At the viewing, before my mother-in-law's funeral, I was puttering around on Facebook. (Don't judge - I was a good son-in-law and husband, taking the kids, being supportive - everything I could be. But at a Catholic funeral there can be hours of sitting around. Stepping outside for a stretch to clear my head was well within bounds.)
I saw a post. Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was offering a signed picture of himself to anyone who made a donation of a certain amount to his anti-bullying charity.
I MADE that donation. I put it in my mother-in-law's name for my son. I told no one.
A few weeks later, GoofBoy came home from a bad day at school to an unexpected package. When he opened it, to find a signed photo of his hero, he was ecstatic. When MamaGoof saw that it was "from" abuelito to her beloved grandson, she cried a little. It was one last gift from a generous, generous woman.
The two Rays were the big heroes on the Ravens, Ray Lewis and Ray Rice. Lewis had his own checkered past and, we encouraged GoofBoy to adore (as only a little boy can) the squeaky clean, hyper-decent Ray Rice. Both little Goofs had "Hey Diddle Diddle Ray Rice up the middle" t-shirts that they wore with pride.
Now I think of that signed photo, and in my mind's eye, it is a steaming pile of crap.
I hope Ray Rice can overcome whatever demons drove him to brutally beat his wife. I hope he turns his life around and becomes the leading advocate against domestic abuse (I know the odds here aren't great).
BUT he beat a woman, that just isn't done. And we loved him because we were sure he would never do something like that.
A steaming pile of crap.
I know of one organization that does important work against domestic abuse. If you are so inclined, a donation can be made here.