Reactions to tragedies – A little boy lost

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There was a tragedy yesterday in the city of Toronto. A terrible tragedy that hit so close to home for many of us it joined us together in shock then in hope and later in heartbreak.

Now come the questions. How did this happen? Why did this happen? Was it preventable?

We want answers. Of course we want answers.

We all feel so close to this story, to this little boy and his family. We see our own children in his perfect little face, we feel the heartbreak of his family as if it were our own. Yet, Elijah isn’t our child. The sadness and despair we feel isn’t even comparable to the nightmare this little boy’s family is living. Eventually, we will all go back to our lives and this story will sit in our memory, Elijah’s family will never be the same again.

We want answers, yes, and there are some questions that should be answered, however let’s remember that right now a family is in mourning, their lives have been destroyed. Let’s try and be sensitive. While we must keep asking questions to make sure that we learn from this, we have to refrain from placing blame.

Asking questions is logical. We all want to be sure our families are safe. Asking questions is how we make sense of such a senseless tragedy.

The most important thing to remember is that sometimes terrible tragedies happen despite all our efforts. As parents, we put every safety measure in place that we know of and that’s all that we can do, as hard as it is, we can not let fear dictate how we live our lives. Sometimes, no matter how many gates and locks we surround our children with, bad things happen.

Assigning blame can be a result of our own fears, our mind’s way of protecting itself. Our own internal voice telling us that it can’t happen to us because we have protected ourselves.

The fact of the matter is, a life changing, devastating tragedy can happen to any of us at any time. Do not, for one moment think that you are immune to tragedy. It can happen to any of us in the blink of an eye. Yes, there are times when accidents can be prevented. Each time there is a tragedy we learn another recommendation to make sure we aren’t one of the statistic; regardless tragedies continue to occur.

So in our search for answers, in our need to determine how on earth this beautiful little boy lost his precious life, let’s be very cautious not to give in to assigning blame. Let’s be very careful not to think this could never happen to us. Instead, let’s rally together as parents, as mothers, as fathers, as grandparents and shower this family, who is facing the unimaginable, with love and empathy. Let’s make sure this family knows that we will not pass judgement but instead we will stand by them in their grief and we will help hold them up when they don’t feel strong enough to go on.

Rest in peace little Elijah, may you fly with the angels.

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