There's no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Monday, February 21, 2011

You know who YOU are

Writing the following post goes against my better judgement, but I have had enough. I have heard comments that are ignorant, read comments left by self righteous people who have no clue and now yet another comment directed toward my friend Karol and the loss of Laynee. I have had it!

I sincerely hope that "anonymous" that left a comment on "Loving Laynee's" blog is reading my blog right now. Not only you, but anyone else who has ever thought that we should have been watching our children better at the time of their tragedy. Anyone else who wants to blame us for their untimely deaths...ANYONE who feels that they are so perfect and without fault that they have the right to cast a stone at us! Who do you think you are!!!!!?????

If it hadn't occurred to you already, we do and will feel guilt for the rest of our lives for our child's death even though there was NO willful neglect on our part or anyone else who was responsible for the child. But, you wouldn't know anything about the pain of all of this, so I guess that you thought you had to remind us. Do you really think that we intentionally stopped watching our child...and all of the other people who were watching our you think that they all stopped and thought to themselves, "Hmm, I don't think that Mark needs to be watched right now." No! It is called an accident! You know, when things happen that aren't planned? Do you have any children???? Have they ever cut their finger or fallen off of a chair or skinned their knee? Why weren't you watching them? Have you been able to keep yourself from ever getting hurt? Do you feel guilty when you hurt yourself? Do you blame your parents for any accident that happened to you as a child? These all DO fall in the same category. You cannot think that what happened to our children was any different than what happens to anyone on any given day...the end result was different, but nothing else.

The truth is that even though the consequences of our tragedies are so much greater than a minor cut or a broken all happens the same way. It was an accident. The circumstances surrounding our tragedies were just normal, everyday activities. That is what is so disturbing...that you can be doing the same thing that you do every single day and then something terrible happens. In fact, in our situation, Mark was being supervised by several, very competent and loving adults who were doing a wonderful job. You know what happened? Distraction! Things that you don't expect and CANNOT plan for. Any of us parents who have lost a child due to an accident...especially one that was seemingly avoidable...would have given our own lives to save our child! All of us were doing our best! We love our child more than life and you have to right to even utter a word of blame.

Another thing...we can speculate and blame all we want to when it comes to accidental deaths of anyone. But, are we even in our control? Does God really leave it up to us...flawed human be in charge of when someone dies? I'm not sure that He does. It certainly appears to us that we are the ones who are responsible for our child's death due to our imperfectness, but, ultimately, God is the one in charge. Why don't you take it up with Him. We sure have. We feel more helpless and confused than anyone can imagine. Do you know why???? Because we ARE great parents and we WERE doing our job...despite what happened and despite what you think.

So, if you don't have children...I suggest that you don't have any because things happen...accidents happen. If you do have children...then you have a big problem with self esteem by trying to put the rest of us down to make yourself feel better. I don't think that there is a parent alive that could tell me that their child never got hurt or that something didn't "almost" happen that could have been terrible. It happens to EVERYONE! It just so happens that in most cases, the worst doesn't happen, but there is always that doesn't mean that we were doing anything different or worse than any other parent on the planet.

Go spend your time examining your own self...your own flaws and imperfections. Focus on that. Also, please read John 8:1-11. And, while I do not consider our "lack of supervision", as you would call it, as a sin...this passage applies. It would also be good for you to read since you might have the same attitude toward those who willfully abuse their children, abort their children, neglect their children or kill their own children. Despite the vileness of such actions and the pain it causes to think of children being hurt, it still doesn't give anyone the right to judge those parents either. Not unless your perfect, that is.

The bottom line is that those of you who want to blame the parents of children who die tragically in accidents do so in order to make sense of it in your mind. You don't want to think that something so horrible could happen to you or your child and so you want to think that we were doing something wrong or different than you would do as a parent. The truth our case, Laynee's case and most others...we parent just like you...we love our children just as much as you do, and could happen to you. No matter how great of a parent you are. We are all imperfect. Period.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I don't remember what I used to worry about before Mark died. What did my mind obsess about at night when thoughts wouldn't go away and was there something in particular that bothered me when I got up in the morning? I really can't recall.

What I do know is that now my mind never rests. Thoughts about Mark are ever present and though sometimes is still doesn't seem real that he is gone. Sometimes it doesn't seem real that he was ever here. But then, there are those pictures...always his sweet face looking back at me and so real that I can almost hear his voice.

Mark's death has launched me into a perpetual state of worry for the safety of my other children. It is overwhelming and exhausting. This morning, I couldn't help but wonder why Maegan had slept so soundly during the night. She usually sleeps all night, but there is always a cough or movement that wakes me once or twice. Not last night. I awoke to terrifying thoughts that she must be dead in her crib. What would I do? I kept picturing myself walking in to her room and finding her there...wondering how I would handle the situation. I so traumatized my oldest daughter after finding Mark in the water by screaming and kicking that I wouldn't want to do that again. Would I send them all outside so that I could scream and cry and hold her lifeless little body in my arms? I could even envision what she looked like dead. Why? Because I have seen my own child dead. Lifeless and losing the color from his skin while I hold him. The biggest blessing of the day was running to Maegan's room, opening her door and seeing her chest moving up and down with every breath. I even had to touch her and feel the warmth.

This is the ugly truth of grief...of the entire process. It makes most of life seem so trivial when your mind is occupied with such painful "what ifs" and the truth of what has already happened. The worst part is that I know what it would feel like if it happened again. I could imagine it and feel it as a real occurrence.

A few days ago, my children and I were listening to a song in the car that had to do with God's miracles being all around us in our daily lives. I could tell that my eight year old was bothered by something and so I turned the song down and asked her what was on her mind. Very matter-of-factly she stated that "There was no miracle when Mark was in the hospital...God didn't give us a miracle then." Then, she just turned her head and stared out the window. I said nothing. She was right.

Where does all this lead? Trust in God? The Bible commands it and I fail every time. I know that trusting God with my children doesn't mean that He won't take another one from me. It didn't keep Him from taking Mark. It means that I am supposed to trust God in all of His decisions and know that they are right. I do because I have no choice. If I didn't trust in a plan and purpose there would be no point in going on at all.

Is it supposed to keep me from having obsessive, disturbing and worrisome thoughts? Maybe. I'm working on it. The process is much harder and longer than I could have ever imagined.