“I have something to tell you, ok,” says Brendan Bickerstaff-Clark as he holds the hand of his eight-year-old son across a picnic table, “Mummy died last night”.
It’s the words that no child his age should have to hear but now, thanks to the tragic moment being filmed and uploaded to Facebook, it’s there to be relived over and over again and for millions of strangers to witness the moment a young child’s life was torn apart.
Brendan, a former addict himself who has been clean for 94 days, says that he chose to film the moment he had to tell his son that his mum had died from a heroin overdose “for any and every addict with children”.
“Today I had to tell my eight-year-old son that his mommy died from a drug overdose,” he wrote alongside the video post.
“This is the realisation and reality of our disease. This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. My son has no mother because of heroin. Please get help so our children don’t have to suffer.”
Brendan says that he has used the experience to warn others of the dangers of heroin, but what he has actually done, in my opinion, is fail magnificently in his duty as a father.
If I try hard I can almost understand what Brendan may have been trying to achieve but the role of any parent is first and foremost to protect their child, especially in moments like this.
Your job, above all else, is to look out for your child’s interest and protect them to the best of your ability from any more pain and humiliation than they already have to handle.
Rather than to deliver the news in a private location and allow his son some privacy to process what has happened, Brendan instead chose to turn it into an education for other addicts, filming the event in a public space with people standing all around.
In the video, the boys sits at the table, shock and disbelief running through his body, Brendan can only manage the words "I'm sorry" and "I love you". As the news is delivered, the boy responds "My mum? No, no," before hanging his head and sobbing heavy tears.
The camera keeps rolling, moving around the group to capture his heaving sobs, making sure to see him swamped in adults, their loving arms trying to make this situation somehow ok for a young child.