Of Murder, Cupcakes and a Silly Way of Looking at How We Should Grieve
Michael Vincent Moore, 57, arrested in the murder of his niece, 16-year-old Alicia Moore of Greenville, can still turn out to be utterly innocent, uninvolved in any way, when the wheels of justice slowly turn. But I have a smaller thing to talk about. The cupcakes.
Last time I saw this guy -- last February, four months after his niece's body was found stuffed in a car trunk -- he was on TV baking cupcakes for a party. Moore told the camera: "I'm over it now. It's time to rejoice. You know, you gotta get over it. And move on."
Yeah. If you did it.
What is this "move on" crap? No, you don't have to move on. In fact, people who move on that fast need to be put on the suspect list. Why would you move on? Why don't you need to stop first to deeply confront and engage your terrible sadness? When did we adopt the Darlie Routier Silly String party as the gold standard for dealing with loss? (More on that in a moment, if you are unfamiliar.)
Something very weird is happening to mourning in America. For some reason, a refusal to truly grieve is often portrayed as heroic. What's heroic about it? Why isn't it chicken-shit? Or downright warped -- a sign that maybe you were in on the deed?
"O, that this too too solid flesh would melt, thaw and resolve itself into a dew! Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!"
It's not just idiot TV stories. I have pointed out here a couple times already that grief is officially demeaned by the medical profession, which now defines sadness over loss as a form of being crazy, a syndrome. Watch out. If you go around looking sad more than two weeks after your loved one is lost, they may put you on some pills. Next thing you know, you'll be on TV rejoicing and moving on.
I would think the shrinks might focus their diagnostic skills more on people who rejoice and bake cupcakes when their nieces are found dead in car trunks, but, no, the new edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders says it's the sad people who are crazy. It's almost like the Viagra warning: According to the manual, you should call your doctor if you experience sadness lasting longer than two weeks.
Darlie Routier is the Rowlett mother, now in prison, convicted of stabbing her 6- and 5-year-old sons to death in 1996. Before she was named a suspect, Routier was all over American TV in a video of a party at the graves of her two boys in which she sprayed "Silly String" on the tombstones.
Silly String is a kind of streamer that shoots out of an aerosol can. I would have thought the endless loop video of Darlie covering her dead kids' graves with the stuff (go to the eight-minute mark in this video) might have put Silly String out of business, but I see you can still get a good deal on it at Walgreens. It comes in different colors. I am not able to advise on which colors of Silly String are considered appropriate for funerals and memorial services now.
Look, let me be plain about it. I view rejoicing, baking cupcakes and shooting Silly String on tombstones as symptomatic of societal psychosis. It's the kind of thing people do when overwhelmed by horror, blitzed by it, knocked off their pins and unable to grasp reality. The emotionally strong thing to do when you are terribly terrible sad is weep. Weep and grieve. You can't just "move on," as in take a powder on the deal. You move through.
Next time somebody tells me to move on -- and I mean the very next time anybody gets near me with a damn balloon -- I'm calling 911. I think I got your dude right here.