No parent should ever have to bury their child. In a perfect world, it’s just not how things should go. Grandparents should pass first, followed by parents and then kids.
But alas, we don’t live in a perfect world, and sometimes parents lose their kids. It isn’t fair, and that pain isn’t something that I’d wish on anyone.
Instead, my heart breaks every single time I read about a parent who has to say their final goodbyes to the life they brought into the world – a life that never really got to be fully lived.
So many milestones unreached. So much potential just gone. It has to be devastating for mom and dad, which is why I find the story of Kent England dad Lloyd Jones and his interaction with Disney after the loss of his son to be both upsetting and infuriating.
Lloyd’s 4-year-old son, Ollie, had leukodystrophy – a rare and progressive genetic disease that affects the brain, spinal cord and the nerves that connect them.
According to rarediseases.org, this disease can cause neurological problems including hearing and vision impairment, balance, memory and behavioral issues, difficulty eating and more.
The lifespan for a person who is diagnosed with the disease depends on when a person is diagnosed, but it averages from 10 to 20 years. The disease typically progresses quicker in kids.
Ollie was just 4 years old when he died last year.
His parents were obviously heartbroken by his death and wanted to send him off in the best way they knew how – with a funeral themed to Ollie’s favorite superhero, Spider-Man.
They did it up big with a horse-drawn carriage full of blue and red balloons. The Lloyd family even went to the local city council to get permission to etch the hero onto little Ollie’s gravestone.
The council referred the family to Disney, which owns the Marvel franchise that Spider-Man falls under.
Dad was sure that Disney would allow it under the circumstances – but took another blow when he received a rejection email from the animation giant stating that they wanted to “preserve the innocence and magic” of the character.
“We follow a policy that began with Walt Disney himself that does not permit the use of characters on headstones, cemetery or other memorial markers or funeral urns,” a company rep wrote to the New York Post.
Instead, they sent the family what I’d call a “make good” gift: one hand-inked, hand-painted, personalized action frame from the movie.
Lloyd told Metro News that it didn’t make sense to him, because many characters have died in Disney films throughout the years – adding that he thinks it’s all about the money.
And I tend to agree.
Characters do die in Disney films all the time. In fact Metro Parent recently published an article called “Death and Disney,” which takes an in-depth look at how the films can help teach kids about the inevitability of death.
Not to mention, as much as I also love Spider-Man, a smart-mouthed vigilante teen with radioactive spider powers who swings through the city and beats the s— out of people, even if they are bad people, isn’t exactly what I’d call “innocent.”
Sure, he’s definitely a good guy in his franchise. But innocent? Definitely not.
So, what exactly is Disney trying to protect in denying a dead boy’s grieving father a tombstone etching of his favorite superhero? Your guess is as good as mine.
Do you think that Disney’s policy is fair, or do you think do you think the company made the wrong call? Tell us your feelings in the comments.