Last week two-year-old Lane Graves was tragically killed after an alligator snatched him as he was wading through just a foot of water in a lagoon at a Disney World resort with his family. In the aftermath of the attack, the devastating news dominated headlines and social media alike. On Tuesday, June 21, the boy’s family will lay their son to rest in their Nebraska hometown. But although the horrific incident has gained a large amount of media interest and attention in the days since the attack, it's important that everyone remember that Lane Graves’ funeral is a family event that deserves privacy and respect from the public eye as they deal with this unimaginable loss.
The family’s church announced the funeral arrangements on its website — including a rosary prayer service on Sunday and a wake on Monday — and asked for the media and community to honor the family’s privacy during this time. Graves’ parents, Matt and Melissa, are members of the St. Patrick's Parish and his sister, Ella, attends the school.
“It is with a heavy heart that we inform you of a tragic loss in one of our parish families,” the church wrote in its funeral announcement, adding, “The family requests that St. Patrick’s Parish and School not speak with the media.”
The Graves family returned their home in Elkorn, Nebraska this week to blue ribbons wrapped around trees, mailboxes, and doors by the community in memory of their son. Stephen Robinson, a former neighbor of the Graves family told People he was shocked by the tragedy.
“You never expect something like this to happen,” Robinson told People. “We’d wave and say hello. They were always out playing with the kids. They [the kids] would be in the yard and they’d be out with them.”
Robinson’s wife, Candy, also spoke with People and said the Graves were a very nice family. “You could tell they loved their kids,” she said.
Graves’ parents have refrained from speaking publicly and released a statement through their church that said they haven't because they “simply cannot at this time.”
“Melissa and I continue to deal with the loss of our beloved boy, Lane, and are overwhelmed with the support and love we have received from family and friends in our community as well as from around the country,” his father, Matt, said in the statement. “We understand the public’s interest, but as we move forward this weekend, we ask for and appreciate the privacy we need to lay our son to rest.”
To respect the family’s privacy, the church has asked the public to show their support by praying or tying a royal blue ribbon around a tree. Donations of any kind — letters, money, and items — can also be sent to the church.
The nation has been understandably been shocked and heartbroken by this tragedy that took the life a little boy far too soon. But, there are truly no words that can be said that would be able to explain the enormity of the Graves family's loss. Privacy right now is the best way to support them so they can peacefully lay their son to rest.