the editor: This is written for the benefit of all parents — Those of you who have lost a child, at any time, at any age, my heart breaks for you. For those of you who have not had that awful life banging experience, do not be too quick to judge those who have. Melissa Baller, my heart goes out to you. I can not imagine the pain of losing my child, then being drug through the mud about it and taken to court to defend myself over his death. I think it would be very, very difficult, and just know Melissa, my family and myself are praying for you. How can I say such things? Experience. I had a son die just three years ago; he was seven years old. I have walked in those shoes, of my own child’s death. I know from experience how my heart was broken when my son died. I remember the tears, the memories and the life-style change that my family went through, that our friends and family could not understand or feel. I pray to God that others will not have to feel that pain, the pain of realizing that your child will never again walk back through the door of your house and say, “Hi, mom,” with a smile on his face. I know it too well. And much to my sorrow, so do other parents who have lost children. There are many of us who have experienced this, some of us can talk about death, others never can and they act like the child never lived. Some people sink in deep despair while others turn to drugs and alcohol that numb the pain for a time. Some go off the deep-end, never to return. Marriages fall apart, lives fall apart, hearts fall apart. I have heard people say, “I think Melissa deserves to go to jail. How can she just sleep and not care about what her baby is doing?” Well, guess what people — there isn’t a mother out there, anywhere, at anytime of history, that is or was perfect and can watch her children 24 hours a day. We mothers are only human. We have long, hard days when our children are very small and we are trying to juggle housework, children and maybe even a job outside of the home. Or maybe we have a toddler to go along with that baby, and sometimes we need a nap too, just to keep our sanity. We mothers sometimes catch illnesses from our children and get sick with a flu, a bad cold or even worse. We are in desperate need of a nap, but if your children are sick, it is very difficult to find someone to watch sick kids. What are we mothers to do? Never be tired? Never get sick? Never need to sleep? That would be nice, but that is not real life. And here we are, trying to persecute Melissa. She wasn’t living on welfare, but working as a single parent, doing the best she could, and alone, it sounds like. My son went out to play. I didn’t check him and his sister for five minutes because they had been out to play many, many times before. How many of you lost track of your child outside or in a store for even one minute? Panic sets in, doesn’t it? Fathers have felt it as well as mothers. So move over Melissa, if that is the care then there will soon be many more of us, fathers and mothers, who will be next to be persecuted because we are not at our child’s side 24 hours a day. One thing my grandfather told me after my own mother died at age 51 in 1993, “Chrissie, when your grandmother died nine years before, in 1989, it was hard on me,” he said. “But nothing in this life was as difficult as the death, of losing my own child. You always expect that you will die before your children and it is very difficult to live after the death of your child. Much harder than it was after the death of my own wife.” Well, I didn’t lose my spouse, thank God, but my son died three years ago. I can look back and say, “Grandpa, I can’t compare like you could between a spouse and a child. But I know when Travis died, it hurt. It was a hurt I would never wish n my worst enemy.” Don’t get me wrong, it also hurt when I lost my mother, but when my son died, a chunk of my heart also died, never to be replaced. So, don’t be too quick to judge those people who have lost a child, if you have never walked in their shoes. Chrissie Wise Prineville
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