My kids have this really annoying habit of popping out of their rooms 15 times after they’re tucked in. They also have this uncanny ability to know exactly when I need some personal space, because that’s when they choose to be extra cuddly and clingy. They bicker with each other, and change their minds about what they want for lunch after I’ve made the previously requested meal. In other words, they are kids and they do a lot of those things kids do that drive parents absolutely bonkers.
Sometimes I crack under the pressure. I am impatient. I yell. I rush through bedtime.
And sometimes it takes a harsh dose of reality and a reminder that life is fragile and precious to make us realize that those very things that drive us parents so crazy are some of the things we should be appreciating — or at least, not getting so annoyed about because those are some of the things that make our children so amazing. And that is just what one grieving mother is doing this week with her heartbreakingly honest words — reminding us all of the fragility and preciousness of life.
After losing her 5-year-old son in a devastating car accident last month, Ashley Grimm wrote on Facebook:
“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.”
In her now-viral Facebook post, Grimm shares in brutal detail how her family was in a serious car accident on June 2 and her youngest son, Titus, was not wearing a seat belt at the time. “My son was notorious for doing everything he could to unbuckle in the car,” she wrote. “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 then goes on to describe the accident itself:
“We were only five minutes out when a large rock rolled into my lane. I had three choices: try to straddle the rock, move to the oncoming lane which was a double line large curve with an angry river at the other side. Rock, head on collision, river. I chose the rock. I chose wrong.”
Grimm was driving, with her other four children in the car as well; and though she was injured herself, she did everything she could to save her son. “Our lives were instantly ripped apart. The little boy who had been my pride and joy was cruelly taken from me in a matter of seconds.”
As if the devastation of losing her son weren’t enough, Grimm received harsh criticism from the public soon after — calling her a “horrible mother” and saying that she “deserved it” and that her other children should be taken from her.
Let me be very clear here: THERE IS NOT A MOTHER IN THE WORLD WHO DESERVES TO LOSE THEIR CHILD. NOT ONE. And this epidemic of public shaming in the face of tragedy has to stop.
Unsurprisingly, Grimm wanted to make the blamers, shamers, judgers, and haters understand. She wanted to “[t]ell 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.”
In her post, Grimm added that she knew the blamers and haters probably wouldn’t listen, however; so she went on to pen in heartbreaking detail what life has been like since Titus died — including sleeping in a cemetery and picking out a Superhero outfit for her son to be buried in.
She then goes on to remind parents to “hug your babies” and “hold your children tight.” She reminds us that maybe eating the broccoli at dinner isn’t that important and that learning to pretend with our children is. And she reminds us to soak up every ounce of love that we can.
“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 … 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.”
“Go hug your babies right now,” Grimm tells us. “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 … Sleep is overrated. Listen five minutes longer about Star Wars, Minecraft, and Disney princesses.”
My deepest condolences go out to the Grimm family. No mother should have to write the words that Ashley Grimm has written; but through her pain, she is reminding us that it is indeed a gift to be entrusted with our “unique, tiny, beautiful humans.”