BY MARCIA LEONE
On June 2nd Ashley Grimm’s world changed forever. The Idaho mother was driving her five children home when a large rock rolled in front of her car sending them plummeting into the side of a cliff. The collision caused her van to roll, killing her four-year-old son Titus, who had – moments earlier – managed to unbuckle his seatbelt.
After the crash, may people who read the story offered cruel comments about her situation, claiming she “deserved it” and that her “children should be taken” from her. In response Ashley took to Facebook with her story sharing the importance of never judging another parent. Something I feel so strongly about.
In the post Ashley explains that her youngest son was notorious for doing “everything he could” to unbuckle his seatbelt despite them trying everything they could.
“We tried five point harness seats, boosters, I believe even zip ties at one point (probably not safe either) but he always viewed it as a superhero challenge,” she wrote. “On average, I would usually pull over three or four times on any given trip to firmly make him buckle up again.”
Only five minutes into their journey, 4-year-old Titus lived up to his superhero status and had already managed to unbuckle.
Here is what she had to say to the critics and to all mothers everywhere.
“The news reported the death of my child as if they were reporting that the weather might change, or a new planet had been discovered. I was thankful they reported that no drugs or alcohol had been a factor. But that’s not what hurt. The readers commented the cruelest things about how horrible of a mother I was. How I deserved it. How my children should be taken from me. I wanted to punch them, shake them. Tell them how close we were, how hard I fought to keep him safe. How we had a special good night kiss and a designated McDonald’s date each week. I wanted to scream that he always told me he wanted to marry me, that I was the best mama ever. That he built me Lego ships, took naps in my bed while holding my hand with his dimpled little fingers.
But no one would have listened anyway. I feel led to write this to all you Mamas because I have a longing to look each of you in the eyes and tell you this: “Hold your babies tight”. That’s all I want to shout to the world.
I’m not who I once was; death and loss changes a person from the inside out.
I have held my dead sons body in the middle of a highway while I rocked him and screamed – no ordered God to bring him back.
I have chosen a funeral plot for my four year old boy as I contemplated jumping from the cliff the cemetery overlooks just so I could be where he is.
I have purchased a 200 dollars superhero outfit for my son to wear as he decomposes in the earth.
I have kissed a corpse over and over and wept as I traced over every feature of his ice cold face and held his still dimpled, but lifeless hands.
I have slept in a cemetery just to try and take one more nap with him. I talk to the dirt. To the ground where he lies with his lovey blanket and his avengers outfit.
And what I want to say (if you’ve read this far, you’re so patient and so kind) is this. And you can share it with any mama you know.
Maybe finishing broccoli at dinner isn’t as important as we might think. Watch how your children eat, soak in their hatred for corn (oh how Titus hated corn). Maybe they can still have ice cream – even just sometimes – while those veggies still sit on their plate.
Learn to pretend. Get into their world. Learn to play the Xbox with them. Embrace their beautiful, fleeting imagination. Let them really believe that they are Captain America or Queen Elsa. Get in their mind, see how they tick. The dishes will still be there.
Take every hug and kiss they bring you – even the twenty fifth one they use just to get out of bed at night. And really squeeze them.
Stop and look at the bugs, the rocks, the sticks, the sunset. Slow down mama, slow down.
Tell them you love them. But look in their eyes and say it like you mean it. Tell them they can do anything – anything they set their mind to.
Yes, we must hold them accountable but sometimes- maybe grace is the answer. Maybe, just maybe, they won’t end up ruined if we let some things slide.
Never judge another mama. We don’t know the whole story, we don’t know. We just don’t know.
Go hug your babies right now. Soak in their smell, look at the innocent sparkle in their eyes that is lost somewhere between childhood and adulthood. Really feel how they squeeze you. Set down your phone and see them through the lens of your eyes not only the lens of your camera. Remember the feeling of their head on your shoulder, their hand in yours, their sloppy kisses on your cheeks. Nurse them one more time. Sleep is overrated. Listen five minutes longer about Star Wars, minecraft and Disney princesses.
Mamas, hold your children tight. How blessed you are to have been entrusted with such unique, beautiful, tiny humans.
From my heart to yours,
Wishing Ashley all the love and light as she grieves her baby boy. I know I’ll be hugging my superhero extra tight for you mama. xx
You can view her full post here. If you feel inclined her friend has set up a Go Fund Me account.