Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Worst Thing That Could Ever Happen to a Parent

We were at my MIL's today after gymnastics so Andy could assist her in planting some arborvitae. My SIL was there too. Then Andy's brother phoned. He had been called to the hospital because their neighbor's seven-year-old daughter had collapsed at her soccer game and died.

I can't wrap my brain around it and I can't stop thinking about it. I have very few details. The whole extended family had gathered at the hospital. My BIL was there because the father is his best friend since childhood. The one thought that keeps repeating like a broken record is this is the worst thing that could ever happen.

What happens now? For the longest time, they stayed at the hospital. The mom, just holding her daughter. How can you let go? Letting go means losing that last connection. How do you leave? How do you go home? If they're like me, her pajamas, that she was told to pick up are lying on the floor. Her breakfast dishes are in the sink. Her bed's not made.

These parents have to explain to their two remaining little girls that their sister is dead. One of the girls is little older than a toddler - they'll have to explain it again and again. They'll have to plan a funeral. They'll have to think about their little girl's body being autopsied. They'll have to figure out which dress to bury her in.

They don't have the 'luxury' of getting into bed and pulling the covers over their heads. They have to get up tomorrow morning. They have to get on with their lives. I can't imagine how.

I pray they hadn't been yelling at her this morning. I pray both of them were there, not doing the typical 'divide and conquer' of weekend parenting. I pray her sisters were not there. I pray she wasn't scared. I think about the other kids at the soccer game, about her classmates and friends. About how far-reaching her death will be.

We all know it; it's our worst fear and yet, we don't allow ourselves to think about it. Today, I've thought of nothing else. And I've hugged my kids a little tighter.


Jen said...

That is AWFUL. I am so sorry to hear this, my heart goes out to the family.

Anonymous said...

I'll keep that family and all their friends in my prayers. What a horrible thing to have to deal with.

a happier girl said...

That is so awful. That really is the worst thing that could happen as a parent. My stepmother died several weeks ago and it was hard enough explaining it to my 3 year old. So very very sad.


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