Every mom’s worst nightmare is losing her children. And unfortunately, for 31-year-old Ashley Grimm of Emmett, Idaho — that nightmare became a reality on June 2 of this year. Five of her children were in the car, but she hadn’t noticed that her 4-year-old son Titus had undone his car seat and switched seats with his 8-year-old brother. That’s when tragedy struck.
A large rock rolled into the pathway of her 13-passenger van, and she hit the rock head-on. Titus was ejected from the car and the van rolled over his body. He died instantly.
Over a month later, on July 15, Ashley wrote a deeply personal and heartbreaking note on Facebook that revealed her side of the story of the crash. She said she’d read a news story about the death of her son, and read the comments section — where she saw that other people had cruelly dissected her parenting, called her a horrible mother, and interjected about how the death was deserved because of improper car seat usage. Ashley’s heart was broken.
“A news report reporting 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.”
Since Ashley wrote that post, it has been shared over 420,000 times on Facebook. People responded with their own stories, blessings, prayers, and heartfelt comments. Where once she’d been the subject of derision on a news story, she was now the subject of much-deserved empathy and compassion.
The outpouring of love prompted Ashley to respond with another post that said, “I never dreamed my little post would touch so many lives, but my immediate prayer after losing my baby boy was that somehow, some way; beauty might come from my ugliest heap of ashes. I am so thankful that my loss has inspired parents to hold their children close… And thank you, for allowing Titus to remind all of us (including myself) what our priorities are and how precious life is.”
So if you have kids, go hug them. Go hold them. If you don’t, go hug a friend or a pet or a relative. Titus Grimm only got four precious years on this earth — make the most with the time you do have. And the next time you read a tragic story about the loss of a child, try to remember the pain that the parents might be going through before you choose to comment.
If you’re a parent and you want to do all you can to prevent tragedies like this from happening, you can find out more about proper car seat safety here.