Poking the “Mama Grizzly”

I haven’t quite yet established a writing schedule, but I seem to have fallen into the pattern of tweeting by day, and working on blog posts by night, when it’s generally quieter.

I woke up this morning feeling “off” to begin with, and my overall wellness took a nosedive after I read a tweet from the Huffington Post (you can read the HuffPost article by following this link; other stories are posted here, and here). To make a sad, blood-boiling story short, a 30-year-old man in Thibodaux, LA, murdered his 7-year-old multiply-disabled son out of spite, because the child’s mother had the nerve to leave the family home to have her pick-up truck repaired in preparation for her to take the child to his ENT specialist in New Orleans. Other articles about the murder reveal that the child’s father and mother had been having relationship-based problems for years. I guess the truck repair was the straw that broke the camel’s back, as it were. The father was, to quote the HuffPost, “‘tired of taking care’ of the boy, who had cerebral palsy and heart problems, needed a feeding tube and was in a wheelchair.”

After I read that, and discovered I was out of cola with which to mix some rum so as to steady my nerves, I posted this on Twitter:

… which I followed up, with:

The photo I posted, was of my 8-year-old son, with his shirt up to reveal a fading vertical chest scar, starting at the larynx and ending at his navel, from multiple open heart surgeries; and his g-tube placement. I haven’t quite decided if I want to re-post the photo here. I questioned myself if I had crossed a line by posting it to Twitter. Noone can see his face; I deliberately kept it out of the picture. I also did not disclose the identity of the child in the photograph – until now.

The child who died today has a name: Jori Lirette. He too had a chest scar and a g-tube, just like my son. Both boys share some degree of developmental delay in common. If my son had slightly longer hair, he and Jori Lirette could almost pass for twins; the shape of their heads, the colour of their eyes, are virtually identical. I can also identify rather strongly with the plight of both parents, one the sole breadwinner who couldn’t seem to catch a break from the caustic glare of her unemployed spouse, the other the murderer (for that is what the man is) whose motive can only be ascribed as a sick combination of spousal abuse and caregiver burn-out.

I know this news story isn’t about me, or my son, or any other defining event in my life since I became a parent. I don’t even want to make this post out to be such. However, several months ago, my current partner’s brother, who is an activist and leader in the North American LGBTQ community, posted a note on his Facebook page that has always stayed with me and deserves to be reprinted in part, in this blog entry, tonight:

‘What any of you are, I am too’

My hearing and vision are fine, I’m in fair physical shape and yet I am also hearing, speech, visually and physically challenged – because […] – what any each of you are, I am as well.

My heart is broken for Jori Lirette, who was taken from the world he loved (and that loved him back) far too soon. It breaks for his mother, Jesslyn, who by all published accounts sounds like she was doing her sincere best to be Jori’s ambassador in this world. I could almost have felt a smidgen of pity, or even compassion, for Jeremiah Lee Wright, because the demands of raising a child, especially a high-needs child such as Jori, can and does break the best of parents. Unfortunately, instead of getting the help he needed, or even so much as a paying JOB outside the home so that he and his wife could perhaps afford to hire a caregiver for Jori, even if only part-time; he chose to be an asshole, a petulant, whiny baby-killer who wanted his wife “to feel stupid when she saw the head” of her disabled baby by the side of the road.

The only thing that could further gut me in this situation, as an outsider looking in from my virtual window on the Internet, is if this gormless coward is somehow absolved of any responsibility for this crime on the grounds of insanity.

Yet, even in the event Jeremiah Lee Wright is successfully convicted, the death penalty will almost certainly be too kind an end for him.

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