Over a year ago (maybe two now?) there was an incident in which a bereaved mom took my words and passed them off as her own.
It was painful.
Not because I’m pridefully invested in getting credit for the words but because I am emotionally invested in this blog as a record of my own grief journey and as a way to honor my son.
It’s simply NOT OK to copy/paste and pass another’s words as your own.
Just the other day a mom posted on a closed site that she had questioned another mom when the words she claimed as her own sounded too familiar. Mom #1 googled the text and found that, sure enough, it was a direct quote from Angela Miller, a published author and fellow bereaved mother.
Mom # 1 challenged Mom # 2 but was shouted down by others because, after all, “everything is fair game on the Internet”.
Online publishing is subject to copyright laws as much as print publishing. The fact that an author is willing to make the work freely available and easily shareable does not remove the obligation to give appropriate credit and use accurate citations.
Grief is not a “free pass” to bad behavior.
This blog is a record of my own grief journey and honors my son and my family.
What grieving parent would want another person to steal (yes, steal!) his or her expression of the long, dark tunnel that is child loss? What grieving parent would think that it’s alright to take a beautiful arrangement from the resting place of one child and put it on the resting place of another?
It’s out there, unprotected, in plain view, so what difference does it make?
The same common courtesy we expect to guide behavior in cemeteries should be the same common courtesy we can expect to guide behavior in online grief groups.
I, and others. put our thoughts and emotions out there for parents to read in the hope that by reading them they will feel less alone.
Most of us never make a dime from what we write.
But we hope that whoever reads it, finds it helpful and then shares it, will honor our efforts by acknowledging the source. We hope they will honor our child by using quotes and leaving his or her name in place.
It’s a beautiful thing to find words to express something deep in your heart.
Just make sure to let folks know you found them and didn’t author them.
Such a small act of gratitude for an amazing gift.