Like much of internet yesterday, I spent a good deal of time refreshing my news feeds to see if there were updates on the “Disney Gator Attack”. I’d held out hope they would find him alive, knowing it was unlikely but still, hoping. Miracles happen they say. Matt and Melissa Graves did not receive that miracle we’d all been hoping and praying for. Their boy lost his life in a lagoon, to a wild animal on a vacation that should have been some of the happiest memories of their lives. Instead, they’ll have to get on a plane without their son in their arms.
I keep playing it out in my head. I can almost hear that mother’s screaming. That primal scream watching your son lost to the murky lagoon. Knowing that her last memory is that. I cannot imagine her grief, nor do I want to.
We’re were so fortunately gifted a trip to Disney this last Christmas. One we’d never been able to take had it not been for my parents. My tiny boy is missing from the photos because I wore him close to my body most of the trip. I will forever have the memory of holding my son as we met Mickey for the first time. Yesterday, I held him in my arms and thought of that mother. She’ll never hold her baby again, never feel the sweat on his neck or see the joy on his as he meets Mickey Mouse or which ever character was his favorite for the first time. Their lives forever changed by one wonderful adventure gone terribly wrong.
When the story first broke and there wasn’t much information, I admit I immediately thought to myself, “why is a baby wading in the water at 9:20 at night?”, forgetting that there is just so much to do at Walt Disney World. Learning he was basically snatched inches from his father just added to the horror. I could picture this man, trying with all his being, to save his boy. As parents, you will do anything for your children, even give your life. I can’t imagine what he must have thought realizing he’d lost the fight.
I cannot imagine.
Nor do I want to.
The moments are fleeting. Soon your two-year old is ten or twenty. I’m guilty of wishing the moments away. Dragging my dramatic 4-year-old back to the car, I’m wishing for the day to be over but I need to, I have to stop because in one swoop, he could be gone and our family forever changed. I think, what if that mother wished her day away and that day, the day they relaxed at the lagoon, was their last as a family of four. What if she spent her last day wishing it would go away? I feel confident she didn’t, vacation and all but what if? I never want to have my last day be one I wished away.
My news feed is awful now. As an empathetic personality it’s hard for me to detach. I think about it and think about it, often unable to shut it off. So much life lost, so much hate and judgement and sadness. The village is still failing, I pray for it to get better, for my children and for their children. We need a better village.
Rest in peace, little Lane. My thoughts and prayers with your family and everyone close to you. No mother should ever have to bury their child, big or small. Sick or well. I’m so sorry.