Parents of Austin Bice Deserve More Than a Body

Jeanne Sager

Austin BiceThings just keep getting worse for the family of Austin Bice. The body of their son, missing in Spain since late last month, has been found. The San Diego State University student was pulled from the Manzanares River in Madrid.

Unfortunately, that's not the end of the Bice family nightmare. Because the police have no answers for them. They say there's no sign of foul play in Austin's death. And his blog postings showed a young man having fun, not a depressive who should be on suicide watch. Even reports that he was denied entrance to a club the night he disappeared because he was drunk seem shaky. Which leaves Larry and Pam Bice with ... what? A dead child and more questions than answers.

They don't know how a kid in Madrid to study at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid for the semester ended up disappearing. They don't know how more than a week later he was found in a river. And they don't know why their son was taken from them.

As a parent, that's what seems so cruel about this story. The loss of their son, their adorable (check out the pictures on his blog) 22-year-old son, is a tragic nightmare. But to not know how or why on top of it seems like a slap in the face. I would hate to think that my child met a tragic end painfully, but I can't help thinking I'd want to know! I'd want to have answers because, gosh darnit, being a mom means caring about every detail of a child's life. The pain might be unbearable, but I'd want to hear it all.

Gruesome? Maybe, but I think it comes of having brought my child into this world. Birth is imperfect and at times violent (think of the pushing, the straining), but it ends with an unbreakable seal between mother and child. As they grow, that child becomes their own person, but a mother (and a father) retains that sense of "I'd do anything for this person." And we go through life thinking that we will always be there for them, whatever happens. Period.

So I would want to know who to be angry at or gain some comfort from details like "it wasn't suicide" or "it was quick." They know now where their son is, but don't the Bices deserve closure too?

Of the seven more or less accepted stages of grief, most people start with shock and denial. Finding a body kicks that off, but the Bice family is being denied the anger and guilt phases, the chance to really work through their emotions with concrete information as they swim back to the surface, back to life, to a life without their son.

Put yourself in the Bices' shoes, would you want more answers? Even if they were horrific?


Image via TwitPic

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