It seems impossible to believe that a month has passed since 2-year-old Lane Graves died in a horrific alligator attack at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It's now July, a month when most schools have let out for summer, when families are planning their holidays and trips to the beach. Many parents can't help wondering what life must be like for the family of that little boy — not out of some perverse need to keep the tragedy alive, but because their hearts go out to the Graves' family. They look for updates on Lane Graves' family and the tragedy at Disney because they hope another similar tragedy can be prevented, and because many other parents hope the Graves family will eventually find peace.
The Graves' family from Nebraska had planned a visit to Disney World in June. They brought their 4-year-old daughter, Ella, and 2-year-old son, Lane, to stay at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, a posh Disney-owned resort. They were planning to watch a movie under the stars when tragedy struck. Little Lane Graves, who was playing at the water's edge of the Seven Seas Lagoon, was dragged away by an alligator. His father went in after him and attempted to wrestle his son from the gator. While he sustained multiple injuries, he was unsuccessful. The gator took Lane and the boy was later found, drowned.
Since then, the family issued an emotional statement just a few days after the attack, asking the media to respect their privacy and allow them time to heal, according to Us magazine:
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. 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. Neither Melissa, myself or anyone from our family will be speaking publicly; we simply cannot at this time.
The family buried their son in a quiet ceremony in their hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, and released a heartbreaking, brief obituary. They have asked for donations to be sent to the Lane Graves Foundation, which will serve as a way to honor his memory.
Most recently, the Huffington Post reported that there were two alligators in the water when Matt Graves was trying to rescue his son. According to the Reedy Creek Fire Department, Graves told Capt. Tom Wellons that he was attacked by two alligators that day. He refused medical treatment and wouldn't leave the water until medical professionals began to insist he needed antibiotics for wounds inflicted by the two alligators.
In an effort to avoid any similar issues in the future, Disney World is in the process of erecting alligator warning signs to accompany the "No Swimming" signs that were originally visible around the ponds. Disney officials have also reported they will be adding fencing and will limit the fishing in the area to guided excursions.
As for the Graves, their mourning will not be easy. Their community has rallied around them, offering them support through babysitting services, blue ribbons to remind them that their son is not forgotten, and even an amazing lemonade stand sale organized by a neighbor's child. Parents everywhere are thinking of them and remembering their son with the little information available about him.