Would You Judge or Pray For a Mother Who Killed Her Son?

Photo credit: Kat Kellner, Flickr
I judged. Right away I judged. 
When local news reported the Coast Guard stationed on the Oregon coast frantically searched for a 6 year old boy in Yaquina Bay because his mother threw him off a bridge, I judged.
Who in the hell would throw their own child off of a freaking bridge? What is WRONG with people?
The thought disappeared as I continued through the logistics of my day. I had forgotten all about the search until I opened my inbox the next morning and saw a plea from a high school classmate.
I need you to pray, she said. Maybe you could get your friends to pray, too, for this family.
She went on to explain about a special woman in her life. The woman just happens to be the grandmother of Jillian McCabe. 
Jillian, who threw her son over a bridge in Newport, Oregon.
I began surfing internet news articles about Jillian. When before I judged, now I read these stories with compassion. After all, now I know someone who knows the grandparent of this woman with tragic mental illness. And it becomes a real person story – not just a 5 minute shock blast on my tv.
The more I read about Jillian’s past, I can’t help but wonder why she hasn’t received help before. Of course, how silly. Our society, our neighborhoods, our churches…we have no idea what to do with mental illness. 
So we ignore it. We hope it will go away. 
A w-i-d-e range of folks fall into the mental illness category. I have depression, so I guess I have it. Jillian killed her son, so I guess she has it, too.
And look at all the sufferers in between my level and Jillian’s. I have three friends in my circle who have been in residential treatment for mental illness issues – all different forms of it – but all mental illness. Meeting my friends, you’d never know anything was wrong. These are members of the PTA, soccer moms, church-goers. Nothing to see here, folks. 
Only there is. We have to look and look deep. The problem won’t go away.
I asked my classmate if she wanted me to keep this in quiet prayer or if I could mass plea on social media. She said I could handle it how I see fit. I figure a blog post is a pretty good call for prayer from every corner of the world.
Will you join me in praying for Jillian, for Jillian’s family, and for little London – the boy who lived 6 years? Will you pray for all the people suffering from mental illness? And will you pray for your own self to make a difference in the life of someone who suffers from it?
God bless their souls and let this be an example to us all. God, don’t let us ignore Your children. Let us show mercy instead of judgement. Thank You for unconditional love. Heaven knows, we need it.


  1. says

    How awful.

    I work at a psychiatric hospital, and I remember when I was new, how difficult it was to hear about people before meeting them– this lady tried to drown her kids, this guy murdered his girlfriend's grandmother– but then you feed them and bring them blankets and watch TV with them and realize they're just people, living with an illness. It's upsetting on all counts, but not always deserving of judgment.

  2. Nina Rogers says

    As someone who suffers from mental illness (bipolar disorder), I was very upset by all the judging comments I read regarding this tragedy. Thank you so much for writing something that advocates mercy for a woman who clearly needed help and didn't get it.

  3. says

    When you see and or read something like this, you have to know in your gut that that person was suffering. What gets me is that if a friend, neighbor or acquaintance is diagnosed with cancer all rally. Cookouts, bingo, anything to raise money and of course bring the community together. We cook meals for them, watch their pets or other children for them. Then you have the person that suffers from mental illness, and no doors are open, we keep quiet and there is no support. This has to stop, I support my friends who have it or their children who suffer with NO judgement. No glass house here!!! 🙂 Thanks for speaking so well and with compassion about this.

  4. Simple Holistic Girl says

    Wow. I hadn't heard about this story (I try not to pay attention too much to the news because everything seems so sad). I don't have depression, but I am a mother. Just that alone can add to the stress of anything a mother can be suffering with. I will keep this whole family in my prayers. Visiting from #SITS sharefest

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