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Woman Tears Down Memorial Because 'There's Been Enough Mourning'

Illustration for article titled Woman Tears Down Memorial Because Theres Been Enough Mourning

When 12-year-old Sammy Cohen Eckstein was tragically killed three months ago by a driver in Park Slope, his family and friends put up a memorial to honor him. It's been up (apparently without incident) ever since. Well, until a woman who, according to Gothamist, is also a member of the neighborhood decided there had been too much mourning.


Understandably, Eckstein's family and friends were not overjoyed by the fact that this woman had proclaimed herself to be the official arbiter of mourning cut-off times (but not good taste, obviously). How do you even decide that? Do you count days off a calendar? Do you do a google search? Do you sit in your house not being able to focus on a book because you're so upset that some people just can't get over a death even though it happened a whole 12 weeks ago? Whatever, all of that is fine. As long as you're keeping it to yourself. Because if you have any issues with a memorial to a dead child, you probably need to look deep inside instead of grabbing yourself a pair of scissors and marching down there to show everyone what's what.

I wish the anonymous woman had done that, but here's what actually happened:

Biked into 3rd St. entrance to Prospect Park just as a woman was cutting all of the mementos off of Sammy's memorial. The woman came prepared with a scissor and large shopping bag to put the mementos in. It so happened that another neighborhood parent - whose child was also a friend of Sammy's - happened to run by and as he yelled at her she said she felt that there had been "enough mourning."


HOW FUCKED UP IS THAT? Is there no other way someone could do this? You know what you do when you're upset that other people's mourning times don't match yours? You suck it up (or go through a proper channel. Just being a part of the neighborhood doesn't give you the right to start cutting shit down). You don't have to bake anyone a cake or pretend to like it, but you also have to keep it to yourself.

Fortunately, the self-proclaimed captain of the joy patrol was stopped before she could do any damage. And while the memorial is up, I can't imagine what it must feel like for the family to not only lose a child but to know that there are people in the neighborhood actively against their expression of grief. :(

Image via Shutterstock

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I know I'm going to get shot down for this but - that roadside memorial is a fairly large issue right there. I agree the woman should not have taken things into her own hands, particularly in such a tragically sensitive issue too with the death of a 12 year old boy. However I do understand how people could find this just too much. Let's look at this logically.

It's all about balance. Yes people have a right to mourn and grieve in any way they choose, but they don't necessarily also have an accompanying right to take over public spaces so completely. And that is what this is after all - it's a public space. It's not a cemetery or a memorial or their own yard or their fence or their home - it's a public space and as such, the family needs to understand that their needs may not be exactly the same as the general public's.

So - inherent in your decision to take over a public area must also be the understanding that other people, ie; the public, may possibly see it as not being appropriate for what is after all, their space too. The world does not all have to march to the same drum beat or idea of what is and isn't appropriate and that's where the conflict comes in. That said, I feel so desperately sad for the family of this dead boy and hope they find some way forward from this, maybe in a way that does not invite involve interference from the rest of society