On Grieving the Hated
Update: April 8, 2019
This case has reared its head again as juries rule this as a murder-suicide. Once again I am mourning the loss of these beautiful children. There are a host of societal issues at play here — my unwillingness to acknowledge them in the beginning was due to shock, ignorance, and profound sadness. I’m not trying to make excuses for myself, but I acknowledge that I wanted to find something other than anger in response to the snuffing out of these beautiful, beautiful lights. My only hope, anymore, is that their deaths will not be in vain.
Recently I put forth an unpopular opinion.
Writers sometimes do this, if we’re brave enough — and believe me, I almost wasn’t brave enough, because I had already seen enough of the ire and wrath being spewed everywhere about the family I was grieving for.
I knew that by putting my unpopular opinions out there I was going to be the target for more speculative ire and wrath, myself, but on the other hand, I had to say something. Writing is therapeutic, and I knew, too, that I wasn’t the only one out there who suffered a different kind of pain after the Hart family left our earthly plane. We were afraid to speak of our pain and sadness openly, because the internet can be a very cruel place full of people with opinions. Yes, we absolutely had one little secret place to go to, and it was needed, because there was no end to the onslaught of hatred — but even there, folks of differing opinions couldn’t always refrain from stating them. Grief often comes wrapped in a container of rage, of needing to know why, of feeling the need to analyze; it is so hard to simply find a place to shed tears without judgement.
Like anything else, we need to watch what we eat, including what morsels the media feeds us. I know I did, for a while. I had to stop reading a lot of it, because regardless of the fact, I was also in a personal grieving process. I got tired of hearing the words “sadistic” and “abusers” over and over and over again from people who formed these opinions based on nothing more than media speculation.
I don’t deny, and have never denied, that as parents, the Hart women made many mistakes. Um, yeah. I’m a parent. I only have one child, but she’s a handful, and I make mistakes every damn day because I have no idea what the hell I’m doing — and I’m treading easy turf compared to the Hart family. I’m raising a white kid I birthed myself, and hell yes I’ve lost my temper more than once. While I have never beat my kid, I will readily admit that as someone who got the crap beat out of them as a kid, during those times when I’m pushed beyond my limits, it takes every single tool I’ve gained to move through it.
I don’t deny, either, that there were definitely race issues involved. When “well-meaning white folks” raise black children, those things will always come into play. I don’t deny the foster system (which is really a collection of overloaded and screwed-up systems that differ in every state) is a messed up thing, either, that tears apart families and communities as much as it places children into safe havens. I also don’t deny that small-town folks with Trump signs in their yards aren’t ever going to understand two white lesbians raising six black children with behavioral issues. Yeah, good luck with that one.
But, I was also personally witness to loving, kind and beautiful experiences. I was witness to an embracing community, to a village of people who loved this family, who loved these women and these children (who loved everybody back). Ain’t none of us perfect — a whole lot of us are working through white privilege, a whole lot of us are working through cultural appropriation, a whole lot of us are working through well-meaning and totally misguided actions, a whole lot of us are acting out behaviors informed by childhood traumas. A good portion of us have a whole party of skeletons in our closets, yet most of us also have at least a couple of people who love us, anyway, and thank God for that — we can be some really ugly, hateful creatures sometimes. My own grief included collective shock, loss, and sadness that was tinged with familiarity. Except within this community of people who knew them, who prayed for them, who sang with them, it was impossible to process that almost anywhere else without judgement.
It has taken me a few weeks to return to Medium in earnest, simply because I was afraid of judgement. Then I remembered who I really am, where I come from, and what I’m all about. It’s good to be back.