Friday, May 23, 2008

The Fear of Loss

In the past two days, I have read about two incidents of young children being run over in their driveway by an SUV, driven by a family member, and being killed. The first incident happened in Dallas, and the second happened to the country music star Steven Curtis Chapman. In Dallas, a mother was returning from the grocery store after dark and ran over one of her young children, who were lying in the driveway. The father had brought the children out and lay with them on the cement to look up at the stars. He apparently fell asleep and the mother did not see them there when she returned home. In Tennessee, the teenage son of Steven Curtis Chapman ran over his 5 year old sister when he pulled into the driveway in an SUV. Family members witnessed this tragic event and she later died at a local hospital. When I hear about incidents like this, my heart breaks for the families of these children. The guilt they experience must be overwhelming and unbearable. It reminds me to do all that I physically can to protect my child, but I also realize that her life is not entirely in my hands. I have to place my faith in God to protect her each day (and I do pray for angels to be by her side each day and night to watch over her).

These events reminded me of an incident that happened when I was about 12 years old. My mom drove my sister and me to school each day, before Jenny got her driver’s license. One gray, rainy morning my mom stopped in front of the high school to drop off Jenny and her boyfriend before taking me to the middle school. They climbed out of the backseat and walked around the back of mom’s car to cross the street (and oncoming traffic) to school. Another parent had had stopped on the opposite side of the street to drop off another student. As Jenny ran across the road, she slipped on the slick pavement and fell right in front of the stopped car. I was waiting to see her get up when I noticed that the other car was moving forward. The driver had never seen Jenny fall and was unaware that she was laying in the road in front him. I watched in horror as the car slowly rolled forward about 5 feet and my sister disappeared from my sight. Suddenly I heard a loud piercing scream envelop the air around me… then I realized it was coming from my throat. My mom did not see Jenny fall, her boyfriend who had run across the street in front of her did not see her fall, the driver of car that was inching over her body did not see her fall – no one did but me. Apparently my screams and the pounding of my fists on the window were loud enough to get the driver’s attention because he stopped the car. Jenny later told me that she felt the front tire start to drive up over her hip before it stopped, and she even had tire tread marks on her pants and body as a reminder of what had just happened. She remained calm during the entire 30 second ordeal while I dissolved into hysterics. I was badly shaken and sobbing afterwards, even when I knew that she was unhurt, because this sickening scene kept replaying in my mind. However, both of us were able to go to school that day and return to our normal lives within a matter of hours.

Unfortunately for these two families, the immediate future is so uncertain and burdened by guilt and grief. My heart breaks for the loss of their children, who were taken so early in life. My prayers go out to both families as they have had to witness and live through a pain that most of us (hopefully) will never fully understand.

I would like to share a little ritual that I have for praying for Sophia that reminds me to pray for her throughout the day. Every time I glance at the clock and it displays 11:11 or 3:33 (all the same consecutive digits), I stop what I am doing and say a prayer for her.* Not only does this allow me to think about her during my daily routine, it also helps me to connect with God during unexpected moments. Today I have to give my worries and fears about Sophia to him, because I cannot bear them alone. I pray that Sophia is safe, healthy, loved and protected today and I am so thankful for this precious gift of life that Trey and I have received.

*This idea came from the book “Taking Care of the Me in Mommy” by Lisa Welchel.

Picture of Jenny and me when we were little girls!

1 comment:

mom said...

Thanks for the picture- you are both so cute. I too remember the fall Jenny took and it always make me shudder- thank God it came out alright!-- Mom