An Ohio father told his 8-year-old son his mom passed away from a heroin overdose this week and filmed the sit-down for the world to see. Brenden Bickerstaff-Clark can be seen sitting with his young son Cameron at a picnic table holding his hand as he delivers the news, and the boy’s reaction is heartbreaking.
“I have something to tell you, OK?… Mommy died last night,” he tells his son while holding his hand. In response, Cameron asks, “What? What do you mean, my mom? How?” Bickerstaff-Clark replies simply with “From drugs.” Cameron is then seen crying at the table while a friend tries to comfort him.
“I’m sorry,” he says as his son cries. “I love you. Do you need a hug?” Bickerstaff-Clark comes over to him and hugs him, then tells the person filming “That’s enough.”
Here’s the full video:
Bickerstaff-Clark uploaded the video to YouTube and Facebook soon after with the following message:
This is for any and every addict with children. Today I had to tell my 8 year old son that his mommy died from a drug overdose last night. This is the realization and reality of our disease. Don’t let this disease have to make someone tell your child that you’re dead because of drugs.
This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. My son has no mother because of heroin…kinda hard to hear but u can hear what we’re saying. Please get help so our children don’t have to suffer.
The video got a mixed response, with many viewers calling the interaction staged. Bickerstaff-Clark denied the accusation, saying, “I am a recovering addict myself with 94 days clean today…please share n help maybe help save a child’s parent’s life.”
Despite his somewhat “positive” message, commenters were still left with questions about his morality. “To put a moment like this online for the whole world to see is just ridiculous. that poor poor kid. I couldn’t help but tear up!” one commenter wrote.
“It’s bad enough to find out your parent passed away especially from drug abuse but to have a constant reminder of how your father told u [sic] up on the internet forever! I’m a father of 2 young boys and ‘Dad’ you should be ashamed of yourself!” another added.
Other people — specifically a woman named Christen Villwock — defended his decision. “All of the people who keep talking about bad judgement on this video.. I remember a couple months ago a picture going viral of a little 4 yr old boy in the back seat of a car where both grandparents passed out in the front seat.. and people weren’t mad at the cops for posting that.. this is the same situation… no different.. trying to raise awareness.. so think about it…”
To me, it’s a bit strange. Is this really something you want to film? I understand the message, but there are other ways to deliver it without exploiting your son. What do you think about it? Sound off in the comments below.