I’d like to take a moment to talk about the gorilla at the Cincinnati zoo. Was it the mom’s fault? Was it the zoo’s fault? Was it the gorilla’s fault? You may not agree, but here’s the thing. It was no one’s fault.
Before reacting to this issue, I decided I would do my research.
Actually, before I did anything else, I allowed myself to grieve. I felt all the pain, the loss, the heartbreak and the horror. I felt all of that first. I let it rip me apart, and break me open. I let it push my heart to love even more deeply, to embrace everyone involved.
Then I did the research … and here is what I found:
The mother was with her son, his hand was in her back pocket. She snapped a photo, looked around, and he was gone. I am a mother, and this has happened to me; I am pretty sure this happens to 99% of mothers on the planet. If you are not a human mother on planet Earth, you’re going to have to take my word for this. But it does happen. It was not the mother’s fault.
The boy wandered off. He was behaving like a normal human toddler. He was curious. It was not the boy’s fault.
The gorilla, according to experts, was behaving like a normal silverback gorilla. He was, yes, protecting the boy at first, but then got spooked and intimidated by the screaming crowd of humans. (I probably would have, too). It was not the gorilla’s fault.
When he started to throw the boy around, this was a signal that his behavior was now indeed a severe threat to that child. The zoo had to take action, and make a hard choice. Haven’t you ever had to make a hard choice? Based on what the gorilla experts say, they made the right call to save the child. It was not the gunman’s fault.
The more I look into it, what I see is that there is simply no one to blame here.
And that might be the hardest thing for a human being.
A tragedy that is simply no one’s fault.
Just like the Calgary gorilla (Kakinga, for those of you who hadn’t heard) is no one’s fault. He just died.
What it brings up for me is this:
If I have no one to blame, what feelings do I need to sit with?
Grief, pain, loss, heartbreak, helplessness…
If I can’t avoid those feelings, and I have to just get over myself and BE with them … what I am left with, after they are felt fully, is love.
Love unites. Blame separates. Love is the most powerful force we know as human beings.
I feel like I am honoring his life by moving toward love and unity. And what I really want to do is honor him, and love him, with no need for blame. Even though it’s the hardest path to take. I feel that the more of us who unite in love, the more positive changes we can start to make. Let’s be moved by love. Together.
If you are struggling with this issue, what I’d invite you to do is love. Give yourself permission to love him. Fully. Only good things can come of that.
*This is a photo of Kakinga from the Calgary zoo. He died 6 days before Harambe did. I hope to bring a bit of attention to him too, and maybe even to all Gorillas everywhere. Photo by Soul Journey Photography