On June 2, Ashley Grimm of Emmett, Idaho was on her way home along a curvy, mountainous road. Before leaving the gas station Grimm made sure her five children were safely buckled in the back seat. Five minutes into the drive, a large rock rolled into her lane causing Ashley to drive off the right side of the road. Her Econoline van flipped before coming to a rest on its roof. Ashley was airlifted to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, where she was treated and released. Her 4-year-old son Titus died at the scene; her other four children were not hurt.
As if the devastation of losing her son wasn’t enough, soon after Grimm received harsh criticism from the public. Some called her a horrible mother, while others said that her children should be taken from her. Grimm wanted to lash out at each one of the harsh commenters – tell them how much she loved Titus and how hard she fought to keep him safe. Instead, in a now viral Facebook post, Ashley tells her story and shares advice for all parents.
She begins by explaining that Titus was notorious for doing everything he could to unbuckle, despite her repeated attempts at keeping him securely fastened. Grimes says she would often pull over three or four times on any given car ride to buckle Titus back into his seat. (“The Flash doesn’t wear a seatbelt, and I’m the Flash, mama,” he would say.) “We tried five point harness seats, boosters, I believe even zip ties at one point (probably not safe either) but he always viewed it as a superhero challenge. He was a superhero because he always succeeded.”
On that tragic day, Ashley said she was forced to make a split-second driving decision. “I had three choices: try to straddle the rock, move to the oncoming lane which was a double line large curve with an angry river at the other side,” she said. “Rock, head on collision, river. I chose the rock. I chose wrong.”
When the rock hit the axle of their van, the vehicle plunged into the side of a cliff and rolled. Titus was thrown from the van; he died instantly. Unbeknownst to Ashley, Titus had unbuckled to switch seats with his 8-year-old brother.
Grimm’s post went into horrifying details that followed. She says she saw blood everywhere before blacking out. When she awoke, Ashley said she began freeing four of her children from their seats. With the help of her 8-year-old son, she tried to lift the heavy van from Titus’ lifeless body. It didn’t matter; he was gone. Still she held his body in the middle of the street praying he would come back.
While Grimm knows the “haters and blamers” probably aren’t listening, she goes on to tell how the death of Titus has changed her forever. She gives gut-wrenching details about holding her dead son in the middle of a highway while she rocked him, choosing his funeral plot and wanting to die herself so she could be with him again. She shares that Titus was buried in a super-hero outfit and that she kissed his ice-cold face over and over. She tells of how she tried to sleep at his grave to have one more nap with him.
For those that are listening, Ashley advises all parents not be so quick to lose patience with their kids. “Maybe finishing broccoli at dinner isn’t as important as we might think,” she writes. “Maybe they can still have ice cream – even just sometimes – while those veggies still sit on their plate.”
Grimm urges parents to play with their kids, even though life can be busy. “Learn to play the Xbox with them. Embrace their beautiful, fleeting imagination. Let them really believe that they are Captain America or Queen Elsa. Get in their mind, see how they tick. The dishes will still be there.”
She encourages parents to “take every hug and kiss, even the ones meant to delay bedtime. To slow down. To look them in the eyes and tell them you love them.”
Ashley’s heartfelt words serve as an important reminder to live in the moment and appreciate what you have because nothing is guaranteed. Don’t let your beliefs be shaped only by what you hear or read in the media. While it is always easy to pass blame when tragedy happens, we all need to put things in perspective. We just may not know the whole story.
Lawsuit Financial extends its deepest sympathy to the Grimm family.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series—Mark Bello is also the CEO of Lawsuit Financial and the country’s leading expert in providing non-recourse lawsuit funding to plaintiffs involved in pending litigation. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.