To The Mother Of The Boy Who Fell Into Gorilla World
I am writing to you with hope that amongst the myriad articles, posts and comments circulating worldwide, this letter reaches you and you are brave enough to open it. It stands to reason you’ll be hesitant. People have been quick to point accusatory fingers. I’m certain the overwhelming vitriol has you guarding and protecting yourself from passionately fueled individuals seeking justice through any avenue and venue available.
But, you need to read this.
As a mother of three, and owner of a green company who supports animal welfare and our responsibility to the world at large, I have a message you need to hear.
How about a little grace?
Do I mourn the loss of Harambe? Yes, I do. He was an incredibly majestic creature housed at and protected by the Cincinnati Zoo. I say protected, because he was was an endangered species. His presence was profound and our family enjoyed his egotistic personality time and time again. I presume you are regretful for the part you ultimately played in the death of this magnificent animal.
But I extend grace to you.
I’ve watched criticism morph into anger and have read terrible comments and judgement to the full degree. And yes, I’ve even seen death threats. But I grant you grace.
Even the best parents have lost sight of their child for a split second, myself included. It’s a feeling a parent doesn’t forget. Even the best people have made catastrophic mistakes. The difference being, your experience is now in the public eye, ripe for scrutiny, second-guessing and a plethora of if onlys. It is easy to point fingers from behind a computer screen, smart phone or tablet. But you must bear in mind, sadness oftentimes gives birth to anger and yes, even hatred. I’m reminding you you are human. Humans make mistakes. No one, least of all you, wanted your boy to end up in the gorilla enclosure. No one wanted Harambe to be killed. We have to trust that the very people who cared for Harambe are the ones who knew him best and knew what the situation warranted. The decision was tough, but they valued your son’s life above the life of an animal. If the situation played out differently, we would have an even bigger issue on our hands.
It is extremely unfortunate you are suffering the blows of public opinion. And I have to imagine you’re paying emotionally for what you did (or didn’t) do. But I believe we, as a community of fellow mothers, fathers—humans who are not perfect—should grant you grace. Grace is showing mercy. It’s loving someone who may not be easy to love. It isn’t agreeing with someone, but rather rising above and growing love despite the circumstances. Grace is learning from our mistakes. It is compassion. It is favor. It is grace.
Please, if you’re reading this, I ask you respectfully to reserve judgement. This is not the forum for it. We are not perfect people, and we can all benefit from a dose of grace.
To see footage from the scene click here. View discretion advised.
Photo credits: Jenny Haralamos, Cincinnati Ohio