To the Mom of the Gator attack at the Grand Floridian (WDW)

Family News Travel


I am you. We have never met, I have never faced your tragedy but that’s all I can think this morning- “I AM YOU”. I have done what you have done. I have saved and spent countless hours planning to take my family on a Magical trip to see the Mouse. Every trip has its own expectations, hopes and dreams. Weeks of preparing and talking with my children about all the exciting things we will do and see. Finally arriving and checking into one of the many beautiful Walt Disney World Resorts. Wandering the property pointing out the different animals we don’t see at home, a gecko, an armadillo even a small gator or two. We stand in line to catch our resort bus or monorail to the park of our choice. I lather my children with sunscreen to protect them from the Florida sun. We stop for the family photo at every landmark possible. Even after all these trips there’s nothing quite like stepping onto Main Street to see that Castle. Each time it’s breath-taking. I have spent many hours at the parks with children melting down trying to make the most of each moment. Maybe this was your first trip, that once in a life time trip or maybe like my family you go as often as possible. Whatever the case may be, we are the same. Like you, my family has spent our evenings on the beaches of a Walt Disney Resort. We grab our jackets and head to the resort beach to unwind from a busy day at the parks. We scout out a place to sit for the perfect view of the movie, fireworks, Electrical Water Parade. My children run ahead of me excited to have a little freedom from my clutching hands. Sometimes I chase after them pretending to slip in the sand so the game can continue and memories are made. Other times I firmly plant myself on the beach because let’s face it, walking all day at the parks is exhausting and now it’s time to relax! As I sit far enough from the water’s edge to miss the mist carried in by the gentle breeze, my children run along the shoreline. I carry on in conversation with those around me, keeping an eye on my children who play in the near distance. They scoop up the wet sand because it makes for the best sandcastles, they toss sticks in the water to watch them float. As they step into the shallow water I yell out to remind them not to get their clothes wet as it’s a bit of a hike back to our room for dry clothes or at least take their shoes off before wading in. I check my watch to see how much longer before the movie starts, until the fireworks begin, or the Electrical Water Parade is due to come by thankful for moments like these. Truth be told, I’m not the only one. Other families are doing this exact same thing. Some parents are multitasking as their children head in different directions to discover their own areas to play in. Everyone is in a relaxed state because this is what vacation looks like! Tragically for you, a force of nature, an alligator, stole your child, your heart, while no doubt your family was enjoying one of these simple moments like I have so many times before. The unimaginable has happened and I’m sure you have replayed that moment over and over in your head. I can not begin to fathom what you are going through but I can tell you, I am you! This could have been my family, my child. It could have happened to thousands of others who have sat on these very beaches. People are harsh and they will be cruel accusing and blaming. Probably not nearly as mean as you are being to yourself with each passing hour. I simply want you to know, “This is not your fault”. You went on vacation and the unthinkable happened. It could have been my child or any other family who has walked those beaches. My heart is breaking for you. My prayers are going out to you. I am hugging my kids tighter because of you. Though you may feel otherwise you are not alone. I am all too aware, I AM YOU.

Pebbles Thompson

146 thoughts on “To the Mom of the Gator attack at the Grand Floridian (WDW)”

  1. Carri cormier - June 17, 2016 11:42 am

    I have shared this on Facebook in hopes this well written message gets back to this mother and family! I wish our world could not blame so easily but that is not reality. I AM YOU TOO!

    1. Barbara Frandsen - July 5, 2016 7:20 pm

      How kind of you to write to this mother who lost her child. You are absolutely correct. This tragic accident could happen to any loving parent. We moms and dads do the best we can.

      I am now a grandmother. Like you, I can relate to this mother’s pain.

  2. Nancy Allison - June 17, 2016 11:33 am

    Thank you for writing and sharing this. I think many of us are hurting and praying for this family. As you said, the unimaginable happened. I believe someday your words might be a comfort to this family.

  3. DAPHINE - June 17, 2016 11:28 am

    Pebbles, I totally understand where you’re coming from. you are exactly right, with any mother this could have happened to us. Love this 🙂

  4. Katherine Brown - June 17, 2016 11:18 am

    my heart and prayers are with this dear family. I cannot begin to imagine this Mom’s pain.

  5. Donnell Ralph - June 17, 2016 11:14 am

    Very well said. All our heats are with your family. It is not your faults. Don’t listen to anyone. Take time with your family and they will be your rock. Praying for all of you. 💚

  6. Jackie - June 17, 2016 11:13 am

    As the mother of 3 grown children and grandmother of a 2 year old my heart if broken. For this family! For those who helped with the search. For the little boy who only wanted to have fun. None of this was these parents fault. Signs should have been posted warning of possible alligators. Many have played there before and were OK. This is a tragic horrific accident. May God hold you tight as you try to deal with your loss

  7. Debbie Pellerin - June 17, 2016 11:10 am

    What a beautifully written letter to a family that’s going through the worst heartache imaginable. I think every family, even those who may be so quick to condemn another could have been in these very shoes,mid not for the grace of God. My heartfelt sympathy to the family.

  8. JAN - June 17, 2016 11:06 am

    I agree with the person who commented on the phrase “I am you”. Sorry, but tragedy was not about you. By continuing to say that, it gives the impression you want to hijack their pain for a creative writing oportunity. I am not saying your heart is not in the right place, but the article comes off as a showy school writing assignment and may disregard parents who are thinking “you are NOT me…. Until it happens to you, you cannot even imagine.”

  9. Bonnie - June 17, 2016 11:01 am

    Thoughts &. Prayers to this family. My heart is so sadden , there are no words that can be said, only that I will Pray for confort for you all .

  10. erin - June 17, 2016 11:00 am

    LOVE THIS. I am YOU as well. I haven’t been to Disney, but it would NEVER have occurred to me that allowing my children to wade in water would be putting their lives at risk. It’s Disney’s job to assess and mitigate risks, not their guests. Rest in peace, sweet little man.

  11. Sandra - June 17, 2016 10:58 am

    This article is right on no one can ever possibly imagine what these parents went through, so traumatic. We are these same parents we don’t realize the danger that lurks in our lives. Anyone that could ever say it’s the parents fault are heartless. May God comfort them through the love of others. May their guilt be removed from their heart, and may our Lord and Savior comfort then with His peace that surpasses all understanding. Let is all grieve with them and ignore the hateful remarks toward them. There is a lot more good in this world then there is bad.

  12. Lainey Nail - June 17, 2016 10:50 am

    Its pretty lame to say “I am you”, and you have no right to say that. Claiming a bond with her because you have been on the same vacation or done the same things is stupid. After you lose a child, then you can claim the right to push yourself into this story and make it about you. Until then you have nothing in common with her that matters –

  13. Gina Moss - June 17, 2016 10:49 am

    People are so quick to judge and say cruel remarks. Have they not EVER done anything they regretted regarding their children? Like Jesus said, “Those who are perfect (without sin/mistakes) throw the first stone.” Not one stone, or bad comment should be thrown at these parents! Nothing you can say to them will match the “punishment” they will feel and live with the rest of their lives! What they need is for us to envelope them with loving kindness and show them Christ’s love. The world needs more love; we certainly have enough to judgement and hate already. To those parents: I am praying for you. I am asking God to help you understand and give you peace in your hearts. I am asking God to shower you with His love and blessings, and give you strength to make it through this very difficult time in your life. I am asking God to help others lift you up, and not tear you down in this, your time of need.
    THAT’S what God expects from his people! If you can’t join me in this effort, then please just don’t say anything at all!

  14. Marsha Kelley - June 17, 2016 10:44 am

    As a mother& g’mother i can not get little lane’s sweet little face off my mind- this was just a senseless, unavoidable tragedy( the parents did nothing wrong) and the blame is only Disney’s for not posting better warning signs- or perhaps there should not ba a beach where alligators are known to be in adjacent waters– thank God we are created with empathetic hearts& i hope this family will b surrounded with care& love from those close to them as they try to move on with their lives-

  15. Deb Mixon - June 17, 2016 10:43 am

    My prayers to the family. So sorry

  16. Deb Mixon - June 17, 2016 10:42 am

    My prayers to the family

  17. Angela - June 17, 2016 10:35 am

    So where was this letter for the mother whose child fell into the gorilla enclosure. Whose entire life and that of her husband was being ripped to shreads via media. There have been no apologies, no let’s look into why media and the public add fuel to the racial divide, or why we as Black’s or African Americans don’t feel outraged and do more as a people when these things happen and fight for the injustice

    1. Pebbles - June 17, 2016 11:24 am

      Angela-I 100% agree. The mother with the child who fell into the gorilla enclosure nor her family deserved this. We are in the process of adopting African American children and in no way value one culture over the other. I felt deep sadness for that mother as well and I was so incredibly grateful that her child lived. As a mom of 4 (at this moment) I know how quickly little ones can slip away. Where this case touched me a bit different is that my children have played in this very spot. I felt a different connection because of the numerous trips my family has taken to Walt Disney World and sat on these very beaches each trip. Thank you for bold speaking up to a very clear injustice!

      1. lalitha pretheelal - July 9, 2016 1:29 pm

        Its a beautiful and heartwarming letter that u have written. Its really the saddest ever loss for the parents. Its something they must be replaying in their heads everyday. My thoughts and prayers be with them in this difficult time.

  18. miki - June 17, 2016 9:56 am

    It could have been me and my kids. .. my husband said there’s no gator here. . .he is from AZ and I am from Peru. I would have gotten in the water if I wasn’t scared of dark water. My paranoia often save us from accidents. And thinking about this tragedy. I think it could have been anyone else. I didn’t see no sign. I assumed that there’s no danger because that area is open. There’s no fencing like I’ve seen on properties near water.

  19. Al - June 17, 2016 9:40 am

    I am her too… and it has nothing to do with diminishing her pain. My husband and I took our four boys to Disney last christmas . Our room had a lake in front of our room, I can’t remember how many times we left the kids play close to it. I grew up in FL, I know about alligators too well, there were three alligators in the lake behind my house growing up. But I would never, ever imagine an alligator in man made lake in the middle of Disney!!!!

  20. Scott Harper - June 17, 2016 9:19 am

    I think the fact that you took the time to write this post is what is important. We were just there a few weeks ago and having spent many summers in Florida – I was not even thinking Gator. It is something on one would have thought of and just one of those things that I would compare to be struck by lighting. It is literally like that…there is nothing you could do to prepare. Thanks for posting some of your thoughts and standing up for the parents. It made me think a lot more.

  21. Becky in SC - June 17, 2016 9:18 am

    Beautiful, heartfelt and true… All of these “perfect childless parents” sicken me with their condemnation of something they know nothing about. I myself remember saying lots of things my children would never do too; until I actually had children and they proved me wrong on so many levels. I just hope karma never bites these “perfect parents” in the rear and they have to live with the circumstances.

    Any tragedy brings out the ignorance in a select few, but people need to step back and remember the GOLDEN RULE: Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. Put yourself in the shoes of this family- would you want people pointing fingers and condemning you as a parent or offering their condolences on such a horrible tragedy? If you can’t do this, then practice another rule we all learned as a child: If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.
    I’ve seen a few comments that truly piss me off. Here’s an example:
    Praying for this family during this horrible tragedy. If the parents had just obeyed the no swimming signs, it wouldn’t have happened.
    ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??? This is not offering condolences, this is you trying to make yourself feel better about condemning this family, by offering your false sympathy. I’m Southern and it brings to mind a saying we have, “she’s as dumb as a football bat, bless her heart”.

  22. DenYell - June 17, 2016 9:12 am

    Very well said . Yesthat could of been any of us. I would never Emagine Walt Disney’s waters being dangerous like that. I think that Disney needs to protect their Waters if they’re going to have so many 10’s of thousands of people there . This is a horrible tragedy all the same .my heart breaks for the family and their loss.

  23. Robin Herring - June 17, 2016 9:07 am

    What a wonderful thing you did for this mother and others that don’t make the headlines. Your writing was truly from the heart. But, who’s heart? I truly think you were instrumental, by God, to put yourself in herself. No one could have written it better. Well done Mom.
    Your blog is now on my “Top Blogs to Read”.

  24. Linda Christine Dedeaux - June 17, 2016 9:00 am

    Your post was from the heart! Surely, it hit too close to home for hundreds of thousands of mothers! It could have been any one of us any number of times we have relaxed on vacation with our little ones!! This is a tremendous tragedy! The worst thing possible happened. I can only imagine what she must be going through! My prayers are with this family, always!!

  25. Barbara Johnson - June 17, 2016 8:51 am

    This was definitely an act of nature. In June, the weather can reach 90-100 degrees during the days and wading in the of water on the edge of a groomed body of water (which Disney keeps immaculate) is not uncommon to any of us. Thank you to the woman that posted this, I’ve been thinking the same thing all week. My heart is heavy with grief for this family and for Disney World resorts. I’ve taken my family there for years and now my grandchildren and I will continue to do so. It’s a tragedy for sure and one to never be forgotten. God Bless the family and RIP Lane – a beautiful and innocent little boy taken too early.

  26. AnnaLouise - June 17, 2016 8:45 am

    I have no words. I can not imagine the pain. Much love is being sent you way.

  27. Derek Thompson - June 17, 2016 8:44 am

    Such wonderful sentiments. I get the I am you reference. Of course we can never feel exactly what she feels, but we all share in her pain as human beings and also as parents, having been on holiday with our families as they were. The words “I am you” embodies the unifying and caring attributes of most humans when experiencing tragedy.

  28. Julia Tuberose - June 17, 2016 8:44 am

    No. I’m sorry but no. A friend of ours was there and she said it was horrifying to see but that baby had been swimming for much of the movie and after. A 2 year old in a foot of water is quite submerged in water. The sign said no swimming these were college educated people so they should have been able to comprehend what no swimming meant

  29. Malinda - June 17, 2016 8:38 am

    I ache for this family. I have gone through the loss of a child and that changes everything. Your family will mourn and mourn and mourn. Guilt is a natural part of the grieving process. Years ago, when my daughters were youn, we lived in s Florida. We lived on a canal that eventually led to the Everglades. My sister and I let our child play on a small “beach” area behind my parent’s home which was on the same canal system. Never in a million years did we think our children were in danger but in looking back, they were. We were spared the tragedy your family is enduring tho engaged in similar situation. It was years later, my daughter died. Please do not live in guilt. It does not benefit you or your precious son. I promise, eventually you will find a new “normal” but the loss of your child will be woven into your every fiber forever. Please do not let the harsh words of others rest in your mind. Forget the words and forgive those who have rushed to judgement. My prayers are with you and all who live your little boy.

  30. Sabrina - June 17, 2016 8:33 am


  31. Judi - June 17, 2016 8:12 am

    so very sad…Hug your kids and pray for this Mom and Dad. They need warmth and compassion in this stressful and sad time.

  32. Michele Hurchla - June 17, 2016 8:12 am

    When I saw this in the news, it made me cry for mom and dad and the loss child. How horrific and unimaginable. My heart and prayers go out to you. Please know that millions of us mom are praying for you and we know you did nothing wrong and that you did everything you could to save your little angel. Grieving with you, so so sorry this had to happen to you.

  33. Elaine Kolpack - June 17, 2016 8:01 am

    “There for the grace of GOD go I”. I am also you and could not have said that any better. God bless you and your family and may you find peace during this difficult time in your life.

  34. Pauline - June 17, 2016 7:42 am

    I appreciate this heart felt letter you wrote to the mother (and father) of this child, trying to remove the guilt and blame they must feel by standing beside them and saying “we have all done just the same, you could never have imagined such a horrible outcome.” Some chose to place blame on them in their time of loss and sadness and I am glad for those who speak out to comfort and help them heal instead of inflicting more sorrow. May this family feel our prayers and our compassion as they mourn their loss and replay in their mind a day gone horribly wrong in a place that should have been filled with magical moments and happiness.

  35. Jeff Howard - June 17, 2016 7:22 am

    Great posting and wonderfully supportive – my family experienced the horror of burying a child! The accident, the three days in intensive care, and the ultimate decision that had to be made to discontinue support were bad enough – but the most hurtful and painful thing was the volume of people who felt the need to share what they felt our boy should or shouldn’t have been doing, or what we should or shouldn’t have been doing and how that never would have happened to them because evidently they were perfect people – we were grieving as this family is – all we wanted were prayers and support – as you have noted… this could have been anyone!

  36. Maureen - June 17, 2016 7:07 am

    Well said! I am one of those moms right now! Sitting on the beach watching my 1 and 2 year old play in the water and since this has happened I am standing side by side with them afraid to take my eyes off of them. My heart breaks for this family I can’t even imagine what they are going through. My thoughts and prayers are with them every minute.

  37. Maureen - June 17, 2016 7:05 am

    Well said! I am one of those moms right now! Sitting on the beach watching my 1 and 2 year old play in the water and since this has happened I am standing side by side with them afraid to take my eyes off of them. My heart breaks for this family I can’t even image what they are going through. My thoughts and prayers are with them every minute.

  38. Gunjan Kuthiala - June 17, 2016 6:59 am

    So many moms are with you & sad for the loss of your little baby. I have 2 boys myself & my little one is 2 years old. I am so heart broken ever since nice I have heard your loss. It’s true, this could have happened to any of us. Regardless of whether the child was wading in water or not. Can’t ale gator come out of water & attack while you are sitting on beach chair. Yes, they can. In my wildest dreams, I wouldn’t imagine an Aligator attack in Disney. My heart goes out for the boy’s sibling too who will have to go back home without his brother. I want you to know that you both as parents did the best you can. I lost my daughter years ago & cursed myself for not being able to save her. I consoled myself with this thought that even God can’t save what’s going to happen at times, one who knows the future. You played your best cards at the time & situation you could. You have to keep the strength for your second child. Your child is now going to be alive in so many many hearts & so many many moms are hugging their kids & his loss wouldn’t let any other Alligator attack anyone else in Disney we hope going forward. Your son is going to save more lives which we can’t foresee now. Unfortunately your son lost his precious life but this incident I bet has taught all resorts a Big lesson. We all are praying for your family. I can’t even imagine being in your pain & I bet it’s so tough to survive. Pls think of going to child loss support group when you can as it helped me sail through. Prayers again for you all🙏🏻💐

  39. belinda - June 17, 2016 6:33 am

    I am praying for you an your husband with this awful tragedy .i am almost certain you and ur husband are each goin threw guilt an blame but you did nothing wrong here.i believe what this person wrote is absolutely true .we as parents who has walked in those very same steps or made those very same decisions up until that tragic momment know how it could of easily been one of our children or sorry that no words will help heal this wound u have bleeding .nor will time ever help u understand why it was u this happened to but i will pray for u both that god will help u get threw this an that he relieves the guilt u may be feeling .

  40. Gloria - June 17, 2016 6:02 am

    I so agree! People say ‘I know exactly how you feel’ the grieving parent nods & smiles.. They get it,you are trying to connect with them.. Say something hopefully to make them feel better . It does not. Please do not say this unless you have lost a child… Hopefully and thankfully you have no clue…I can not imagine how it feels to lose a child this way.

  41. Carol Copeland - June 17, 2016 5:53 am

    My heart goes out to this family…..and yes, this could have been any family. My wish is that God comforts both of you and surrounds you at this difficult time!

  42. Sharon - June 17, 2016 5:44 am

    Very true how many have been to WDW and done the same thing this family did on that same area of the resort and never , ever would fathom this place as being a dangerest place.
    I have never been to that resort but just returned from WDW. Our resort had a lake but no beach and we walked it a few times and not in my wildest dreams did I think we were in danger of this happening to us or our 3 year old grandson. He ran and played near the grass of the road unaware of what could be just below hiding in the swampy grass.
    I know for a fact, because of this families tragaty it has changed the way I myself and many others will vacation and not just at WDW.
    This was unfortunate and sad for this family, but has saved many other families from having to go through the same tragatic situation.

  43. Victoria Allman - June 17, 2016 5:20 am

    Well said!

  44. Sue Eskelinen - June 17, 2016 5:07 am

    Amen! Our children did the same thing, in the sand on the beach, having a fun filled day! Our hearts and prayers are for this family and the loss of their sweet little boy!

  45. Shauna - June 17, 2016 4:59 am

    I am always saying the parents need to watch their kids more. HOWEVER, this time I really think that Disney World is the one that is responsible. They have a lagoon that they know is connected to larger bodies of water thru a series of canals. Which means that alligators and other things can swim up into their resort. The same resort they are supposed to keep safe for everyone. Why doesn’t Disney have huge metal gates in the water and along the water for a little ways to prevent these types of animals from getting into their resort? That seems like a major safety flaw to me. I am not saying the gates need to be near the lagoon, but where Disney property first starts, so that nothing can come up the canals into their resort. I understand that us parents need to watch our children but seriously who would think that an alligator would be at Disney World, toted to be the safest and happiest place on Earth? I have seen on FB people say that their are no swimming signs posted on the beach, yet in the pics those same signs did not look very visible to me at nightime which is when this happened. Also wading, or barely walking in the water is not swimming. Therefore neither the child nor the parents did anything wrong. They were enjoying their vacation in what was supposed to be a safe place.

  46. Jamie - June 17, 2016 4:38 am

    I’m not trying to be overly critical, but this post reads more a subtle Disney promotional advertisement mixed in with what I’m sure was meant to be a sympathetic message to the grieving mom. But definitely more like a promotion.

    1. Pebbles - June 17, 2016 11:40 am

      Thank you Jamie for your concern. I promise it wasn’t meant to be that. I will say that my family uses Disney to unwind. As a mom of 4 (currently) we head to Disney to help me imagine bigger things and to be somewhere my entire family can enjoy (not an easy thing when there are kids ranging 6-16 years of age). My reason for the detail was to set the moment of how this could happen when all I was reading was “How could parents allow this to happen?” For many they have never experienced a trip like this or these beaches. My family has. Many have asked why was a child up this late? On these trips- the fireworks often are at 10PM so we allow our children a late bed time. I was heartbroken that so many wanted to cast blame on a family who just lost their child. This was not a case of abuse or neglect. I see plenty of that in my daily career. This was a family who was on vacation taking a moment to enjoy making memories as I have so often done. I felt it was needed to set a tone for others to try to understand the “how”. Thanks again for sharing your concerns. And more importantly supporting this family!

  47. colette - June 17, 2016 4:22 am

    I am you too! Any parent can tell you it is not your fault. I would’ve and have done exactly what you did too. Please ignore the trolls. I wish your family peace while you grieve. It sounds like you gave your son a beautiful life. Please know that not all children are born into such loving families. xoxo

  48. Debbie - June 17, 2016 3:21 am

    I feel so bad. I look at my 22 old month grandson and think! He is so little, helpless if he were attack. We lost a son at 19. I feel for this mother. With all my heart.

  49. Louis - June 17, 2016 3:07 am

    For all those in an exclusive club that no one should have to belong to, those of us who have lost young children please respect empathize and keep your judgements to your self. My heart thoughts and prayers and my sons go out to this family.

  50. C Joyner - June 17, 2016 2:50 am

    May God wrap his loving arms around you and comfort you. This could be
    any of us. Things happen in a split second. We as parents as human beings should be sending love and prayers rather than hate and blame. My heart breaks for this family.

  51. Fay - June 17, 2016 2:18 am

    We were at the same hotel with our 2year old just an hour before this happened could so easily have been us … We are parents trying to provide our child with loving memories on a magical holiday and it could have been us. Thoughts are with the family. Xx

  52. sandra thacker - June 17, 2016 2:06 am

    So sad, sending heartfelt wishes to the boys Mum and Dad and family.

  53. Kimberly Meyer - June 17, 2016 2:00 am

    It is just so very sad. Their lives will never be the same. This tragedy comes with a plethora of emotions… SADNESS.GUILT.ANGER.FRUSTRATION.DEVASTATION.FEAR.
    It is more then I can comprehend as a stranger to this beautiful family…let alone as a mother. I can only say that I am so very sorry for your loss and that I will pray for your family. My heart is broken for your family.

  54. Tamara - June 17, 2016 1:45 am

    Your letter is beautiful! Very well put and i think this family will gain strength when reading it. My prayers go out to this family. My heart breaks for them…

  55. Alison - June 17, 2016 1:37 am

    Well said. Definitely could happen to anyone. So very heartbreaking.

  56. Dolore - June 17, 2016 1:35 am

    Amen…please pray for the family..ALL said in I am you was meant in a good way.please people don’t hate…#have a Heart..

  57. Silvia - June 17, 2016 1:19 am

    We all need to send words of caring and support to this family. The pain they feel is unimaginable. Unless you have experienced a tragic loss, you have no idea how they are suffering. So unless you can give that show of support, it would serve no purpose except to increase the families pain, for anyone to express criticism or sit in judgement.

  58. pat - June 17, 2016 12:58 am

    I am in constant prayer for you, the parents, along with all family and friends. Mostly you parents. I pray that you stick to God like glue so that He can comfort you as only He can. It would be so easy to blame God and You have so many ‘why questions’, but try your very best to stick to each other and God. God knows your pain. He watched His only son tortured and hung. GOD KNOWS YOUR PAIN. God and and will see you thru each and every day if you let Him. God loves you and he is cradling your precious son (who was His son first) and that baby is ok. Let God, friends and family help carry you to the OK side of this horrible loss. Forgive us all when we say the wrong thing. Love each other like you have never loved each other before, understanding and accepting that you will have different feelings/stages of grief, at different times. Just after trusting and leaning on God, let your love for each other protect your family unit. In Christian Love and prayers.

  59. K Nash - June 17, 2016 12:44 am

    People can be cruel because they KNOW it could have been them . Cruelty is a shield to try and show the world “No, I’m better than that, I wouldn’t have let it happen”. Buy deep down we all know it COULD have happened to any one of us.

  60. Vanessa - June 17, 2016 12:15 am

    I live not even 15 minutes from where this happened. My heart aches for this family and that sweet boy! And I hope the parents read this and know, that it is not their fault. It is Disney’s fault. I am really upset about this. This should not have happened. You see, For Floridians…. We know that if there is fresh water, there is probably a gator in it… But people visit here from all over the world that do not know that these apex predators live in almost every body of water around us. Disney should have warning signs near the water . Large signs. I am shocked to learn that they don’t have signs to warn people of alligators. The signs are everywhere else in Florida by the water! Everywhere else! Why do you think Disney didn’t put signs up? Because they didn’t want to have to deal with guest’s freaking out and being worried about alligators! And now look what happened. Smh. Disney should be ashamed of themselves. Praying for peace for this poor family. I hope they sue the crap outta Disney.

  61. dj - June 17, 2016 12:04 am

    Thank you for putting into words what so many are thinking….any of us….could be them. “I Am You” fits the fact that something horrendous happened, out of their control and it could have been any of us who have relaxed ourselves to enjoy what Disney stands for. No, never will I comprehend. Never will I have to traverse those parents’ pain. But I can let them know to stand strong against hurtful words being slung because ….. I could be you.

  62. Sunny Porter - June 17, 2016 12:01 am

    I would like to say thank you for writing such a beautiful article, I do understand what you are saying when you say”I am you” . As a mother of three children myself there have been times I also would allow my children have a little more”freedom” while on vacation,danger is all around us and accidents happen all the time,but as a couple of you have already said, you feel a certain”safety” and leniency while on vacation, that’s why we go on vacation, to get away from the everyday stress and to have fun! My opinion is there is no one to blame for this tragedy, God needed an Angel. Prayers will be sent for the mother and father also to the family who loved this precious little boy so very much, spread your wings sweet angel!💔💔💔💔

  63. Jenny - June 16, 2016 11:55 pm

    I am a mom and a nurse, I live on the Florida waters and I am well aware of alligators and certain things to avoid , and I can say, and I have said over and over that I would have been and have been in the exact same place, doing the exact same thing. I can say my kids would have for sure been at the waters edge playing, this is a horrific tragedy and anyone judging this family should be so ashamed of themselves and should brace for karma coming for them, and it will 10x. I can not express enough my empathy and sorry for this family, my God bless and keep you strong.

  64. Nicolette - June 16, 2016 11:51 pm

    Eleven years ago, at the same beach my father in law sat on watch for crocodiles as my 8,6, and 2 year old played. My husband said he was being silly. I was 7 months pregnant with our 4th child. Honestly I was too tired to do anything more than menation my father-in-laws concerns to my husband who dismissed the thought. I’m am so thankful my kids are spunky and well. I am so sorry for your loss. Please don’t blame yourself. It could just as easily be any parent in any city. Our hearts and prayers go out to you this week.

  65. Brent T Wambold - June 16, 2016 11:45 pm

    Doesn’t the park or the hotel go through the lakes controlled for its guests and cleanse it of dangerous predators?

  66. A.Ray - June 16, 2016 11:26 pm


  67. Rose Lefebvre - June 16, 2016 11:17 pm

    Amen prayers are with you

  68. Bky - June 16, 2016 11:14 pm

    I don’t know…I didn’t like the article. Of course I’m already thinking the same things I am fully aware the unimaginable can happen…I live it. But the letter or article dragged on with simple memories probably reminders too soon. This mother has to go through her own grieving process. I understand the sentiment behind this but some things could and should be left unsaid for now. Your simply condolences would have been suffice as I put myself in that moment and to read this also turned my stomach and made me cry but not in a good or peaceful way. I felt so strongly about it I also had to write this to the writer and/or publisher!

  69. Sharon Kramer - June 16, 2016 11:11 pm

    Let’s not forget who we are praying to the Lord knows what happen and I know where that little boy is at! Do we understand the reason? No but I do know the Lord will take care of them! Let’s pray for the parents to receive their understanding soon and to trust in the Lord for comfort to their heart because that the only place they can get it! God bless all!

  70. Peggy - June 16, 2016 10:55 pm

    This unbelievable horrific tragedy could have easily happened to our family also! Over the years our family has been fortunate to spend several vacations at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Escaping a below zero Minnesota winter, everything was magical for our three young daughters, especially time on the beach at the lagoon! Yes we all know Florida has alligators but the thought of them being right there just never crossed our minds! Last year we were fortunate once again to return to the Polynesian, our favorite! As always my daughters couldn’t wait for the beach & the lagoon! The fireworks were about to begin & with a new camera, we wanted to sit as close to the water’s edge as possible for reflective pictures! I let the girls run ahead, they were older now but I still kept them in sight! Our chaise lounges were almost in the water, the fireworks were magical! While my daughters were taken in by the sight of the fireworks, I was taken in by the sight of them, now 24, 26 & 30 years old! I was thanking God as I always do, for blessing me with my beautiful family & yet another magical moment at Disney! Disney is so perfect, every vacation has been so!! All these years, all these times, just last year in the dark, it could have happened to us as well! I was so unaware, most of us were & are! Thank you for writing this article!! God bless this poor family! We have NO idea what they are going through! Can you imagine?!?!!! Please do NOT blame these poor parents, they are grieving enough!! Please people, do NOT judge or criticize!! Are you perfect all the time? Is your world perfect? Freak accidents can happen even when standing still, next to your child, holding their hand, unfortunately we found out! 30 years later it still bothers me terribly when I think about it! Ours had a happy ending. Keeping the family in my thoughts & prayers, written through my tears & sent with my love!

  71. Elaine Whelan - June 16, 2016 10:45 pm

    I found the letter to the Mom who lost her beautiful little boy to an unthinkable tragedy in the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon to be heart felt and comforting. Like other Moms, I too have been praying for the Nebraska family in this, their darkest hour. Each of us attempts to express consoling thoughts in our own unique ways. Sometimes eloquent, often awkward. Each attempt from the heart that is well meaning contributes support toward healing. Healing through grief is a process that cannot be rushed . May this family be bolstered up, lifted up in their time of overwhelming grief and loss. May the Good Lord comfort them. May the knowledge born of their Catholic Faith assure them that their beautiful son is safe in the arms of the Lord. God Bless you all!

  72. Allynn Jordan - June 16, 2016 10:43 pm

    I can only imagine what kind of heartache these parents are suffering.
    No one thanks it’s going to be an alligator in the Disney World Lake. All I can think about is the moments that it was happening what must have been going through the poor father mind. The only thing we can do is just not place blame on the family because it could have been any one of us. So when someone says I am you I think what they’re trying to say is that it could have been any one of us. We’ve all had that child has darted out in the street and we snatch them back in the nick of time. We’ve all had that child go to the local pool and we turn around and look and see his face under water and jump in and pulling out before he drowns. We’ve all seen our children at one point or another way high up in the tree because we had our backs turned for one second doing something that we had to do. It is not the mother’s fault it is not the father’s fault it is not negligence. He was being at the wrong place at the wrong time and it was not his fault and it was not his father’s fault and it was not his mother’s fault. But they are going to punish themselves for the rest of their lives for this. And I hope that they will be able to move on. I don’t think you can never get over anything like this but maybe you can learn how to deal with it and this is what I hope for them.

  73. jennifer - June 16, 2016 10:43 pm

    Thank you for restoring my faith in humanity tonight. It’s very sad and a shame that more women, mothers, don’t feel this way. I cannot even begin to fathom what this mother, this family is going through. What they will be going through for the rest of their lives. I pray that God gives them peace and comfort they so desperately need right now.

  74. JoAnn - June 16, 2016 10:37 pm

    Like so many others I’m feel so awful for not only the Mother but the whole family! I don’t know if I can even imagine the ache and pain in her or their hearts!! I have a year and half old granddaughter and I smilpy can’t get a grasp on the pain mostly my daughter and son in law would be going thru let alone my self!!!, but I know many are telling you it’s not your fault, but its going to take our loving heavenlyFather to ease her heart, To the Mother of the sweet little boy,if I could bring you just a little bit of comfort, it really is not by any means your fault,I’ll pray that the Lord bring you what comfort that’s possible at this point, The Lord is at some point going to bring you his loving compassion and ease your heartache!! GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY, Praying for you always,He can’t come to you,but you can go to him someday, so you can have hope in seeing him again,🐑👣🙏👼💒

  75. LW - June 16, 2016 10:31 pm

    In other words, “there but by the grace of God, go I.”

  76. D. MESSINA - June 16, 2016 10:19 pm

    Is it ok to ask “What the hell are alligators doing in the middle of a Disney attraction?” This should never have happened. I am so sorry this happened to this beautiful baby boy, and my heart is hurting for the mom and the rest of the babys family. I dont know how they will get thru this horrible tragedy, but God please help them get thru it, Amen

  77. Dorine Donovan - June 16, 2016 10:17 pm

    Well said. I too have done all of what you said. Never have I thought that my children were in any danger. You are right it could have been any of our children. My heart breaks for this family. My thoughts and prayers are with all of them at this very difficult time. May God be with them.

  78. Marie - June 16, 2016 10:17 pm

    Pebbles, you have said what we all have thought, and yes, it could have been, our children, our grandchildren. I myself am from Georgia and Florida, have lived around the water and marsh and the gators all my life. But never would have expected one to come up to the waters edge to a busy small place like that. So yes, let’s just say all the prayers for this family that we can, and keep them close in thought. Just for them to know that people care enough to be concerned and prayer for their family.

  79. Angel - June 16, 2016 10:11 pm

    No, you’re not. You are a thoughtful and eloquent person, but you are not the mom of this child, so you do not know her grief. My heart aches for her, as yours clearly does. But do not ever tell someone whose child has died, “I AM YOU”, even if you have experienced the death of your own child. Her grief will never be yours.

  80. Brittany - June 16, 2016 10:11 pm

    Beautifully written!

  81. Diane - June 16, 2016 10:07 am

    Yes, this is spot on. Great article.
    About 15 years ago I was sitting on the shore in Wilmington Delaware visiting with my friend and her children. One second my daughter was there playing with the kids, the next second she was on the ground (sand) being knocked over by the waves. She was 4. She could have drowned right there. I felt HORRIBLE. GUILTY. My friend did this all the time and I just assumed all would be fine. My daughter was spared. I was spared. Yes, up to that moment, you were that woman. You’ve been there. You’ve done the same thing. And now you realize how fortunate you were. And don’t understand why you were spared, but she wasn’t. It’s truly heartbreaking.

  82. Jean Barnes - June 16, 2016 9:58 am

    So very sorry about this tragedy,and the enormous loss they have.Praying our Heavenly Father comforts them,and all their needs are met

  83. Kelly DB - June 16, 2016 9:26 am

    I have repeatedly thought of the vacation when we stayed on this lake at the Polynesian, choosing a room by the beach specifically to enjoy the fireworks on the lakeside at night. My daughter was 3, I was 7 months pregnant, and we’d lay in the hammock while she played in the sand. There’s no way I could have gotten to her in that situation. I’m well aware that Florida is full of gators. I would have NEVER considered that they would be a danger on Disney properties. Disney is safety. Disney is happiness. Disney is family and love and security and dreams. This danger would have never crossed my mind. I think about all the things I would have missed about my now-12 year old. I would have never heard her angelic singing voice, would have never seen her dance so beautifully on a stage, would have wondered how she would have grown in personality and body. I can’t fathom what this family is dealing with. It’s paining me, and I’ve never even met them or their sweet boy. I can’t send enough prayers to ever ease their suffering even a little.

    1. sharon gilbert - June 17, 2016 11:00 am

      We stayed there too and did exactly what the writer wrote! My heart is breaking for the parents. Sending prayers for them! But by the grace of God go I.

  84. Katie - June 15, 2016 4:48 pm

    I am all about empathy but saying “I am you” feels like a bit of an overstep in context of what they are going through. You may feel that you can relate to the actions their family made right before the horrific incident took place but you don’t know and you weren’t there. So please stop claiming “I am you”. You’re not and that’s okay. You have a heart for other moms and children which I also think is great.

    1. Pebbles - June 15, 2016 5:14 pm

      I can see what you are saying. I did say I do not know her nor her tragedy. I simply woke up this morning still heartbroken for this family and all I could think was-I’ve made those same choices, and it could have been my child. People were so busy saying, “This would never happen to my child” and I thought-but it could have happened to mine! I don’t pretend to understand this devastation but I do understand the actions that lead to this tragedy. I am in no way saying I will ever comprehend her pain. I will continue to pray for peace that passes all understanding though because when bad things happen to us or those we love we tend to turn on ourselves. It’s my hopes she knows that from one mom to another- she is not to blame. Thanks for taking time to read and share your concerns!

      1. Lisa Spores - June 16, 2016 10:45 pm

        My heart is breaking for this mom and dad! I pray for comfort for this family that they are going to need. Only God can get them through this pain with the comfort only He can give. I understand what you meant. You feel as so many of us do that it could have been us. My husband and I were just in Orlando last month with our daughter and her family. There was a lake at the resort where we stayed. It was not at Disney but the chance of alligators being there is possible. I am very familiar with the gator population as we are from the coast of Ga. Alligators are not coming up on our beaches and are all over Jekyll and other areas. I am so thankful God kept my family safe while we were there. But knowing what I know I still walked down to the edge to get pictures. On vacation we tend to relax and let our guard down. We think we are safe. Appropriate signs were not posted. Same as where we were. I know that my child would have been devastated had that happened to her child, so my heart is bleeding for this mom as I can see yours is. Thanks for understanding and letting her know she and dad are blameless.

      2. Debbie - June 17, 2016 4:31 am

        What you said was perfect. Don’t take anything back what you said. All the sadness in Orlando this wk., has been horrible. More people needs to care., May God bless you greatly

      3. JoAnn - June 17, 2016 6:07 am

        Why are you justifying your words! They are heartfelt and very well expressed. So you didn’t bury a child, you’re still a mom who can feel the heartbreak that only a mom can feel who loves her children. There are so many ‘blame the parents’ comments all over the internet as a result of this tragedy, its really pathetic. Those are the ones who speak from their ego mindset, and ask to get stung! Remember, you are not responsible for what others think, only what you think. Your compassion expressed is deeply appreciated by myself and many more. Most women say that there is no greater pain than bearing a child, wrong! There is no greater pain than burying one. I’ve buried two of my children.

      4. Patricia - June 17, 2016 6:56 am

        What you said was perfect I believe most people reading it would know exactly what you meant and although going to Disney World and standing on that beach has only been something I would have loved to do with my family I have not been there but I have been to other beaches with my grandson and I didn’t have my guard up for alligators who would think my heart just is torn up for this family and your words said it all

      5. Sue - June 17, 2016 8:53 am

        Thanks for your comment, I totally understood your quote ” I am you” if you don’t read to deeply or try to analyze every word it was a heartfelt post

      6. Dixie - June 17, 2016 8:59 am

        I have also made these same choices at this very same resort. It could have been either of my children. My prayers go out to this family!

      7. Tiffany - June 17, 2016 9:32 am

        It’s a phrase of solidarity. Beautifully written. I get it ❤️

      8. Peggy - June 17, 2016 10:13 am

        Your letter was beautiful and everyone knows what you meant. Don’t explain yourself to one person who does not understand. 😀 This is what we need in the world when tragedy happens to our children, we need to all think as if it was our child so that we understand the deep sadness, shock and devastation that this family is enduring. And, you were her, at that same area, doing the same that they were, I understand your deep connection and wanted to relieve some of her pain. Once we don’t have that compassion all is lost. Keep on loving and being the wonderful person you are. This poor family, all they should be receiving is love and support and that is what they are getting from you. Thank you.

        1. Pebbles - June 17, 2016 11:24 am

          Thank you Peggy!

      9. Brenda - June 17, 2016 11:07 am

        I totally understood what you meant !!! I feel the same way !! It could have been anyone of us !!! Thank you

      10. Brenda Walker - June 17, 2016 11:29 am

        As mommies and grandmothers we totally get what you were saying… that was a great letter and huge of you to actually do it… most of us just think it but you were a doer… still praying for this family – God Bless

    2. Beth - June 16, 2016 2:52 am

      Always has to be one in the crowd! It was meant as a metaphor! One that I totally get since i have been one of those moms before! Everyone is so quick to criticize or blame. Try praying!

      1. Angel - June 16, 2016 10:20 pm

        There’s more than one in that crowd. Sympathy is necessary, empathy can be helpful, and recognizing that none of us know the grief another human experiences is essential before we choose to publicly share things.

      2. Lisa - June 16, 2016 11:33 pm

        Amen Beth. Always a few….

      3. Charlotte Ure - June 17, 2016 1:38 am

        Right on, Beth, I wouldn’t have been as kind in responding to Katie. Sounds like she’s one of those who’d rather be right than happy. No one needs to give a thoughtful, grieving mom like pebbles permission to reflect on another mother’s tragic loss, while at the same time chastise her for using the phrase “I am you,” I think it’s very clear to most readers that Pebbles made the point in the hope to convey compassion, solidarity, support, and love to another mom in the wake of an almost unrecoverable loss. Saying “I am you,” meant that she’d been there… in that exact place, sharing the same sweet joy of the magical kingdom with her own children as the mother who lost her little boy as he waded in several inches of water, and was pulled from shore by a alligator. I am almost 73 years old, yet I know I can speak for at least 99% of moms, grandmas, aunties, who’ve been in the very same situation, doing exactly the same thing while waiting for the Disney Lights to explode in the night sky. The single difference is, we did not lose our baby to an unseen alligator who preyed within striking distance. So, yes, I too, can say to this grieving mom, “I am you,” I having often in the same and similar circumstances. I did not have to witness anything as terrible as the horrific, and last vision of my small child, being carried away from me by a monstrous creature. Nor did I have to cope with the huge burden of guilt that this mother is now enveloped in. So, please do not rush to judge these parents for what was a freak of nature accident. They will probably judge themselves severely till their last days.

      4. Kat - June 17, 2016 6:23 am

        Thank you!!!!

      5. Kelly - June 17, 2016 6:51 am

        I’ve lost a child. Have you?

        It’s not something I’d wish on anyone, under any circumstances. Ever.

        Katie is correct. ‘I am you’ is a bit of an overstep. ‘I could have been you’ would have been better.

        I understand that she’s showing empathy, and I applaud that – truly. But she’s not this mother that lost a child in this unbelievably horrible manner, and she probably can’t imagine what the mother is really going through.

        It’s not just the end of that walk on the beach, or not finishing the Disney trip. It’s waking up the rest of your life knowing that your child isn’t there. It’s taking family photos with your remaining children . . . and seeing a gap where that child should be – regardless of how hard you work to arrange everyone. And finally you stop taking family photos, because it’s just too difficult.

        It’s running through the events of THAT DAY a billion times and playing what if . . . what if we’d walked the other way? What if we’d gone to the pool instead? What if we’d gone to Typhoon Lagoon? What if I’d said, ‘No, you may not leave my side.’

        It’s wondering how different your other children would have been if the child you lost would have survived – how would the family dynamic have changed? It’s, hopefully, turning to God and finding strength in your faith so it doesn’t rip your family apart.

        So, no. You’re not her. I’m not her. Only she knows what she’s going through.

        However, we can pray for her. Pray for her husband to be strong by her side and not cast blame out of anger and pain. Pray for her faith to be strong and see her through this terrible ordeal. Pray that this terrible ordeal doesn’t warp and trap her in a dark place. Pray that she’s able to still find joy in the world – in memory of her child that she lost too soon.

      6. Kelli - June 17, 2016 8:03 am

        Praise God you said that Beth! My heart grieves for the family and I will continue to
        pray for them.

      7. SMead - June 17, 2016 8:19 am

        I completely understand what Katie is saying. I know this article is well meaning, but it really isn’t the time for it. Maybe down the road, once the family has had time to process this horrific tragedy. If you have never lost a child, you cannot understand this. Right now, all this family may take from this is that you still have your child and they don’t. These are not thoughts that they want to have, it is just grief. This Is a part of the grieving process they most likely are not ready for at this time.

      8. Kat - June 17, 2016 9:46 am

        Metaphors are still taught in school right? Right? I just love it when people take the time to read an article and the only negative thing they can think to comment about is to try and invalidate the whole thing.

    3. Helen G - June 16, 2016 10:24 pm

      Katie, I was just thinking the same thing while I read the article. She was talking about all the fun they’ve had and it feels hurtful – even though that wasn’t her intention.

    4. Becky - June 16, 2016 10:27 pm

      I thought what she wrote was beautiful and I understood exactly what she meant. That is rude of you to even say anything. Maybe you do not have any empathy for the family.

    5. Ruthie - June 16, 2016 10:33 pm

      “I am you” means… it could’ve been me…
      It could’ve been any of us…
      Please don’t judge someone’s sweet words right now …

    6. Mary - June 16, 2016 11:12 pm

      Why do you feel the need to put this writer down when she’s only trying to help the parents? I don’t get it.

    7. carol - June 16, 2016 11:31 pm

      Katie, she was simply saying that 30 minutes before this little boy was taken she was there with her son and they were on the shore playing and enjoying vacation just like this family and many others. people have been blaming this famiy that just had there heart ripped out, saying I am you was a way to tell this mom and dad it’s not there fault just 30 minutes and it could have been her little boy.

    8. Josie Tallent - June 17, 2016 12:04 am

      That’s a rant that was totally unnecessary . Could have went forever without that and I’m sure the mother didn’t need to read your muttering and I pray she didn’t. God bless this family that lost a child and give them peace in knowing that child is with the Great Master.

    9. Tamara - June 17, 2016 1:42 am

      She was basically saying she and anyone could be her it could of happened to anyone. I think her letter was beautiful it came from her heart and she meant no wrong. I think you should be thinking of the family not judging her letter, feelings, wording. It was very heartfelt and beautiful. In my opinion i think this mom would gain stength from her words.

    10. Barbara Zuviceh - June 17, 2016 1:56 am

      In saying, “I am you ” the writer was just trying to say they didn’t Blane or judge the parents of that precious boy.
      And, yes, also saying, a mother’s heart or a father’s can relate to the parents of the son they must have lived so much.
      Parents, forgiving, empathetic parents can say, I AM YOU because while the situation isn’t theirs, they know that, I COULD HAVE BEEN THEIR FAMILY that now mourns.
      I hope you can see where some of these commenters are coming from. It’s live they are sending out, and compassion and hope that no one else ever has to endure such pain.
      I believe WE ARE ALL THEM ( the family ) because if we can’t send love to the parents and the little boy’s sister, then shame on us.

    11. Val - June 17, 2016 2:16 am

      My gosh, Katie!!!! You’ve completely misunderstood what Pebbles was saying. She’s sent a very nice letter to the mom empathizing & expressing her feelings to her, letting mom know she’s done nothing wrong to feel guilty of. Many have made very rude comments asking where the mom was. Hell, the Dad was right there…is the dad not competent enough to tend to his own child. Pebbles is merely stating, she & many others like her, have done exactly the same thing. Which is where the “I am you” is coming from!!! Not one bit of her statement, was hurtful. Pleaseeeeeeee don’t make Pebbles feel badly for trying to do a humane, kind jester. Why is everyone so quick to attack their fellow human beings?? Pebbles…I don’t believe you’ve said anything wrong that you should be apologizing for!! You’re simply stating.. you, yourself could have been in that situation!!

    12. Becky - June 17, 2016 2:37 am

      THANK YOU!!! I would be so offended if someone said “I am you” and go on to tell me how it could have been their child… Unbelievable

    13. Sally Garwood - June 17, 2016 2:44 am

      I totally agree. “You” have no idea what the bereaved family is going through. How could you? Your child is still alive and well. This is not about you. Just be sad for them and give them your condolences and prayers but do not claim to “be them”. You have not lost a toddler in the most horrific and unimaginable way. I’m sure you meant well but again, this is not about you.

    14. CC - June 17, 2016 3:26 am

      It’s not about you and what you think… I Am you is sharing an experience of the same situation that could have had the same tragic ending.. It’s not the mother or fathers fault. Its horrible..worst nightmare situation and this comment was trying to support the parents in saying they didn’t do anything wrong and that others have done the same thing.. Basically fuck off for you input

    15. CJ - June 17, 2016 3:48 am

      Really, Katie…I think you knew exactly what the words mean, I am you! Don’t tell someone how to feel when Pebbles made an awesome point. Any awesome parent has been careless and take our children for granted. I still can’t believe you are that heartless, just be thankful , you don’t know how she feels. Maybe you should’ve read her words and what she meant. Cold person lady.. I dont believe for a second that you’re empathetic, just pathetic to voice your ignorant cruel comment. Try praying

    16. Nikki - June 17, 2016 4:23 am

      Katie, really? Clearly she refers to the fact that this could have been anyone, any family. She does not claim to know what the mother is going through, she states that. Don’t be overly analytical when people are making an attempt at soothing hearts.

    17. Sandy - June 17, 2016 5:32 am

      It is a beautiful letter! I understand and feel the heartfelt gesture and perspective of the writer! You should try to understand it too! But if you can’t, keep your stupid fingers off the keyboard!

    18. Launa Banauna - June 17, 2016 5:56 am

      I agree with everything you’ve said here. I think it is a bit of an overstep to claim ‘I am you.’ This of course was not done maliciously. So many of us are searching for the right words in an attempt to express our sorrow and greif over this terrible tragedy.

    19. Yvonne - June 17, 2016 6:55 am

      Sorry Katie, this is no information AT ALL. Pure judgement from your part. I don’t get it. She ment it pure metaphorically. I am sorry to break it to you but compassionate people, unfortunately, can feel the pain of others…

    20. Kelly - June 17, 2016 7:07 am

      I think you know what she meant and it’s not up to you to criticize .I believe she spoke with a mothers heart

    21. K lamb - June 17, 2016 7:07 am

      She is letting this mom realize it could happen to anyone!! And for her to grieve, but not to blame herself!! You are heartless if you can’t understand. Yes, I am you is a great way to let her know because everything leading to the devastating act. Could have been everyone !! This is for positive replies

    22. Caregiver - June 17, 2016 7:08 am

      “Katie” – She means “I am you, I am a mom. I am a mom who took my family to that same beach. I am a mom who grieves for another mom who lost a child.” And I too, am a mom who lost a child. Moms need to support other moms. I appreciate her words.

    23. Arika - June 17, 2016 7:48 am

      Your not getting what she was saying… “I am you” is meaning this could happen to anyone. Read the article.

    24. Lori - June 17, 2016 8:17 am

      It was a metaphor.

    25. Monica Laffey - June 17, 2016 8:37 am

      Katie! I think you are completely missing the point of this article! “I am you” means we all have done or would have done exactly what the mom was doing until that point! Not that in no way understand her pain and her loss but “We are her” before the incident! It could have happen to any of us! and that is the point of this article

    26. Tracy - June 17, 2016 8:56 am

      It’s just means it could happen too anyone who has kids. Out of that lovely writing that’s what you focus on….. Therein lies the problem…

    27. Karen L Salce - June 17, 2016 9:40 am

      @Katie, The only point this woman was trying to make by saying “I am you” was simply that it could have happened to any of the thousands of families that vacation there and that even tho this poor mom is blaming herself, that’s it’s not her fault! It’s not like she’s saying “oh, I know how you feel” you are way off base with your interpretation of this woman’s sweet letter! Maybe you should read it a couple more times and think about what she was trying to relay….

    28. Karen L Salce - June 17, 2016 9:45 am

      ^ I don’t think she was trying to say “oh I know how you feel” because obviously, none of us could ever say that unless it has happened to us….pretty sure all she was trying to say to this poor woman by saying “I am you” was that it could have happened to any of the thousands of families that vacation there every year and that it’s not her fault. try reading the article again before attacking her. I think it was very touching.

    29. Ann - June 17, 2016 9:54 am

      Look on it as a form of poetry from an empathetic human being and please don’t critique the author. I thought her writing was beautiful and bitter sweet. There was nothing wrong with saying “I am you”. The author was writing to that mother from her heart and that was sweet. No one has any right to critique another for their individual form of support.

    30. Joel ortega - June 17, 2016 10:04 am

      Always one who has to critique everybody

    31. CAliheart - June 17, 2016 10:07 am

      Why don’t you just do empathy in your way and allow others to do it in their own?

    32. Alex - June 17, 2016 10:41 am

      All mothers are she at this time…because we know it will be heartwrenching, unimaginable pain a mother , (father and familiy as well)..would be feeling by such tragedy that will live in their hearts till the end of their lives on earth.

  85. Vonni Anderson - June 15, 2016 1:17 pm

    Well done, mom! It’s a tragic event and I’m completely immersed in sadness for them.

    1. Pebbles - June 15, 2016 1:23 pm

      I believe there are plenty of mom’s out there who are replaying their last WDW visit. I never considered the waters dangerous. Maybe it’s the magic of Disney, maybe it’s being from the midwest and not understanding the habit. Still I visit the ocean with my children-people don’t shy away from the water there. This hit all to close to home. I’m immersed in the sadness with you and I’m sure many other Disney families!

      1. Darrah - June 16, 2016 10:42 pm

        This story has haunted me the second I saw it. And I have obsessed over it. What a great tribute to the mama. I feel the same. We are with her. My 2 year old escaped the house Halloween night. Thank the lord or whatever you believe in he wondered to the patio. My mind still to this day replays what could have happened. This poor mama and family. My heart hurts.

      2. Val - June 17, 2016 2:26 am

        Pebbles……….consider every body of fresh & brackish waters extremely dangerous!! They are home to many gators!!! I live on the Indian River Lagoon which is brackish…I’ve been wading in the waters while fishing & swam in the lagoon. Everyone I talked with said, due to it being brackish waters , there wasn’t any gators. Figuring they’re native Floridians & very familiar with the waters they grew up in… I could believe that. I brought my children & grandchildren to the Lagoon for swimming & fishing from the water for the last 3 1/2 years. Last week I went fishing in the Lagoon, in a boat. While out…I saw many gators. Some were just born….about 2 feet long. Others were 11 feet long. In additon, I saw many different kinds of sharks (which I didn’t think would be in the Lagoon either). It could have very easily been myself, as well. The only water you wont find a gator is salt. However, you will find many other harmful creatures…sharks, jellyfish, man o’wars, stingrays; just to name a few!! when entering the ocean waters…always shuffle your feet so not to step on one! The movement of the water, typically scares them away! you did no wrong, with your statement. It was a very nice letter…compassion, sorrow, and blessings & most of all, reassuring the mom, she had no reason to blame herself.

  86. BD pinkerton - June 15, 2016 12:41 pm


    1. BD pinkerton - June 15, 2016 12:42 pm


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