After losing her son, a mom pens a list of advice for parents
A grieving mom is sharing a list of advice after enduring any parent’s worst nightmare — losing a child.
Ashley Grimm was in a terrible car accident on June 2 of this year. She was with five of her children and sadly, one of them did not survive. 4-year-old Titus died instantly and in a heartbreaking Facebook post, Grimm tells her story — and gives advice that every parent should be listening to.
She begins by explaining that Titus was not one for wearing seat-belts and frequently unbuckled himself despite her repeated attempts at keeping him securely fastened. “We tried five point harness seats, boosters, I believe even zip ties at one point (probably not safe either) but he always viewed it as a superhero challenge. He was a superhero because he always succeeded.”
On most car trips, she would have to pull over to buckle Titus back into his seat more than once. On the fateful trip that cost her son his life, Grimm was forced to make a split-second decision due to an obstacle in the road. “We were only five minutes out when a large rock rolled into my lane. I had three choices: try to straddle the rock, move to the oncoming lane which was a double line large curve with an angry river at the other side. Rock, head on collision, river. I chose the rock. I chose wrong.”
Sadly, she writes that Titus was already unbuckled at that point and unknown to her, was trying to switch seats with his 8-year-old brother. When the rock hit the axle of their vehicle, they were plunged into the side of a cliff, the 13-passenger van rolling in the process. And as Grimm says, Titus was “instantly gone.”
“Our lives were instantly ripped apart. The little boy who had been my pride and joy was cruelly taken from me in a matter of seconds. I remember being smashed between my console (no airbag engaged) and our three ton van. I had blood everywhere. I fought and fought and then blacked out.”
Grimm goes into horrifying detail about freeing her other four children from their seats and the nightmare moment when she realized her son was gone. “When I came to Titus I worked with all my might to lift the heavy van off his tiny body. My 8 year old son was trying to help me. I could only see the lower half of his body. I rubbed his tummy and tried gentle compressions. But he was already gone. It was instantaneous, which only brings me comfort because I know he felt no pain.”
She describes holding her dead son at the scene of the accident and praying he would come back. She tells of being life flighted and sedated because she was in shock. Of reading the news over the following days and the horrific comments aimed at her. “The readers commented the cruelest things about how horrible of a mother I was. How I deserved it. How my children should be taken from me.”
Grimm says she wanted to tell those awful people about her close relationship with her son and how hard she fought to keep him safe. “How we had a special good night kiss and a designated McDonald’s date each week. I wanted to scream that he always told me he wanted to marry me, that I was the best mama ever. That he built me Lego ships, took naps in my bed while holding my hand with his dimpled little fingers.”
But as she acknowledges, they wouldn’t have listened. Instead, the grieving mother decided to share a message with anyone who would listen about how the death of her son has changed her forever.
“I feel led to write this to all you Mamas because I have a longing to look each of you in the eyes and tell you this: “Hold your babies tight”. That’s all I want to shout to the world.”
Grimm then gives gut-wrenching details about choosing his funeral plot and wanting to die herself so she could be with him again. She shares that sweet Titus was buried in a super-hero outfit and that she kissed his face over and over. She tells of how she tried to sleep at his grave to have one more nap with him.
After experiencing this living nightmare, Grimm wants other parents to know that maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to lose patience with our kids. She writes, “Maybe finishing broccoli at dinner isn’t as important as we might think. Watch how your children eat, soak in their hatred for corn (oh how Titus hated corn). Maybe they can still have ice cream – even just sometimes – while those veggies still sit on their plate.”
Grimm urges parents to play with their kids, even though life can be busy. “Learn to play the Xbox with them. Embrace their beautiful, fleeting imagination. Let them really believe that they are Captain America or Queen Elsa. Get in their mind, see how they tick. The dishes will still be there.”
She reminds us to take “every hug and kiss,” even the ones meant to delay bedtime. To stop and look at all those bugs and rocks they want to point out to us. To slow down. To look them in the eyes and tell them you love them. And of course, we do have to punish them at times, but she writes, “Sometimes- maybe grace is the answer. Maybe, just maybe, they won’t end up ruined if we let some things slide.”
She ends her post begging parents to soak it all in. The smell and feel of their child. To “set down your phone” and truly see them, without the camera lens. She pleads, “Nurse them one more time. Sleep is overrated. Listen five minutes longer about Star Wars, Minecraft and Disney princesses. Mamas, hold your children tight. How blessed you are to have been entrusted with such unique, beautiful, tiny humans.”
Blessed indeed. Her heartfelt words serve as an important reminder to live in the moment and appreciate what we have. Because nothing is guaranteed, and she now knows that in a way no parent ever should.
Our deepest condolences to Grimm and her family.