Strange ThingsMichelle Jeffreys
I talk to my therapist a lot about the strange events, people and situations that occurred and may occur in the future. This may be helpful for anyone going through this and shed some insight on why these things happen or at least give you a first person experience to compare.
One of the biggest things that happens when a tragedy takes place is help. Helpers come out from everywhere and this is wonderful, you need help most people step right in and ask for nothing in return. The knowledge that they have helped you through one of the darkest times in your life is enough for them and they wish they could take away this burden in any way they can; these people are Angels and we definitely have more of them around us then not.
What I was not prepared for was the “Grief Seeker” these are people that are drawn to you due to the tragic event that has unfolded. These will mostly be strangers who start out in a way that is helpful and then once your tragedy is no longer the general topic of the news or they feel they are not getting enough attention they will “poof” be gone or they will want something from you. A few scenarios in my situation were all strangers who while in my numb zombie state came in and seemed harmless.
I had one person ask to run a Facebook Tribute page and at the time I didn’t care, but as said person needed more of my attention this started becoming a burden to me. Again, this person was a stranger and looking back, I should have said no, but what do you do. The page became popular and said person wanted to do more. Fundraisers were beginning to sprout up and who knows where these funds were going. One night said person contacted me via private message and began berating me as a person and as a parent. All things that don’t need to happen to a parent grieving their child. Long story short, this person was not given the satisfaction of a reply and was blocked.
Other situations that arose were people using my daughters photos for fake social media accounts, this is the sad reality of social media. I cannot even list them all, but if you find yourself in a similar situation message me and I can fill you in on what I had to go through to get that to stop. Unfortunately, due to the media and the severity of the tragedy I had no control over photo sharing, information sharing etc. This provided another layer to just grieving the loss of my daughter, I had to push through my tragedy while trying to protect my family. Trying to mourn with your family and friends while constantly being contacted by the media. I remember the morning of October 25th having texts, calls, emails, private messages on my social media forums all from journalists wanting to be the first to get a statement from me. One phone call was from a representative for Anderson Cooper and I was appalled at the audacity to call me so soon. I can’t remember my exact words but they were not friendly.
I understand media, look I’m blogging, so I get it. What I don’t get is when we lost our decency to treat people as humans, to offer kindness and respectfulness. This saddens me, a lot. I would like to give kudos to the one and only journalist who I did meet with and who treated my family and I with the utmost respect and who will have a place in my heart forever. Alex Rozier, you took me to coffee; you listened without a notepad. You treated me as a human being, not a story. You are one of the Angels even if your job is to “get the story”. Every moment was on my terms and for that I “Thank you”. Did I have to talk to the media? yes and no. A part of me said no, but a part of me said yes, you need to be heard. This is a tough one for anyone going through this. Voices are important for many reasons, being heard, helping others and some closure. For me, I thought if I do my one interview it will be over. Not so much, but it helped at the time.