Kile Glover, the stepson of R&B star Usher, died today. The boy's mom, Tameka Foster reportedly made the impossibly tough decision to take 11-year-old Kile off of life support. Solace is sure to be difficult to find right now for the grieving family, especially for a mom who just had to make a decision no parent should have to face.
But they may want to start in an unlikely place: YouTube. As a photographer, I've found that one thing so many people to do after a loss is to begin looking for some way to keep their memories alive. Maybe it's photos. Maybe it's video. Maybe it's their voice on an answering machine tape. Whatever it is, it can be one of the best sources of comfort the grieving can get, palpable proof of their loved one's existence on this earth. And what better for Tameka Foster and Usher Raymond than videos, dozens of them, of your child happy and laughing?
Before he was struck in the head during a jet ski accident on July 8 and doctors declared him brain dead, Kile was a normal kid with a flair for the dramatic -- not surprising considering his mom has been a stylists to the stars, and his stepfather is a superstar. And like a lot of normal kids these days, Kile loved to ham it up in front of the video camera. Lucky for him, his parents let him set up The Kile Show Is Back on YouTube. That means there are nearly 50 videos for this grieving family, a tangible reminder of everything they loved about this little boy.
I'm not going to say it's perfect or going to make the weeks and months to come easy. I can't say it's ever easy to lose someone you love, and when that someone is just a child, the pain is magnified to the enth degree. But while letting kids open their private worlds to the world wide web is a controversial one among parents, this is one of the rarely considered benefits.
The blessing of raising kids in a digital age is that our family memories are constantly being recorded. More often it's video of a grandparent with a grandchild that we turn to when the elder dies, rather than looking for video evidence of a child's life. But when it is the latter, the comfort may be all the more needed.
My heart goes out to Tameka Foster, to Usher, and to the rest of their family right now. Parents should not be faced with the death of a child. I hope these videos of young Kile help them remember and give them comfort.
Here's the boy in happier times:
What do you turn to for solace in the wake of a loss? Any words you wish you could share to help this poor family?
Image via TheKileShowIsBack/YouTube