September 30, 2010

Heartbreak at Home

The internet and the widespread media in our world make it common to hear about tragedy. Somehow, though, it can be especially heartbreaking and real when it happens close to home.

When Justin came home from work today, he told me that someone he knew had something awful happen to them today, they'd been a first responder at a car accident where a child had died. How completely awful and tragic.

This evening, I picked up my phone and the tweet that was showing on my screen was a headline from our local paper: "Toddler hit by car, killed near Bellingham's Assumption Catholic School."

A toddler.

She was only three at the most, and was holding her mother's hand when the incident occurred.

Holding her mother's hand.

We think we can keep our children safe. We hold their hands in parking lots. We teach them to look both ways when they cross the street. What do we do when it's just not enough?
Many lives have been altered today. A family, with another 5 year old and an 8 year old, has lost one of it's own. A mother has lost her child. First responders and students from the nearby high school witnessed the accident and watched another person die today. The person who is thought to have caused the accident is only 17 years old, and will have to live with it forever. The driver whose car struck the child is only 22, and had stopped to let them cross. She was doing the right thing. And her life is forever changed because her car struck a child and she watched her die.

In the horror of it all, I can't contain my tears.

Please pray tonight, for all of them.

1 comment:

Trish Haveman said...

This happened right outside my work. I assume the "someone he knew" refers to Ward's wife, Shauna. She's our CEO. I saw Justin when he was at our office today. I actually essentially said to Justin, "Hey, I know you! I mean, sorta!" Or something. I can't entirely remember, because this afternoon was just horrible...

We heard the car screech and the screaming start, and Shauna yelled for someone to call 911. It was terrible ... seeing that beautiful little girl on the ground, her shoes flown from her, and knowing she wasn't there anymore. I just stood there in shock. We were all crying. Police tape everywhere, several firetrucks, ambulances ... sirens. Her mother wailing, screaming that she couldn't go on. Shauna and another of my co-workers were the first to get to the mother, holding her as she cried. A couple of people came up and gently placed a blanket and coat over the little girl, in respect.

The girl in the first car, who'd stopped to let them cross the street, was beside herself. After she was rear-ended, she ended up a bit further up the block, and came running back in hysterics. My co-worker caught her and turned her around so she couldn't see, and they both sank to the ground while she cried on his shoulder. Then she was brought inside our office to calm down and get checked for injuries. When I left the office at around 3:30, she was still unaware that the little girl had died. All she knew was that she hit someone. I can only imagine what it was like for her to find out, even though it wasn't her fault.

I'm still crying, thinking about it. Our office is closed tomorrow, with a grief session in the afternoon, I've been told. Everyone in my office was so strong and brave, and did the best they could to help everyone involved. I'm so proud of all of them. I wish there was more we could have done ... that poor little girl ... every small child I saw this evening made me think of her ... that's not something you ever forget.