Is it a matter of consent, or is it a matter of helping somebody grieve?
Before we go any further, we know that everybody grieves in different ways. We know that while some people need time alone to be silent and think, others need time to talk and talk and talk. We know that some people want celebrations of life, with brightly-coloured remembrance services, balloons and booze. We know that some people need black, and respect, and remorse.
We know that when 18 year old Abigail Hall died last week, it must have broken her boyfriend, Josh Thompson’s heart. He probably didn’t know (and probably still doesn’t know) how to cope. He probably needed (and probably still needs) support.
So when he decided that he wanted to mark her death by acknowledging the fact that he always planned to spend his whole life with her – you can understand why.
After speaking to Abigail’s parents, and obtaining their consent, he bought a ring. Then he slipped it onto his girlfriend’s finger, and uploaded a photo to Facebook announcing their engagement.
But here’s the thing: Abigail’s parents may have consented. But Abigail did not. And while her friends and family can speculate that she ‘would have’ loved to marry Josh, they can’t know for certain. Meaning that she’s always going to be remembered as the fiancee of a man who she never actually agreed to wed.
It’s a tricky subject. On the one hand, the living will always be the ones who choose how their loved ones are remembered after their death. They’re the ones who decide what goes on the gravestone, what’s said in the obituary or in the eulogy. They choose whether a tree is planted in their memory, or whether it’s worth driving down to B&Q and picking out a nice bench.
After all, the dead are gone. They can’t be helped any more, while the living can.
But on the other hand, what if Abigail didn’t believe in marriage? What if she loved her boyfriend dearly, but didn’t want to get engaged yet? Is that still OK? Because we all know that it’s never acceptable to treat women like objects or possessions – there to be claimed by a man regardless of their consent. And it really doesn’t seem right for that to change after a woman’s death.
Plus – is Josh wearing a ring from now on too?
WHAT YOU HAD TO SAY ON THE SUBJECT…
Vanessa Isabel No consent no engagement. Is supe sad. He needs help
Shelly Dunnigan I think it’s lovely. The poor guy didn’t get the chance to spend his life with her, but he clearly loved her. He must have known she loved him and if the girl was still here, I’m sure she would be delighted.
Serena Mazziotta Ferguson We don’t know the nature of their relationship, but obviously, it was just a symbolic gesture and doesn’t have any bearing on anything. No harm, no foul… Very sad. God bless her and her loved ones. May she rest in peace.
Yasmine Choudhry Why is everything blown out of proportion. This was just a thing he probably wanted to do but could not unfortunately. This may help him