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This morning I read this very sad story on Kidspot it is really a brief editorial from the Adelaide Advertiser about the father who took his life and also the lives of his son's yesterday. It briefly mentions a suicide note, but this is not printed, we are not given any details, or any insight at all into why. Frankly, it is really none of our business. It is a report about a very tragic family incident. This is tragic for everyone involved.
My heart goes out to all the family and friends who know this family and are in anyway touched by this tragedy.
My thoughts on this are probably more about the comments on the article than the tragedy itself, which is absolutely without a doubt life changing and devastating. Sure we can infer from what is written in the original news article all sorts of things. We as readers can make judgments about lots of things based upon our own views. None of this, however, is helpful at all to anyone. There is often a sense of justified outrage by many and most of this outrage comes from people who do not know the family involved. This outrage is always cloaked with "but if I don't get angry who will care for the children." My guess from a distance is that the family involved is caring for and about the children. They are through their grief, sadness and devastation I am certain second guessing every single conversation, movement, word, action over the last weeks, months and even years to try to understand how this tragedy could occur in their family and devastate their worlds.
What I simply cannot understand and just can never reconcile as helpful or even warranted is the hateful and hurtful comments by the "keyboard warriors". I am very sad in this day and age that because we have a keyboard and we have an opinion we believe we have a right to air it for the entire world to see. Sometimes it is actually not appropriate and many of us (myself included) would do well to think, step back and simply not respond. We simply are in no position at all to judge and we simply should not. Unless this event or any other terribly sad events have an affect on your life we do not I believe have a right to be judge, jury and executioner. None of that is helpful to anyone.
Here is a sample of some of the comments
"I hope he burns in hell. Imagine the children's fear and then the hysteria whilst they sat drowning.....coward. I'm sorry but the mental illness card ain't cutting it!"
“That poor mother. Those poor terrified babies. Doting dad???? What a joke! That disgusting piece of filth murdered his babies. RIP Hunter and Koda. Strength love and light to the mother, how utterly Devastating.”
Even many who are living with Mental Illness cannot understand. I understand that, who can possibly understand but the judgment will never, ever help.
“I suffer from mental health illness and I would never ever consider taking the lives of my children even when I've been at my worse. That is just a sick excuse. He had a choice and he chose to rob his children of any future. Absolutely disgusting those justifying his actions”
One very brave commenter put this up in reply to some of the comments
"Everyone on here saying the father is selfish for taking the children's lives, really need to stop throwing stones.
Mental illness is not something to muck around with he was clearly not in the right frame of mind and maybe he thought taking the children with him would make it easier for him to comprehend what he was about to do as he was dying with his loved ones. No one knows what went on in his mind so no one can judge.
Is it sad that he took the children's lives? Yes it is absolutely devastating and gut wrenching and I cried watching this on the news. Does it make it okay to judge this man? Absolutely not
You can mourn for this mothers loss and the children but do not throw stones.
Maybe one day you will be in a situation like this and it will be posted on social media, and people will cast their opinion about you and it won't be very nice. How do you think the mother feels seeing everyone writing these things about her husband? Does this help her grief? Ever thought these comments may be her complete breaking point and push her over the edge?
People really need to think before commenting on things, beginning to lose faith in all mankind."
My goodness me of the currently over 100 replies to her comment most are very nasty towards her for voicing this view, there are some particularly nasty and unhelpful comments about Mental Health and the victims, all of these justified in their minds by the cry "what about the children?" I am truly certain there are vast numbers of people right now thinking every second about the children. But what about this man? I am not defending his actions, but he is also a son, a brother, and by all accounts of the article a good bloke. So instead of attacking him and his character how about we try as a society to understand why this happens. We need more prevention and far less judgment. The judgment is not helpful to anyone. It is especially not helpful to a grieving family. Quite possibly even though there is a greater awareness that there is support there, it is this rise of the constant judgment that is the barrier for people to reach out for it. For fear of what might be said to them or about them.
This is my reply to the above commenter
"Goodness glasshouses and all that. For so many people there is the thought that if you are having a mental health crisis you are thinking rationally and calm and while writing a suicide note and deliberately taking the lives of others appears to the outside world very calm, rational and calculated nothing really could be further from the truth. There is so much more to depression to feeling sad.
I am not condoning any actions by anyone. None of us know the details of what has occurred, unless you know the intimate details of his life or relationship none of us are in a position to comment. My heart goes out to his wife, the mother of these boys, to his family, to their wider family and friends. Let's keep the judgment to ourselves. We do not know what has happened here at all apart from the tragic death of two small children and their father."
You know what makes this worse is that people have said they can say what they like because none of the family are likely to be reading the comments on a Kidspot article through their grief. Guess what you couldn't be more wrong. No-one knows what they will do when grieving, no-ne knows how they will react and not surprisingly a family member has read the comments that are only compounding her grief.
"PLEASE BE MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU POST!!!!
Family members SEE what you say....Damien Little is also my COUSIN.....I can't imagine what his immediate family would feel with what I've recently read!!! AGAIN be mindful for those who are in shock and grieving!!!"
In addition to this, another commenter reading the first comments has replied with this
"Unfortunately 2 of my young cousins were murdered by a parent and I have a bit more understanding due to this.
Firstly the public is rarely made aware if mental health issues are involved.
In my families case even the jury was not made aware only the sentencing judge was made aware so they could sentence them to life in a mental health facility for criminals.
Well meaning comments condeming the parent can cause harm to the surviving family members if there was a underlying mental health issue the public is unaware of.
From personal experience I find these words are best when wanting to express something to the family "I am so sorry this has happened to you, please know even though I may not know you I do care about what you are going through and want to let you know people care about your family."
That is much preferred to reading people calling the parent of my cousins a monster when they were suffering extremely complex mental health issues and in the midst of a psychotic break that was so severe they thought they were somehow saving their children, they actually think their kids are alive and when told they are dead that people are lying to them as they saved them.
I hope you never have to understand this situation, I hope no one having a go at Nikki have to understand this."
Honestly I just wonder where our humanity has gone. Perhaps I am just a bleeding heart; perhaps I am being naive that we even had empathy for others. I think that many people think that because they are only writing a comment on a Facebook page or something like that, I think it is forgotten that words have power and we just never know who might read it and what those words might do. Mostly, this all just makes me feel sad. Sad that people feel they have no other option but to take their own life, sad for the children who have also had their lives ended far too soon, sad for the family left behind reeling from the tragedy and devastation, sad that no-one realised that he was in this place, sad that even with all the awareness of mental health people who have not lived it still believe that suicide is a rational thought process, sad for all the judgment (yes the irony is not lost on me I am judging the judging!) but most of all sad for those left behind to pick up the pieces. Sending my heartfelt condolences to the family involved for all your losses.
I am reminded by the saying "if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all" really this is something we all would do well try and live by this.
Anyone experiencing personal difficulties can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au or contact Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 or visit beyondblue.org.au