How can Madonna Badger not kill herself or go insane?

No, not because her name is “Madonna Badger,” though frankly that is grounds for killing oneself or going insane. Those of us on the East Coast have been reading about this ghastly story:

All three of her children dead, *and *her parents. Her home and all her belongings gone. I would have jumped out a window or hanged myself by now if I were her. How does one get past something like this? The boyfriend can’t be feeling all that chipper either, or or ex-husband.

Her bf is prolly the only thing keeping her sane.

She is, one way or another, doomed.

The grandparents lived for years in Louisville, where Mr. Johnson was head of safety for Brown-Foreman. Story. Part of his job was fire safety. :frowning:

Fires are devastating enough. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose loved ones to them. Where my mother lives (rows of condo units) she has lived through 3 fires in nearby units. Oddly enough I have been there to witness all three of them. When they start all units between the fire walls end up being destroyed, the fire spreads incredibly fast.

People have survived far worse tragedies without losing their minds. Doesn’t mean she’ll be fine, but it doesn’t mean she won’t be.

One accepts that life goes on.

It’s a tremendous tragedy; I’m not trying to argue that it isn’t. I wouldn’t deal with it well. I’d be shattered. I would not, however, think that killing myself would make everything all better.

People can be amazingly resilient.

Think about all the tragedy in this world. People lose their whole families to horrible, pointless things pretty often. I had a friend in China who lost his wife, kids, parents, siblings and even all of his cousins to the Sichuan earthquake. Think about the survivors of genocide in Rwanda. Think about all those people who barely escape with their lives into refugee camps, but lose everything else. People go through this, they survive, and eventually they find a way to live their lives. An interesting movie is “God Grew Tired of Us”, about Sudanese refugees integrating into America. Some of these guys have horrific stories, and here they are in a completely different environment far from anything they know. Their strength is amazing.

In comparison, Madonna Badger at lease has her safety and security, and some parts of her world are intact.

People are amazing.

I’ve been following that story too. One of the saddest stories I’ve heard about in a while.
No doubt she is suffering grief on a level that most of us can’t possibly relate to.
I definitely believe that losing a child is one of the most difficult losses for people to come to terms with…let alone to lose all of them plus your parents. :frowning:

On the other hand, there are a lot of people throughout history who have managed to survive devastating circumstances. Look at people who survived horrible circumstances like the Holocaust. Those people suffered years of trauma and horror, most likely lost a large number of friends or loved ones, and then when it was all over they had to go back to living alongside their neighbors who were complicit in the horrors. That must have been very hard for them, but somehow a lot of those people managed to pick up the pieces instead of giving up on life.

But… no smoke detectors, and the state doesn’t require them in homes built before 1976? That’s ridiculous!

What a terrible tragedy. Who puts fireplace leavings in a bag? While Ms. Badger has suffered such terrible loss, I wonder about Mr. Borcina, because he’s the one who caused it… I’m not sure I would be able to live with myself if I knew I caused the deaths of 5 people.

I came in here to say exactly this. What an asinine regulation. It’s not like you have to tear down the walls to install smoke detectors. They should be required for any residence where children will be sleeping, PERIOD. Smoke detectors would have turned this tragedy from multi-loss of life into minor property damage. Surely a smoke detector would have picked up the odor of smoke long before it got so out of control.

Not that any of this helps Ms. Badger now, of course.

I read that smoke detectors were going to be wired in, but that it hadn’t been completed yet.

But the second part of what you wrote is what has been on my mind all day. The guilt of it - I just can’t imagine. To make a mistake and have to suffer such horrible consequence just boggles my mind.

This is just such a sad, sad story.

I hope she does pull through it.

The thing is that every one of us makes a small decision from time to time that turns out bad. I am reminded of a true story from about 20 years back: a woman was driving home on a local highway with both of her toddlers safely in car seats in the back seat. A dog ran across the highway and she swerved, probably instinctively, to avoid hitting the dog. But the road was icy and she lost control of the car which crossed into the oncoming lane, where a truck hit it. She survived; the children did not.

Now if that woman had the miraculous ability to foresee the consequences of a snap decision to avoid killing a dog, she would have run over that dog about a hundred times rather than lose her children. But none of us can foresee the future, the outcome of small decisions, such as asking a friend to clean out the fireplace ashes and dispose of them. And sometimes these small decisions have unbearable consequences, but it’s not as if we wanted those consequences or somehow deserved them. The hardest thing to tell yourself after something like that is that you are NOT the person who killed your children. You’re just the person who, exhausted after wrapping presents till 3 AM, was doing something else that reasonably seemed more important, was more motherly, felt more loving – at the time.

I hope she has professional help and spiritual help and that her friends are there to remind her that there are people who still love her and want her to live, eventually, without pain. She may yet be someone’s angel, the answer to somebody’s prayer. Someday she may make a small decision that saves a hundred lives, or a thousand, or one. God bless her and relieve her suffering.

Although she and her husband were in the middle of divorce proceedings, their relationship was described as remaining amicable. As the parents, hopefully they’ll support each other through this tragedy.

She’s probably in such shock right now that she’s numb. Her risk of suicide will be much higher after the funerals, when there is no normal routine to return to.

In her circumstances, I think I would very likely commit suicide. The only way I can imagine to live through those circumstances would be to walk away from everything I knew and start life over someplace I’d never been. I would have to find something that would completely absorb me from waking up to falling asleep. Something. Anything. Even then . . .

I’m suspicious of the boyfriend’s story. It was said that he brought two of the children down to the 2nd floor but “lost them in the heat”. I assume they were the 7 year old twins as I can’t imagine them leaving each other’s sides. Nor can I imagine a seven year old not grabbing on to his hand and refusing to let go. I don’t understand how they could be “lost”, yet he managed to get out. I’m not saying that he’s a coward, just that the story may have been embellished a little by him or the press to explain how those two ended up outside when nobody else did.

So what if he did? People react strangely in crisis situations, and it’s natural to panic and get confused. That’s how people end up dead from hypothermia twenty feet from their own houses. If he lost the girls due to a choice that, in hindsight, wasn’t the right thing to do, he probably has to tell this story to himself until he believes it just to get through the night…and that is before himself for others. He’s alive and needs to find a way to live, and I’m not going to ask him questions that can never be answered.

The New York Times used heart-wrenching instead of the correct heart-rending. I feel complete.

That’s the thing: people who lose all their loves ones in earthquakes or the Holocaust can’t say, “well, it was all my fault.” There is survivors’ guilt in any case, and while I do not think either adult here *was *to blame, I can see where they will both blame themselves (certainly idiots on newspaper “comments” sections have painted them as Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity).

Me? Suicide. Esp. if I had no one left who needed me.

Smoke alarms are important enough that I would have thought battery-powered dectectors would be in place until such time as permanent wiring could be installed. I can’t imagine living in a house that has zero smoke alarms of any kind (other articles have confirmed there were no working smoke alarms in the house at the time of the fire).

AuntPam refers to large, horrible consequences occasionally arising unexpectedly from seemingly innocuous small decisions. I think the “oops” of improperly disposing of warm fireplace ashes might fit this category, but IMHO a decision to live in a place with no smoke alarms does not. It’s like deliberately driving without your seat belt on: smoke alarms are so cheap, so easy to install, and offer such proven safety benefits, I can’t think of a good reason not to have them.

I don’t wish this horror upon Ms. Badger; she doesn’t deserve it. But I think she bears some responsibility for it. The tragic loss of her family will cause her endless grief by itself, but if I were in her shoes I would also feel a horrible sense of guilt for not providing the house with smoke alarms.