In early January, Lisa Scalia, a 31-year-old mother from Ventnor, New Jersey, fell asleep next to her 7-month-old baby. Then tragedy struck. Police say the co-sleeping mom eventually rolled on top of her daughter, rendering her child unconscious.
Her daughter, Olaia, was eventually rushed to the hospital in critical condition, but her father, Marco Mejia, has sadly confirmed her death. The details that have since been uncovered about this accident are harrowing.
The police have reported that Scalia was high when the incident happened and allege they found 34 bags of heroine and 10 oxycodone pills in her home. Scalia has since been jailed and is being held on $100,000 bond in addition to facing a slew of charges regarding the death of her daughter.
Mejia took to Facebook on Jan. 10, sharing a heartfelt message beneath a photo of Scalia holding Olaia as a newborn:
Losing a child is heart-wrenching no matter the circumstances. Losing a child as a result of what appears to be a substance abuse problem is accompanied by a whole other set of incomprehensible emotions. Sadly babies suffocate every year as a result of co-sleeping, and typically drugs are not involved but rather the exhaustion of parenthood. Was Scalia’s condition to blame for this tragedy? That’s up to the toxicologist to figure out, but as Mejia has chosen to forgive her, it raises the question of how a man is able to display such poise in the face of a truly cataclysmic event.
Forgiveness is a concept we’re taught as children, yet so many of us struggle to accept it as part of our lives. Forgiveness is hard. It’s so hard, and witnessing Mejia’s grace in the face of tragedy is nothing short of inspiring. Not only has he lost his daughter, but the future of the mother of his child is also uncertain. Rather than choosing to be angry, he’s opted for love and forgiveness.
Mejia’s message is seriously powerful. While it’s obvious that he’s suffering (as anyone with a pulse would), he has displayed strength and exoneration during this intensely sad time. When lives are lost and forever changed, it’s hard to grasp the light, yet Mejia has chosen to try. What would you do if you were standing in Mejia’s shoes? Would you ever be able to forgive Scalia, someone who looks to be suffering from a serious disease? Is she to blame, or was this just a miserable accident?
That’s not up to us to decide, but there’s no denying the strength that Mejia has shown. It’s something of which we could all stand to take note.