It is impossible to read such an account without memories of our own nightmare coming to the forefront of my mind. One year ago I would have read this article with compassion. I would have read it and said "that is awful". I would likely have felt a bit sickened by the thought of losing one of my children in such a tragic way. I probably would have mentioned it to Jim but he would not have wanted to hear. He never wanted me to tell him about tragedies involving children, saying "I can't stand the thought of it, I wouldn't be able to go on." I would then have folded the paper and set it aside, probably uttering a world of prayer for this family. I would have known though, that this is something that happens to other families, not ours. Today I read this article and I am one of the "other families." Nausea assaults me as I consider the painful journey that this child's mother has been forced into. Now, instead of an uttered prayer, I have poured out my heart for mercy and grace for the family of this child.
There were photos accompanying the artcile of the distraught family at the scene of the accident. My soul fills with outrage towards the reporters who so heartlessly captured, with camera, the grief and devastation of a family whose world had just crumbled around them. It sickens me to think of the callousness of the media who will stop at nothing in the name of a good story. I also feel gratitude that when reporters showed up at our house, there was someone here to deflect them, denying them the coveted photos and personal information. I am thankful that there were no circulated photos of our griefstricken family.
Though I cannot possibly know the details surrounding this accident, my heart swells as I know that while most will be filled with compassion, there are those who will point fingers of accusation. There will be those who will read the story and say "where was that mother?" Undoubtedly there will be some who will consider this families social status and housing arrangement and assume that the child was not properly cared for. People will speculate about what may have happened but the absolute unfathomable truth will be known only to those who were present. I suspect that, similar to our situation, this family will undergo an investigation in which they will be forced to relive the details of the accident. I also know that this family will punish themselves far more severely for the mistakes of that day than any other human or court system has the power to do.
My greatest sense of remorse for the family comes from the report that the mother had left the child in the care of another and that, reportedly, another child shoved the girl causing her to fall into the river. My heart bleeds for the child on whom some may place a burden of responsibility. Once again I am grateful that the circumstances surrounding our accident were such that blame could not be placed upon any one person. Forgiving another human being for the death of my baby is not something that I have had to deal with. While I desperately wish that I didn't have to see her limp body in the pool, I know that it would be far worse to have to deal with feelings of blame toward another.
I opened my eyes this morning with a renewed heaviness for another mother. I wept for her and I prayed for her. I prayed for grace that she may find the strength or even the desire to rise from her bed today. I prayed that the powerful seed of bitterness might not take root in her heart. I also lifted up 4 other mothers, Joan, Meredith, Angie, and Michelle, none of whom I've met in person but all whom I know understand the pain of losing a child to drowning. Above all things, I pray that this other mother has the hope that can only come through Jesus. For I know that it is only the assurance of seeing our children again in heaven that sustains us through each new day.
Rejoice with them that do rejoice
and weep with them that weep