Not even the death of a mother is off limits in today’s politics

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There are two things that should be completely off limits: a person’s children and a person’s grief.

You do not mock a child, something that we often forget when that child happens to belong to a politician we despise, and you do not make fun of someone in the depths of mourning.

I have never had a child, but I have experienced grief. The greatest pain I ever felt, and the greatest I ever will carry, happened 10 years ago when my mother passed away.

No matter how deep your faith in the afterlife might be, and no matter how much support you receive from those who remain behind, the sharpness of that loss does not dim with the passage of time.

I read the statement that former first lady Melania Trump posted on social media, and it sounded exactly like a woman who had just lost one of the most important people in her life:

“It is with deep sadness that I announce the passing of my beloved mother. Amalija Knavs was a strong woman who always carried herself with grace, warmth and dignity. She was entirely devoted to her husband, daughters, grandson and son-in-law. We will miss her beyond measure, and continue to honor and love her legacy.”

I saw many things in this message that reminded me of the way I felt after Lucy Flowers died. First of all and above all things, she was “beloved.” Not well-loved. Not dear. Beloved. Then there was the word “passing,” because the term “died” has a finality to it that makes it hard to accept in the mouth, hard to pronounce without choking.

Losing a mother is losing your past, removing that link in the chain that tethers you to other generations. When she is gone, you are left exposed to the winds, even the ones we cannot see but feel deep within.

All of this being the case, when I saw people mocking Melania Trump’s grief, I felt rage.

It made me realize that there is nothing I have in common with that sort of creature. There is no bridge to the other side, no way to even try and break bread, empathize with them, or not see their reaction as anything but cruel and repellent.

Politics is one thing, but inhumanity is something exponentially different.

I intended to name names and shame people in this column, reproducing their cruelty for you to experience firsthand.

They deserved it, these buffoons who can’t even spell their insults correctly, and who wrote things like “Who (expletive) cares,” “This is news?” or “Her mother was part of the chain migration you support, Christine.” These weren’t the worst.

I’m very happy to know that many of my own friends who despise Melania’s husband and would not vote for him even if the alternative was an eternity in hell, which they actually would consider a second Trump term, were kind.

My friend Ben wrote “I despise Donald Trump, but this is really a classless post,” referring to someone who was incredibly callous in their reply. Ben is one of those people, like my friend Meg and others who consider themselves liberals who understand that grief must be respected.

It doesn’t matter if a conservative or a progressive, an atheist or a person of faith, a pacifist or soldier is mourning that loss.

The mere fact that there is loss demands a moment of empathy.

If not that, the least we can do is keep our hostile thoughts bottled up in our tiny, acrid hearts.

I hope that Melania Trump has not seen the comments that were made ridiculing the passing of Amalija.

I hope that she has surrounded herself with the sort of people who cushion the blow, especially her son Barron who, I am told, was extremely close to his grandmother. I hope that she knows that the vast majority of us are out here extending our arms and our prayers.

But in the end, it doesn’t matter.

The attitude of those around us defines their own humanity, or lack thereof, but it doesn’t blunt the loss.

Even in the warm embrace of loved ones, the face we loved the most is the one we seek.

And even as the years pass, and as the sharpness of the pain is reduced to a constant throbbing beneath the surface, we will always miss that face above all.

As Edgar Allan Poe wrote: Because I feel that, in the Heavens above / The angels, whispering to one another / Can find, among their burning terms of love / None so devotional as that of “Mother.”

Copyright 2024 Christine Flowers, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at [email protected].

Christine Flowers is a Philadelphian who loves the Eagles but can leave the cheesesteaks. She writes about anything that will likely annoy the majority of people, and in her spare time practices immigration law (which is bound to annoy at least some people.)