Why You Should Read Lane Graves' Obituary, Even If It Breaks Your Heart

It haunts me still, the thought of Lane Graves on the last night he was alive. A 2-year-old little boy, just arrived at Walt Disney World, getting ready to watch a movie under the stars with his mom, dad, and sister. Wading in the water... until an alligator dragged him away and little Lane drowned. There's a reason you should read Lane Graves' obituary, even though it will break your heart. Because he has left people behind, people whose pain must be... there are no words. The thought of his parents, trying in vain to save him, haunts me as it haunts so many people, not just parents. It's a fate too awful to imagine, and his parents have to live with that image for the rest of their days.

Lane Graves' obituary, as it appears on, is simple.

Lane was born on September 3, 2013. He passed away on Tuesday, June 14, 2016. Lane was a resident of Omaha, Nebraska.

There is mention of a vigil service in Lane's memory, a notice of an internment ceremony for Lane's little body the next day. The family suggest memorials to St. Patrick Church Elkhorn in lieu of flowers. And that is all.

It is harder to read for the brevity. Just as Lane's death is harder to accept for the brevity of his life. And while reading his little obituary won't change anything, it feels important. A moment, I guess, of solidarity with his parents. Not because any of us could ever take away the pain of that day (was it seriously just last week?), but because we can share in their loss. We can remember Lane, a little boy who just wanted to splash around in the water a little before the movie started. That's all. The simplest, smallest, silly thing. And yet, he's gone.

There are hundreds of well wishes left on Lane's online obituary for his parents. I hope they bring them some small comfort:

We are deeply sorry for the tragic loss of your son. Our hearts break for your family. We think of your family all the time and pray that you will find peace as time goes on. Lane was a beautiful boy and I know he will be sending his love to you all until you meet again.


Matt and Melissa - You have been in my prayers EVERY SINGLE DAY. I pray for strength for the both of you, as well as for Ella.

Other messages of grief:

There are no words. I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. I don't know you but I'm also a parent (((Hugs)))

Lane's father, Matthew Graves, released a brief statement at Lane's wake, saying,

Melissa and I continue to deal with the loss of our beloved boy, Lane, and are overwhelmed with support and love we have received from family and friends in our community as well as from around the country. Neither Melissa, myself or anyone from our family will be speaking publicly; we simply cannot at this time.

There is little to be done at a time like this. We can't bring Lane back. We can't help his parents heal.

But we can remember him.

I wish it were enough.