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This past week a mother on twitter[@military_mom] suffered a devastating and tragic loss. Her two year old son, Bryson, fell into their pool and drowned. Her eleven year old found the child and called paramedics, while Sherri was out of the house feeding her chickens, according to an article by Florida Today.
People on twitter were quick to offer support, but some were quick to put blame on the mom when she tweeted about the incident asking for prayers on twitter about an hour after it happened. They blamed her for spending too much time tweeting when she should have been watching her child because some of her tweets were sent shortly before the incident,but have since been removed according to recent news articles, which included pictures of her chickens. While all of the details are a bit limited and scarcely reported right now, I'm sure investigators have looked into all aspects of the cause and whether neglect was involved.
However, those who are quick to place blame on the mom need to understand why Sherri might have turned to twitter to share the news of this tragedy. Mom's who are at home with their kids are often isolated and their online network becomes a great source of comfort, thus the reason mommy blogging became popular and has become a source of income and/or perks for many moms like Sherri.
I'm sure Bryson's mom must have felt comfortable enough with her online network to tweet a prayer request seeking some comfort and support after finding her son drowning in the pool. It is my understanding she has met many of her followers in real life at conferences for bloggers and work at home moms.
I do not think I would tweet about such a tragedy and request prayers online, as I usually call my mom or husband first for things like that, but it doesn't make it wrong...whether she was tweeting during the incident and it was the result of her sons death we don't know for certain, but so far according to reports, the homicide investigator has so far determined that tweeting/neglect was not the cause. Regardless, at this time Sherri and her family deserves some empathy and compassion for such a great loss.
As a mom you wish you could be in five places at once...unfortunately we can not watch them 24/7 and we can't be in more than one place...that is why child safety devices, awareness and pool safety education must be implemented in the home. We can not be helicopter parents while allowing our children to grow and explore. But we do need to take the proper safety precautions to make sure their environment for exploring is as safe as can be. I don't know if they had a gate or cover on their pool, but if not, then perhaps charges might be filed for negligence to provide a secure environment. Most states have laws on placing gates and covers over pools in homes with small children, I am not sure what the laws in Florida are on this.
In addition, it is my understanding Sherri's family just moved into the home; so perhaps they didn't get a fence or cover up yet. How sad to think they will have to always remember this tragic day anytime they swim in their pool...I think I'd rather move. I don't think I could enjoy the pool anymore. The hours and days following and years to come will be hard, please remember to pray and show compassion rather than judgment. Then go and hug your kids as you gaze into their eyes and enjoy their sweet smiles.
Leave the judgment to God. I'm sure she feels enough of the blame already. I can't even imagine the pain she must feel and the emptiness she will suffer with the rest of her life.
Incidentally, there are prayer groups on twitter and other social networks where people turn for spiritual support and comfort, often this provides an anonymous way to seek help and other times it is a way to get millions praying for you at once. [see @worldprayr and @prayer_network on twitter...I'm not affiliated with these users, but they are supportive prayer networks used daily on twitter]
May God bless Bryson with his angel wings and let the healing begin for the Ross family as they prepare to bury their beloved son three days before Christmas.
You can offer support and send donations for the funeral by clicking here:
Recent comments by Sherri:
RT @Military_Mom Please allow us to grieve the loss of our child | Blog 4 Mom http://bit.ly/6C6WTE
Learn more about this story here: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/17/tweeting-about-a-childs-death/
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