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For Sybrina Fulton (Trayvon’s Mom)

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Today I woke up, like I have every other morning this week, thinking about Trayvon Martin’s mother.

Any time I’ve known a woman who’s lost a child, and I’ve known several, whenever I see her I get this gut-sick feeling. It used to paralyze me. When I was in my 20s and living in a small close-knit community, a school bus crash killed Myles, the 9-year-old son of Merle, who lived on a nearby commune. For years I could not face Merle; I’m not proud to admit that the few times I saw her in town I went out of my way to avoid her. It wasn’t until a dozen or so years later, when we happened to be in an exercise class together, that I made amends, telling her I’d not acknowledged Myles’s death because of my own overwhelming emotions. Merle, being the spiritually evolved lady she is, hugged and forgave me, with reassurances that she’d had plenty of people around her then when she needed them.

Since then I’ve learned more about death and dying, and I’ve done better with the mercifully few bereaved parents I’ve known. There was Howie, who lost a teenage son in another vehicular crash. There was Kay, the mother of my son’s girlfriend, who, having lived a lot longer than expected, died of a weak heart. A year ago there was Christine, one of my closest friends, who lost her developmentally disabled son Billy after 40-something years of daily seizures and almost constant crises. Whatever I do or don’t do, how ever I behave or don’t, I still get that gut-sick feeling around parents who’ve lost children.

One of the things I’ve learned about grief is that, at its deepest level, it’s intensely private. Grief just isn’t the kind of thing that’s easily shared;  if attempted, the sharing diminishes the pain. That’s why grieving people need to have other people around them in the immediate aftermath of death–at that point it’s just too soon to deal with the full force of pain and loss. We’ll get hit with it eventually, when we’re alone, but it helps to delay the inevitable until we feel a bit stronger.

Besides everything else she’s going through, Sybrina Fulton is living out her grief in public. To me that seems like one of the worst things a person can endure. Every time I’ve seen her speak, in her dignified, straightforward manner, she’s on the verge of tears. She has said that, while she’ll never “get my baby back,” she wants to make sure this doesn’t happen to other families. I can’t help but wonder, So what? and further wonder if she thinks the same thing.  I mean, what good will it really do her to make sure it never happens again (doubtful anyway)? She will never again see or touch her baby, her son, her Trayvon. Apparently she has no other children; no siblings have appeared or been mentioned. Trayvon was 17, about to embark on life as an adult, to become whatever he was going to become. Eventually he’d probably have gotten married and had children: Sybrina Fulton’s grandchildren, the ones she will never have.

So while hatred and controversy and mad chattering swirls around this case, and while it’s used to further everyone’s petty little agendas, let us not lose sight of this mother — as well as Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin. Let us not fail to acknowledge their grief, loss, and the tragedy their lives have become.


10 responses »

  1. Eventually he’d probably have gotten married and had children – that’s a white view of the world.

    Gary, I’m so glad I helped you feel smug and self-satisfied today.–MS

  2. she needs counsel to tell her to STOP speaking in public. no more interviews on television, nor anywhere else! she isn’t making sense, and has now possibly made a major error by stating that she thinks it was “an accident” on the today show this morning. the media is not now (nor ever, really) her friend. she needs to lay low and observe.

    I didn’t see the Today show, but I agree with you at this point. NOW she, and others, need to stop talking about it–but it was the noise people made that led to a fuller investigation of the case.–MS

  3. gary dell’abate: what is that supposed to mean…??? on second thought, i probably shouldn’t feed a troll.

    and trayvon does have an older brother.

    Thank you, California Woman, for the older brother information. Thank you even more for your remark about the troll. I’ve been trying to figure out a response to Gary for the past several minutes.

    Yes, I am white. But I am also unconventional, and I’ve lived a fairly unconventional life: I don’t see marriage as automatic for every girl and boy no matter what their color. However, I’m aware that most people think very differently than I do; most do get married and have kids at a certain age. If I had said that Trayvon, as an African-American, might NOT have gotten married and had kids…can you imagine the firestorm, the accusations of racism against me? Some people just live for the joy of that “Gotcha!” moment, even when it’s unjustified.–MS

  4. White people who are the majority and therefore make the rules seem dumbfounded that racism exists. Get out of your bubble folks this is the REAL world and not your make believe slave as servents world anymore.

    Tell me, Leisa, who are you talking to? I am certainly not dumbfounded that racism exists, and never said anything like that. If you’re just using my blog as a place to vent….start your own blog.–MS

  5. Sybrina really did not know Trayvon. When his father sent him back to Sybrina so he could play around. Trayvon was mad, and got in with the wrong crowd. And keep getting into trouble after his father sent him back to Sybrina and Sybrina Did not want him back.he her self stated she was tired of him getting in trouble and she threw him out of the house and told his father you take him now. And the father also stated he was tired of him getting in trouble. Sybrina . These are loving parents they so call claim to be. They are loving parents to the point he is gone and making them HAPPY RICH LOVING PARENTS. Sick and tired of them lieing everytime they get on TV

  6. I would erase your mean-spirited comment, Sigrid, except I think it’s a good idea for people to know about the toxic ideas and statements floating around. It is beyond my comprehension how anyone can think, much less write and spread, such nasty statements like yours about a mother who recently lost her child. Anyone who thinks these parents are ‘happy’ knows absolutely nothing about parents, children, or the human condition. Which is not hard to believe in your case, considering your nearly illiterate writing.–MS

  7. if the media would tell the truth about the family tracy martin is a crip amd freemason sybrina didnt raise trayvon from 3 years old and up til present they were at a convention freemason convention tracy and brandi green that is why doesnt the media tell the truth trayvons no limit nigga account had a gun pot sexual talk his school records scrubbed but the internet makes access by smart computer people who know how to find the info check it out for yourselves just type in is tracy martin a crip and u will see for yourselves. i watched the whole trial. the verdict was correct. trayvon was buying watermelon arizona iced tea and skittles mixing it with robitussin cough syrup to get high look up purple lean. do research on your own before u believe the mainstream media. he had it on his facebook page i dare u to look it up for yourself/

  8. And another nasty comment. I was going to trash it, but I decided it might be a good idea to let all these stay, to show how vicious people are, and how intense the race war is in our country. Yes, I said race war: reading these comments makes me feel that is what’s going on. Don’t forget, this post is really just about compassion for parents who lose their children, nothing more–and here are people putting them down, as if they don’t deserve sympathy. It’s truly abominable, almost incomprehensible, to me.

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