driven me to suicide. People need time and space to grieve... LOTS of time and LOTS of space.
I wrote a journal a hundred years ago about how "everyone loves a good trainwreck." However, I, personally, couldn't give a shit about famous people's personal problems. I have too many of my own to deal with.

Neva said...

You really think your mom wanted to die? I'm pretty sure she wanted to live to see you grow up. You were the most important thing on the planet to her.

pr0udmom0f3 said...

Neva, actually yes she did. She was ready to go. She tried on many occasions in that month to pull her feeding tube from her nose and starve herself to death.

She didn't want to live. And especially in that condition.

After I told her "good-bye" for the last time (and the ONLY time I ever said those words before leaving for the day), with in not even 24 hours, she was gone.

Before I left, with no one else around, I gave her the "permission" she wanted to die. I told her it was okay and that Dad and I would be alright. I told her I KNEW she wanted to "go home".

Strange, isn't it that not long after, she was able to find her release and her relief.

Brie said...

When I was twelve my aunt died in a car crash. My cousin was the same age as me. He was not only there, but he lives with the guilt that in some small way he feels his mother's death is his fault, as she was driving him to a friend's house to stay the night that night, and moreso... she was alive until he pulled her out from under the car that had rolled on top of her, and when he did, her neck broke.

He came to live with us. It was supposed to be indefinitely, but his harbored guilt and inability to grieve, in my opinion, caused him to have some very deep issues and behavioral problems that eventually resulted in him bullying me and trying to hit my mother when she would correct his behavior. My dad wouldn't stand for it, and for the rest of his childhood he was made to live with Grams instead.

I'll never know how he felt, I just know how he made everyone around him feel. He's really turned into a rather unlikeable person now into adulthood and the thing is that I think if his mom had been there, or even if he could've been helped to grieve better (who knows, maybe our family is responsible for that part) things could be different for him. I'd hate to say it has defined him, but I really feel like it has. And now we're into our twenties and it's so hard to be compassionate anymore when he's turned into a generally nasty person.

I appreciated your post, and I'm sorry for your own loss of your mother at a young age. From what I see in you though, you don't seem to let it make you bitter or resentful, and I think you should know I admire that.

pr0udmom0f3 said...

Brie, I'm so sorry for the loss of your Aunt and that her son harbors so much self-hate. And really that is what he has within him.

He never properly channeled his grief outwardly, always suffocating it within him. And that in turn, can boil over, spill outward, and in the end, because he knows no other way, even today, and it makes him turn on others.

It's a bit late to play the blame game where your parents are concerned. You all could only do so much. And taking him in like they did was more than what most people do.

I had to get my own help after I contemplated suicide at 14, due to irrational thoughts and the feeling of not being loved or wanted, seeing as my dad was all about HIS grief and HIS loss. He told everyone that suggested that I get some help that I was okay and dealing "well" with it.

When in fact I wasn't. Every time I tried to talk to him, I got shot down. He didn't want to talk about her with me and if I tried, he told me "Not now, Melissa".

I went from Missy to Melissa. And that is NOT good. I knew then I was (in my mind) no longer thought of or cared about. It was all about her.

For many years I was bitter over that.

Adoption of Jane said...

I can't imagine going through what you went through. I am 42 and am terrified to lose either of my parents. You are a Surviovor. I felt it was in such bad taste how they hounded Michael Jacksons Kids!

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