Ruminating On: A Dead Child

I cried myself to sleep last night over a photo I came across while on Facebook. The picture was a side-by-side. On the left, a bubbly, vibrant looking toddler, all smiles and full to the brim with life. To the right, that same child, dead; her face yellow-skinned and splotched with purple bruises. I hid the post instantly, but decided to come back and comment on the picture. I told the person who shared it that I would block them if they ever posted anything like that again. This unnamed individual was a very good friend of mine. I didn’t take my decision lightly, but I couldn’t stand to remain silent. Moments later, this friend contacted me on Skype, as did their significant other. The conversation went poorly. It was brought to my attention that the message behind the picture was one of awareness. Seems the person responsible for beating the child to death got away. The significant other asked me what my problem was, or, more accurately, “what crawled up my ass?” I immediately blocked both people and ended our friendship.

Now, I fully understand the concept behind the post. Someone wants justice, and they should have it, but why not post a picture of the child from when she was still among the living? Why not describe the tragedy in the comments or the tag of the post? Why am I the bad guy for not wanting to see a recently deceased little girl? What the fuck is wrong with people? The significant other, before I blocked them, said that I should know the other person was sensitive, that they’d took my threat of blocking them way too hard. I’m not sorry to say, I don’t give a damn. All I could see were my own children, broken, bruised… dead. All I could feel was heart-shattering fear at the possibility of losing my babies to such a tragedy. But if that were to happen, would I post pictures of their abused forms? Bet your life I would not. Had the picture been of the child alive, tagged with the story, I would have shared the post, given my condolences, and kept the family in my thoughts. The picture of that baby girl in death overshadowed everything else, though. I wanted the image out of my head but could not expel it. The last thing I wanted to think about was her, which defeated the entire purpose of the post. Even now, I see her clearly…

If you follow me on Facebook, be warned, I’m about to repeat myself.

It is never okay to post a picture of a dead child. Ever. I don’t care what the message is. If it’s for shock value, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. I really can’t decipher who’s worse in this instance. The person who killed the girl, or the parents that allowed their precious little one’s photos to be paraded around. Yes, I feel both are equally abhorrent. I will not apologize for that. It takes a vile human being to want to pass that kind of atrocity along. You are neck-deep in grief, I get that, but she was your child for Christ’s sake. Have some respect.

You might say, “Well, image how they feel. They’re the ones who lost her.” Okay, granted, but the hunt for justice could have very well been done without that picture. I haven’t the foggiest what I would do given the death of one of my children, but I’m damn certain I wouldn’t post pictures of their corpses for everyone online to see. She was a child. Don’t you get that? It doesn’t take a photo of her battered body to convey the message that this was an appalling act of unforgivable violence.

I lost two good friends over this. I cared a great deal for both of them. So why did I cut off ties? I cannot associate with someone that does not see the problem with sharing such material. These two have been known to post pictures of bloodied or dead animals as well. I overlooked those because I weigh human life over an animals any day of the week. The abuse and murder of our four-legged friends is sad and tragic, but I feel human beings are a little more sacred. Sue me.

So, what crawled up my ass? A picture of a dead child did. I’ve seen plenty of terrible things on the internet and in real life that could last me twelve life-times, so excuse me if I choose not to want to see baby corpses in my timeline. If you feel this kind of behavior is acceptable, I don’t want to know you. I don’t care what the message is. It’s lost on me. I don’t know that child’s name, nor will I ever. I want to forget about her. And that, my friends, bothers me a great deal.

Hug your children a little harder tonight, kiss them a little longer, because this ends, sometimes all too soon, and you might only have today.




7 thoughts on “Ruminating On: A Dead Child

  1. I agree. It is completely a matter of respect. There are some things that are NOT appropriate, at any time, and I too would have been shocked and upset not only to see such a photo but also to find I had a friend who would have such lack of judgment and human decency that they would share the image.

  2. For what it’s worth…and as someone who is often accused of going too far to the dark side with the written word…I COMPLETELY agree with you. I would be just as angry, heart-broken, and sad. I’m sorry, brother. There is no situation where it is OK to ‘surprise’ someone, especially a parent with relatable small people around, to something like that.

    Some people got no common sense. Or tact.

    1. I just don’t see the purpose, JD. We do not need to see the aftermath to understand the tragedy. It hurts me, deep, that I need to forget what I saw. There are plenty of ways that could have been handled differently. I don’t know, dude. I’m at a loss. At least I was able to get that crap out.


      1. And that’s important. People are weird, man. Different filters. Never in a million years would I show someone a picture of one of my girls if, god forbid, anything happened to them. Seriously fucked up. It will fade away, man. Slowly.

        That would be a friendship breaker for me, too. I don’t get that mentality and, frankly, it frightens me…the insensitivity.

  3. I interviewed seven years ago for what I thought was my dream job: Pediatric Intensive Care Unit RN. I spent the entire day shift shadowing another nurse to get a feel of the department. Most of it was pretty much routine, but there was one toddler who made me cry. In fact, I’m choking up as I write this. He was on a ventilator and was brain dead from a beating he got from his mother’s boyfriend. I’ll never forget how he looked. I’ll spare you and your readers the gruesome details. Part of me wanted to break down right then and there (I managed to keep it under control until I left), while the other part of me wanted to beat the shit out of the bastard who killed this child. I decided it wasn’t the direction in nursing I wanted to be, with all the emotional turmoil. I love children (even though I could never have them) just like I love animals.

    I guess the point of my rambling is I don’t think it’s appropriate to share dead photos of children or animal. Quite frankly it pisses me off. I know there’s abuse, but there’s a tactful way of getting the message across other than using “shock value” like photos of the deceased. I’ll get off my soapbox now.

    By the way, sometimes you have to do something painful like ending a friendship to find inner peace. I’m going through that with family. Hang in there and keep writing what’s on your mind. I applaud you for sticking up for what’s right.

    1. Well, I, for one, hope your family issues work out. Our friendships, relationships and blood ties are hard to lose, but you’re right. Sometimes you just need to let go.

      Best wishes, and thanks for stopping by. I love seeing new faces, so to speak.


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