A day after the parents of Michael Brown listened while Rev. Al Sharpton told mourners at the funeral service for their son that parents burying children is “out of order,” Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr. are seeking solace in the face of difficult pain.
The television interviews, cameras, and overall spotlight the parents have experienced since their 18-year-old son was fatally shot by a Ferguson police officer has taken its toll, according to USA Today, who reports that they have taken to living in hotel rooms to avoid the media presence.
Since then, Brown’s parents have been constantly on edge. Phones constantly ring with reporters asking for interviews or family members offering support. Last week, as demands reached a tipping point, both parents moved into hotels to shield themselves.
The attention is reportedly a lot to bear for McSpadden, who waited for cameras to leave before kissing her son’s casket one last time.
“It’s tough,” said Eric Davis, a cousin of Brown who has been supporting Brown’s mother throughout the ordeal. “My cousin Lesley has not been able to speak. She’s kind of been dazed, numb from everything that has been going on. Those are the times where I just hold her, talk to her, and try to comfort her.”
In the days leading up to the funeral, Brown’s mother continued to cry and spoke in whispers as she tried to explain her feelings.
“They say tomorrow is going to be the hardest day, but I think today was — just seeing my baby laying there, cold,” Lesley McSpadden, 34, told USA TODAY. “It did something to my heart. It’s too much. It’s too much.”
For Brown Sr., the pain is the same. A Getty photographer caught the father in a moment of pain and agony as he yelled at the bronze casket before it was lowered into the ground.
From USA Today:
There, several family members wailed and sobbed as the teen’s casket was placed into a bronze case. At the moment the casket was lowered into its final place, shouts began to ring out into the air. Michael Brown, Sr. let out a loud yell, leaning back in his sorrow. “Take your rest,” one person said loudly. “Good bye, Mike Mike,” another offered.
The Rev. Charles Ewing, Brown’s great-uncle, tearfully led the crowd in the Lord’s prayer. Afterward, at a private family meal following the funeral, Ewing urged his loved ones to use Brown’s death to bring changes to policing.
“Don’t let the dust settle,” Ewing said. “We have got to go forward.”
Nearby, Michael Brown, Sr. sat on stage at the center of the family meal saying little. He ate his food while staring blankly into space. After some time, he began hugging and talking to family members who offered their condolences.
Brown’s father while not in constant tears has seemed to be in shock.
When asked how he felt a day before he buried his son, Michael Brown, Sr. struggled to come up with words, his face yet again blankly staring into space.
“I can’t really explain how I feel,” he told USA TODAY. “I’m torn, hurt, upset and angry. I can’t explain.”
Now, parents, friends, family, and strangers are left to grapple with Brown’s death at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson and the lack of transparency and days of protesting and police brutality surrounding it.
“He just wanted so much,” his stepmother Cal Brown said at the funeral. “He wanted to go to college, he wanted to have a family, he wanted to be a good father.”
For more on USA Today’s exclusive interview with Brown’s parents, click here.
For more on the Ferguson protests and Michael Brown’s shooting death, click here.