Mother Love

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Yesterday, most of Melbourne seemed to be numb, with the news of a horrific murder of a young boy by his own father.

As the story unfolded throughout the day, sadness turned to questions, which by evening, judging from the messages in blogs and updates on my Facebook feed, had turned into a spew of vile anger and frenzied calls for the father to ‘rot in hell.’

I think that father was in hell before he died. Hell is living with that level of anger and mental illness. Hell is paranoia, and hurting the person you love most in the world.

In the midst of all of this craziness, it was the mother of the boy who calmed down the cyclone of raw anger, by bravely facing a media scrum to talk about family violence, mental illness, and the love her ex-partner had for their son.

While I noted shock in her swollen eyes, I also saw resignation and amazingly, compassion. She tried for eleven years to help the man, and protect her son. For eleven years she succeeded in keeping herself and her son safe.  She was at war for eleven years. Her ex-partner was at war with himself and everyone else around him, for the same amount of time.

There are no winners in this war. None.

The projection of self-hatred onto his son was enough for him to kill the child. The projection of his own self harm was enough to force police to shoot him.

This is not our tragedy to grieve. It is a tragedy to be viewed with compassion, and one where we ask how we can prevent this from happening again.

The incredible grace and sense that Rosie Batty showed yesterday, after the death of a man she once loved, and a son she loved more than life itself, was unlike anything else I have ever seen.

Today people are making sense again. Today there is compassion and people calling for journalists and others  in the media to be more responsible with their words. Today people are still, in their judgement.

It took a mother’s love to remind us.

Even now, after her beloved Luke is gone, she is protecting him. She is exceptional. She is what a mother should be.

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16 thoughts on “Mother Love”

  1. Even in the midst of the worst grief any parent could imagine she had so much dignity and reminded us to see this clearly, and you’ve captured that so well Kate x

  2. Kate, I purposely refrained from listening to the news and media around this story. I could not imagine that this story would be anything but tragedy and grief. Your article explains all that I really need to know and understand. Thank you for your article. Thank you for your compassion and restraint.

  3. Than you for putting into words the thoughts that were my immediate response.
    Absolutely agree with this blog. When I read the words of the mother, explaining that her ex-husband loved their son more than anything I was amazed at her grace, sensitivity and generosity. What a amazing woman to honour her son and the love that his father felt for him, in this way and at this time, while experiencing what must be unbelievable pain. To have afforded her ex-husband dignity and the chance of a relationship with his son and to allow her son time with his father is the attitude and act of a loving, thoughtful soul. To put the situation into context and not apportion blame is awe inspiring. Thank goodness that during Luke’s (sadly short) life he had such a loving mother. Let’s hope that her selflessness causes us all to pause and think of our own responses/reactions to others and perhaps cause some of us to rethink our response to, and treatment of those with a mental illness.

  4. I have been avoiding this story too, as it was way too tragic and crushing to face. And then I thought I owed it to Luke to know what happened, so today I read the paper about how the system failed him, his mother and his father. It was still gut wrenching. If I am struggling so much, I cannot imagine what Luke’s mother must be feeling. Well done on a beautifully written post, Kate. Your last sentence, in particular, made me cry.

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