The promo for the story that was on Oprah yesterday reads, “In an instant, a car accident shattered their lives. And then, one year later, an absolutely miraculous twist of fate you have to see to believe.” The show highlighted the Cobles, who three and a half years ago had all 3 of their young children (Kyle, Emma and Katie) killed in a car accident and then a year later had triplets (2 girls and a boy). If they had simply talked about the tragedy and then jumped to them having the identical number of kids a year later, it would have been disappointing and misleading, but it wasn’t.
Lori and Chris Coble shared there journey (so far) with honesty, integrity and clarity. They let themselves be raw in the places that are raw and talked about the struggles, thoughts of giving up and most importantly, what they have found works for them to survive such a tragedy. They didn’t tip-toe around any subject. They have not, in any form or fashion, tried to replace their children who died with those now living. They’ve done what many find difficult, which is to keep those who have died in there lives and honor them by living the best they can and nurturing the children now in their care.
Oprah did a good job of compassionate listening and asking them to express themselves without telling them or the audience, what they should or shouldn’t feel or trying to rescue them and put some positive spin on their every word. The only comment that was made which seemed slightly off the mark and which continues to be propagated, was the idea of “stages”, as if you go through one at a time and then at a certain point in time you have “recovered”. It wasn’t portrayed that way strongly, but still somewhat implied.
A lot of what the Cobles have gone through seems so similar to the people I interviewed around the country for Don’t Just Sit There, Do Something! Grief’s Wake Up Call. Over half the people I spoke with had lost children and they had all had to deal with despair, depression, anger, anxiety, terror and frustration. They also all ended up doing something to help others (as a result of there loss).
People aren’t all so altruistic and in many respects, it is quite amazing that anybody can keep living and moving forward when they have experienced the kind of loss that the Cobles have. The ultimate message seems to be that you can survive the worst that can happen and keep walking ahead, even if it’s just one step at a time, getting out of the chair or off the floor.